Arcade Fire 'We Exist': Andrew Garfield plays trans woman in new video

The video sees the British actor playing a young person grappling with their identity

Arcade Fire have released a new music video for their song "We Exist", which sees British actor Andrew Garfield dressing in drag as he takes on the role of a young person struggling with their gender identity.

The band posted a 20-second teaser two weeks ago before unveiling the full six-minute version yesterday.

The video starts off with The Amazing Spider-Man star looking tearfully into a mirror before shaving off his hair, putting on women’s clothes and make-up and donning a blonde wig.

Garfield then goes to a bar and dances with one of the men, which all seems pleasant enough, but there is an underlying tension as to whether the man will realise that his dancing partner is not biologically female.

Our worst fears are confirmed when Garfield’s character gets into a brawl and is pushed around by several men, in scenes reminiscent to Boys Don’t Cry. The film is based on the tragic true story of Brandon Teena, who was raped and murdered by a group of men after being discovered to be transgender.

Luckily, the "We Exist" video takes a positive turn as Garfield’s character falls to the floor and into a dream-like sequence, performing a Flashdance­-esque dance through the now empty bar.

The video gets even more surreal as four burly men, one with a moustache and beard, attired in hot pants, heels and short skirts serve as backing dancers.

The music video concludes with Garfield taking to the stage with Arcade Fire at a music festival. His character is now wearing a flowing white dress and pink eye make-up and resembles an ethereal being.   

The video was filmed live during Arcade Fire’s performance of "We Exist" at the Coachella Festival in California back in April.

The song is from the indie rock group’s new album Reflektor and is about a gay son coming out to his father, according to Arcade Fire’s frontman Win Butler.

Arcade Fire’s new music video could not have come at a better time as LGBT issues have hit the headlines, following Eurovision victory for Austria’s drag act, Conchita Wurst, last week.

 

Wurst, real name Tom Neuwirst, was subjected to transphobic abuse during this year’s Eurovision contest.

She was branded a “pervert” by Russian politician Vitaly Milonov, while Vladimir Zhirinovsky, another MP from the country, said that Wurst’s victory signalled “the end of Europe.”

Read more: Conchita Wurst 'bearded women and men' parade banned
Austria's Conchita Wurst hits back at transphobic criticism
Conchita Wurst: A great ambassador for gender diversity

The Austrian singer, who won hearts across Europe with the Bond-like ballad "Rise Like a Phoenix", hit back at critics, saying “I can only say ‘Thank you for your attention!’

“If this is only about me and my person, I can live with it. I'm just a singer in a fabulous dress, with great hair and a beard,” she added in an interview with the Associated Press.

There is still an ongoing backlash in Russia against the outcome of this year's Eurovision winner, with some men reportedly shaving their beards in protest and officials calling for the nation to leave the contest and stage a "straight" equivalent.

Both Wurst’s success and Arcade Fire’s video for "We Exist" send a powerful message in solidarity to the LGBT community and are likely to rile detractors.

Arts and Entertainment
Nick Frost will star in the Doctor Who 2014 Christmas special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
TV
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jack Huston is the new Ben-Hur

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne modelling

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel are bringing Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street to the London Coliseum

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape

Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'

music
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars with Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders II

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West is on his 'Yeezus' tour at the moment

Music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam