There are scenes in this extravaganza that will
remind you of Salvador Dali’s The Sublime Moment. A surreal painting
influenced by the ideas of Freud who sought to express the imagination
as shown in dreams, unshackled by reason or convention. This idea was
given literary voice almost exclusively in France. Surrealism depicts
incongruous images in a realistic style.
Not unlike the combination of playful illusion,
scandalous intrigue, provocative dancing, brilliant images, debauchery,
pure romance, flights of fantasy and cartoon-type characters presented
in Moulin Rouge.
Is this movie a result of a desire to shock or a
sign of a very gifted cinematic shaman who feels compelled to release
his innermost frenzied passions for bohemian (a person, as an artist or
writer, who lives and acts free of regard for conventional rules and
practices) indulgence on screen?
The idea of combining complex forms, fantasy and
allusions is also very postmodern. This is cutting-edge and will also
appeal to anyone interested in pop culture. I could almost hear Baz
Luhrmann‘s voice speaking through his characters when I heard
Christian saying that his poetry is new and modern and you might enjoy
it if you are open minded.
Baz Luhrmann takes man’s most inner desires and
splashes them across a surreal screen in lurid detail with wild
decadence. The result is often comic to the point of absurdity. Desire,
passion, suspicion, jealousy, anger, betrayal all blend into this
musical fantasy about tragic romance and at times focuses on the darkest
corner of man’s soul.
My emotions ranged from crying over how romantic
the scenes were to feeling absolute revulsion for the frenetic
cut-and-paste obsession. The mishmash of contemporary songs and classic
musical tunes are voraciously interwoven and mysteriously arranged. They
are the threads holding this movie together in a star-dust-sprinkled
sapphire sky. While many of the scenes were stunning and visually
erotic, the true beauty of this movie seems to come from the main
Nicole Kidman plays Satine, a beautiful, well paid,
but world-weary courtesan who dances at the famed Moulin Rouge cabaret
in artsy 19th-century Paris. This Sparkling Diamond is caught in this
fantastical underworld of Parisian nightclubs. When she meets Christian it
is kismet. She falls hopelessly in love with the young playwright (Ewan
McGregor). Christian is a penniless poet who believes in truth, freedom
and beauty and above all things, love. He can spontaneously create love
songs from the depths of his soul. Satine first mistakes him for Duke
and by the time she meets Duke, Christian has already bewitched her with
is sensitive and emotional and the type of man women dream they could
meet. A man who will follow
them to the ends of the earth (or go to hell and back); just to gaze
longingly into their eyes. In fact, this story does seem to resemble the
most basic concepts of the Orphean myth. Orpheus charmed nymphs
with his music just as Christian seems to charm Satine. He eases her
tortured soul just as Orpheus’ songs eased the torments of the
Orpheus journeys to the underworld to find his true
love (wife Eurydice who died of a snake bite). He is told that Eurydice
can follow him back to earth. However, he must not look back. After
disobeying this order, Eurydice
has to stay in the underworld.
The ending of this movie is equally tragic. Satine
is dying of tuberculosis
and you know her fate early in the movie, which in fact, is quite
clever. It seduces you into
watching the movie just to find out how and why she died. There
are also parallels one could examine from Puccini's opera La Bohème.
I ate at a cafe next to the
Moulin Rouge for Lunch when
I was in Paris, but never went to the Moulin Rouge.
This movie asks surprisingly deep questions about
why life is worth living. Life is unpredictable and yet you learn from
life and go on, or you give up. Saying “the show must go on,” is in
a way symbolic of life going on with or without love. The two main
characters must rise above the difficulties of social standing, poverty
and ill health they encounter to make the relationship work.
Christian and Satine’s forbidden love embodies
the concepts of unfulfilled desires and a certain tortured agony of the
soul. Nicole must choose
between a young writer’s inspiration and the psychologically warped
investor, the Duke (Richard Roxburgh) who is obsessed with possessing
her. He agrees to finance Moulin's latest ambitious show in return for
This is a prime example of a movie that has to be
watched twice to understand the content of the first part. Otherwise, it
makes no sense at all on the first viewing. You must first accept the
obvious assault on the senses. This is really a reviewers dream movie.
There is so much to analyze on so many levels. The satisfaction comes
from delving beyond the fantasy and hearing the cries of the soul.
“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just
to love and be loved in return.” And that is the best line in the
movie to be sure.
Moulin Rouge is a euphoric fantasy which at times seems to be induced by
quite a few glasses of Absinthe which is a symbol of the bohemian spirit.
This mysterious vivid emerald liqueur was known to inspire many
famous artists, writers and poets. Absinthe (French for wormwood) contains thujone
is a toxic chemical that causes mind-altering changes and may lead to
psychosis. The adverse effects of this habit-forming drink include
hallucinations. Green in this case
seems to either symbolize decay and jealousy or life and creativity.
What surprised me most was this intense
longing I felt to submit myself again to the visual torture. I watched it
three times! I blame it on being a hopeless romantic.
“Suddenly the world seems such a perfect
place…Sing out this song I'll be there by your side. Storm clouds may
gather. And stars may collide. But I love you until the end of time.”