By Laura Ferreiro
Update: Two hours after this story was posted, the video is back on YouTube. According to Billboard, the video sharing site claims it was removed in error: "With the massive volume of videos on our site, sometimes we make the wrong call. When it's brought to our attention that a video has been removed mistakenly, we act quickly to reinstate it."
David Bowie clearly hasn't lost his edge. The 66-year-old rocker's latest video, which he wrote and conceived himself, features plenty of racy imagery and the clergy engaged in some less-than-pious behavior. "The Next Day" clip also bears the "explicit" parental advisory label and ended up being banned from YouTube for "violating terms of service" just a few hours after its release.
The video, which some may consider offensive due to its graphic images that could be interpreted as mocking religion, stars Academy Award-winning actress Marion Cotillard and renowned British actor Gary Oldman. It takes place in a bar filled with saints and sinners, where Bowie is performing on stage dressed in monks' robes.
It kicks off with Oldman's priest character punching a beggar in the face. Cotillard plays a prostitute-turned-saint character, who dances with Oldman's character until she develops stigmata wounds that end up drenching many of the bar's patrons in blood.
Bowie delivers a lively performance of the rockin' tune, and the video is filled with several striking and controversial images, including a woman serving her eyeballs on a platter, a weeping bishop, and men of the cloth saddling up next to prostitutes. It also features Bowie as a Christ-like figure at the end, where in a meta-moment he thanks "Gary, Marion," and "everyone" before disappearing.
The contentious video was directed by Floria Sigismondi, the Italian photographer and director who helmed the Kristen Stewart vehicle The Runaways. This isn't the first Bowie video Sigismondi has been involved in—she also directed the short film for his recent track "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)," which features actress Tilda Swinton.
Although the clip was banned from YouTube, it is available on Vevo.
Check it out for yourselves, but be reminded that it contains explicit and unsettling images.
"The Next Day" is the title track from Bowie's latest album, which he released in March after taking the world by surprise by announcing its existence on his birthday in January.