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Baz Luhrmann

Essay by review  •  February 6, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,026 Words (5 Pages)  •  946 Views

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Baz Luhrmann

The "quick-cut" editing style is more revealing of the surroundings, not less so. As opposed to the stereotypical long, wide shots which allow the viewer to acknowledge everything on screen in a distanced shot - Rouge!'s editing allows for a series of individual intimate portraits, revealing the environment in a different way.

Luhrmann's fluttering editing often finds a beautiful sync with the music - cutting less when Kidman's Satine purrs the slow "One Day I'll Fly Away" - and more vibrantly and in step with a fantastic adaptation The Police's "Roxanne". With "Le Tango de Roxanne", Luhrmann's camera follows spectators and stomping feet beautifully on note - as a magnificant club sequence towards the film's beginning features explosive camerawork that adds to colorful and hypnotic environment.

Baz Luhrmann mixes frenetic, chaotic blurred images filled with cuts, with heavy, intense and emotional moments. Luhrmann’s feeling for music enhances the film perfectly, and in Rouge’s case, is integral to the film. Though the film takes place in Paris, 1900, it is Luhrmann’s Paris 1900, one where Nirvana and Elton John provide the music. But this is acceptable, because when in a Baz Luhrmann film, you are just that: in a Baz Luhrmann film. This is his world where a Bohemian ideal seeking writer can be the lyricist behind “The Sound of Music.” Accept it, enjoy it and you won’t be disappointed.

The musical numbers work perfectly in the context of the film. Never once did one feel forced, just for the sake of singing. Luhrmann uses music to enhance the drama, not the other way around like so many musicals that seem like excuses for people to burst into song for no apparent reason. “El Tango De Roxanne” is the best example of this, sung hauntingly by actor Jacek Koman, upping the tension exponentially in a beautifully edited and plot important sequence. The scene also contains one of the most brilliant moments of movie wisdom ever, as Koman tells Ewan, “Never fall in love with a woman who sells herself. It always ends BAD.”

Moulin Rouge is a collage of the music world, combining Broadway with the West End, throwing in a little burlesque, and mixing up into it modern pop culture rock music from Nirvana to Elton John.

Baz Luhrman’s direction is stunning, frequently using the play within a play technique to perfection, even in the telling of the story itself. The digital camera pull-aways to reveal 1899 Paris and then the quick zoom into the room of destiny is as effective as it is tantalizing. The show dares you to look away, showing you that a glance at your watch will cause you to miss anything from a musical romp to an essential plot device. The film moves quickly, and only slows in the moments of the present where an older Ewan McGregor is painfully working his way through the tale. This suggests a juxtaposition between the brevity and speed of youth and innocence and the long, long days spent mourning the lost past.

Kidman rasps the same song (Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend) while dangling from a swing above hordes of slumming aristocrats in the jaw-dropping musical set piece that introduces Satine.

Luhrmann deliberately set out to rejuvenate the musical. 'I grew up in the middle of nowhere in New South Wales,' he says. 'There was a gas station and a farm, but also a local cinema which my father ran for a while. One of the earliest pictures I saw was Paint Your Wagon. It's not a very good musical, but it enlivened me to the idea that there was a job to be done. With Moulin Rouge, we've only opened



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