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Moulin Rouge: Performances Evoking Freedom, Beauty, Truth, and Love

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Moulin Rouge: Performances Evoking Freedom, Beauty, Truth, and Love

In creating eccentric performances, Baz Luhrmann was able to turn Moulin Rouge (2001) into an eye-popping spectacle. The film's tagline and Bohemian way of life "Freedom, Beauty, Truth, and Love" materializes wondrously through the use of popular music and meticulous choreography and staging. Moulin Rouge is then transformed from a colorless melodrama into a radiating musical full of light and passion. With over-powering production numbers, Luhrmann exposed these Bohemian ideals and illuminate them forcefully upon his audience.

Freedom is a prominent focus throughout the first ten minutes of the film. The musical troupe explains the bohemian ideals to a naïve Christian (Ewen McGregor) by performing a blend of "Sound of Music" and "Children of the Revolution." Christian has his first taste of absinthe and the scene is ignited by the sparkling green fairy (Kylie Minogue), who sprinkles magic fairy dusk on them, signifying that they are free to behave irrationally. Her movements are sexually suggestive and give the men reason to want to go to the Moulin Rouge, where they will be able to gawk at other women. The men perform strong arm and leg movements in unison showing their manliness in comparison to the very feminine movements of the green fairy.

When creating a performance for inside the Moulin Rouge, Baz Luhrmann displays a heightened sense of freedom; the performers and spectators are able to act as out of control as they want. The women throw their dresses up, while the men dance ridiculously with their canes and top hats. The music and dancing is almost in fast-forward, building excitement to show how excited the men are to watch the colorful and voluptuous women. In the book Moulin Rouge: The Splendid Illustrated Book That Charts the Journey of Baz Luhrmann's Motion Picture, Luhrmann tells the he chose the music performed in the interior of the Moulin Rouge scene to "provoke in the contemporary audience the same kind of raw response we imagined the visitors of the real Moulin Rouge would have felt" (72, 73). When watching this scene for the first time, I was able to relate to the feeling and excitement of the fictional audience watching the dancers in the Moulin Rouge, because I was reminded of times those songs excited me.

Satine (Nicole Kidman) is the beauty of Moulin Rouge. Through her performance, the audience feels the power her beauty has. The first time the audience meets Satine she is suspended above the Moulin Rouge for everyone to see. Amongst the dancing, merriment, and lust, she becomes a work of art the audience below can't keep their eyes off of. The sharp contrast of the fast movement of the Can-Can to the awe-struck, stoic demeanor of the club-goers reveals to the audience that Satine is the heart of the film.

Moulin Rouge shows how beauty will get you diamonds, but cannot buy you happiness. This is discovered when Satine performs "One Day I'll Fly Away." When

Satine starts to perform the song; she is looking out a heart shape window at Christian, who is sitting in the window of his dull and dark room. This illustrates the difference in their wealth and status, but shows that neither is happy. Both characters continue to look at each other, Christian's look towards Satine is loving, while Satine's look at Christian shows her longing for freedom or to "fly away". Without having to use dialogue, Luhrmann was able to make the audience understand both characters motivation through song and eye contact.

The musical number "El Tango de Roxanne" creates a truthful and passionate visual revelation of the story through the use of the tango. Two scenes and songs run simultaneously, creating a pulsating tension that is sure to erupt. The Narcoleptic Argentinean (Jacek Koman) and Nini Legs-in-the-Air (Caroline O'Connor), perform a tango simulating the physical relationship that The Duke (Richard Roxburgh) and Satine



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