This is the first in a four-part obsessively detailed look at one of my favorite films Moulin Rouge!. It's the closest I've ever examined a film for your reading pleasure. My eyes hurt so I really hope you enjoy.
Think of it as watching the DVD with a very chatty friend --namely, me. Or call it a recap, whatever works for you. Yes it's going to be a loooong article.
Bring your own popcorn.
One of my favorite sounds in the real world is curtains opening -- it's no fancy thing, just audible mechanics, a low hum. There's something in it that fills me with hope and makes me sit up straight. So I think all movies should open like Moulin Rouge! does, with those red glittery curtains parting, give or take the dancing conductor. Certainly more movies should begin with the title card "A Bazmark Production." To date there have been only three and that ain't enough.
Baz Luhrmann needs to quit all activities unrelated to movie making. No more Broadway experiments, no more vacations, no talking to friends on the phone. No eating or sleeping until I get another one! I'm dying here. The only other filmmaker who gets as big of a kick from dancing nutjobs and red curtains is David Lynch. And he doesn't make enough movies either.
There Was Boy...
John Leguizamo, playing a sad clown version of Toulouse-Lautrec, sings us into the film. Maybe he's sad because he knows this is the only masterpiece he'll ever be in? "There was a boy..." The boy in question is Ewan McGregor as Christian. Right away I love him because he's a) Ewan b) in Paris c) a writer and d) crying --and I love the sensitive artist types. He takes over the storytelling duties from Toulouse-Lautrec as soon as he's been introduced.
These shifts happen quickly in the film. I remember a lot of people back in 2001 thought Moulin Rouge! was way too busy in its editing and I both agree and disagree. Certainly Jil Bilcock, the cutter in question, is already getting a workout four minutes in. She's cross dissolving sneak peaks of the major characters and the titular dance hall. Shes interweaving them with Christian mopily typing his way through the framing device. Yet somehow this patchwork approach works. I figure most contemporary movies are just as busy in their editing but at least this one has an excuse. Any movie art directed by Catherine Martin (Baz Luhrmann's wife) can be forgiven for being easily distracted.
'Ooh, look at that. No, no here. Wheeee. Wait what's this?' It's all so gorgeous. I figure the cinematographer and the editor are just human --they want to look around, too.
READ THE REST.... There's green fairy hallucinations, detailed thoughts about the genius of Harold Zidler, Nicole Kidman's sky-rocketing fame, and much more.
Tags: Moulin Rouge, musicals, movies, Nicole Kidman, Paris, Ewan McGregor, Oscars, Academy Awards, Kylie Minogue, cinema, DVD, Review, Film, editing, moviemusicals, absinthe, mashup