Andrew Garfield Dresses in Drag for Arcade Fire’s Powerful New Video

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Slate's Culture Blog
May 16 2014 12:07 PM

Andrew Garfield Dresses in Drag for Arcade Fire’s Powerful New Video

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Andrew Garfield in Arcade Fire's video for "We Exist."

Still from YouTube

If you were in the audience for Arcade Fire’s Coachella set during the festival’s second weekend, you might’ve noticed a tall, lanky woman in a white dress brush past the security barrier and climb onstage with the band. Only, that woman wasn’t some random stage-crasher, she was actually Andrew Garfield in drag. And it was all a moving video released today for the “Billie Jean”-inspired Reflektor track, “We Exist.”

Echoing Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” it opens with Garfield buzzing off his hair and then trying on a bra, pink blouse, and a blonde wig—weeping, perhaps with joy, as he watches his own transformation. Describing the song’s coming out narrative, Win Butler said, “[it’s] about a gay kid talking to his dad,” but the video is much more. At its turning point, there’s a beautifully choreographed dance sequence that encapsulates the lyrical theme of empowerment. “We Exist” is yet another early contender for the year’s best music video.

Dee Lockett is Slate's editorial assistant for culture.

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