Does Rihanna's 'Elle' short film depict her abusive past with Chris Brown?

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Rihanna is starring in a three-minute movie in conjunction with Elle’s May editorial spread, which shows the Battleship star prancing around Cuba circa 1956, and possibly recreating (or at least eluding to) her abusive relationship with her ex, Chris Brown.

The Spanish-language film (using voice-over artist Maria Gutierrez) takes place in Havana, and doesn’t seem to have a plot, aside from following the singer around town as she poses for the camera in couture pieces from Atelier Versace and styles from Balmain and Jil Sander.

According to their website, Elle Creative Director Joe Zee “imagined a romantic narrative starring Rihanna as the fiery heroine in a passionate affair with a salsa dancer.” If you pay close attention to the subtitles, however, it’s hard to shake the feeling that the singer may be eluding to a more tragic love story.


“Back then I had no doubts or worries,” she says as she arrives at her hotel, “Each day was a new adventure…no thoughts of consequence, no responsibilities.” The next minute and a half we see Rihanna dancing around her room, and watching from the window as her co-star salsas.

In the following scene, he and Rihanna are driving in an old convertible when a verbal altercation ensues. She begins to narrate once more, “It’s like a drug…the passion…taking risks. It’s like the devil is waiting in the dark to change you.”

Here, Rihanna exits the car unscathed — unlike the result following Chris Brown’s assault back in 2009 — and in the last scene, Rihanna even reunites with her love interest.

Is Elle’s short film starring Rihanna, simply an evocative moving photo-shoot, inspired by the artist’s new look? Or, does her narrative bear an eerie resemblance to her ill-fated relationship with Chris Brown?

Follow Briana Lopes on Twitter at @briananikohl