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Analyzing Moulin Rouge

Essay by review  •  October 30, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,183 Words (5 Pages)  •  944 Views

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Moulin Rouge is celebrated for its art direction, music, and performances. One of its biggest endeavors is the set design. With a combination of real sets and computer generated images, Moulin Rouge manages to showcases a 19th century Paris, France as a world of moral decadence but undeniable beauty. The set design further pushes the message of France, at this time, being a place of plague, poverty and sin; but also a place of art, music and beauty.

In the introduction of the film, we see an elaborate design of 19th century Paris, France. We have a detailed and inside look at Paris through the allies, cabaret bars, prostitutes, and up the rooftops to reveal a colorful and vibrant fantasy world. Just the opening sequence emphasizes how the people of France, through poverty and plague, live a life of love, art and music. So we have these two characteristics, these two sides of Paris that seem to juxtapose each other. We see this constantly through out the film; sin and beauty, love and poverty, etc.

After the view of the city, we then see an old broken down apartment where Christian, one of the central characters, live. The room is cluttered with broken bottles, clothes on the floor, old wooden floor, worn out walls, and the centerpiece of the room; a polished type writer on the table. This illustrates the idea that art and creativity rise above the poverty and sin of this world.

One of the Main sets of the film are the rooftops of Paris. There we have another open view of the city at night and how it comes alive. This film is unique when it comes to set design because it uses the aid of computer generated images. So there are many instances where a character can travel through the city in an unrealistic manner. The train station, most of the city, and the Moulin Rouge are altered with computer generated images.

One of the most important aspects of the art design is how the film's visual language and message is established through color. The Moulin Rouge, compared to the rest of the city, is colorful and alive. The rest of the city is painted with sepia and dark colors, while the Moulin Rouge is bright with many colors; mainly gold and red. And yet it's supposed to be an underworld where love is for sale and sin is everywhere.

Colors, in the film, are used as archetypes as well. The elephant room is mostly bright red, which indicates passion and love. The elephant room is of course where the prostitutes would take their clients. Color themes are constantly used through out the film. When we see Christian heart broken by the death of Satine, his room is dark and gloomy and has colors of black and dark blue. It further conveys his feeling of depression.

One of the main Set designs is the inside of the Moulin Rouge. The Moulin rouge has several areas with specific designs. The dance hall, during the "can-can" dance sequence, shows the vibrant colors of the entertainers and dancers which juxtaposes the black and white tuxedo-wearing aristocrats. This is one of the major themes of the film, exemplified through the art direction. All the aristocrats pretty much look the same.

They all have black and white tuxedos, top hats, white gloves, canes, and 19th century facial hair. It's as if they are dressed as if they're in uniform, hiding any individuality they may have. With the black and white colors, it also makes them look emotionless. On the other hand, the dancers and entertainers of the Moulin Rouge, are wearing elaborate, multi-colored dresses with a lot of detail. And each dress, like each dancer, is unique. This is the perfect summary of the film's theme of how the two types of people live. The aristocrats are emotionless but well groomed and the poor are artistic, talented and full of passion.

Another good example of this, is the home of the Duke. The Duke is the villain of the film and lives in a large house with wide rooms. The room is made too look like an old castle of the middle ages with large stones and dark wooden furniture.

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