“There was a boy….a very strange, enchanted boy….they said he wandered very far, very far…..over land and sea, a little shy and sad of eye….but, very wise was he…..and then one day, one magic day, he passed my way….while we spoke of many things….fools and kings….this he said to me, the greatest thing you’ll ever learn….is just to love and be loved in return.” Nature Boy, sung by John Leguizamo on Moulin Rouge soundtrack
In 2001, a riot of colour, song, beauty and costume exploded on the cinema screen. Moulin Rouge. If I’m honest, I sat through the first 20 minutes wondering what the heck was going on, but then, I let go of reality as soon as Kylie appeared as the green absinthe fairy and stopped thinking and let the creative mad genius of Baz Luhrmann envelop me and I was hooked.
Already a fan of Luhrmann’s pop culture interpretation of Romeo & Juliet, I knew Moulin Rouge would not be some run of the mill romance story. Once again, his use of modern pop and rock music for a soundtrack, along with amazing visuals and a brilliant story was a winning formula.
Moulin Rouge tells the story of Christian (Ewan Macgregor), a penniless writer in search of true romance and success in literature, arriving in Paris in 1899. He befriends the artist, Toulouse-Lautrec (John Leguizamo) and gets sucked into the seemingly glamourous night-world of the Moulin Rouge. Christian meets and falls in love with the beautiful star of the Moulin Rouge, and courtesan, Satine (Nicole Kidman). She takes a chance and returns his feelings. The lovers plan to escape together, away from Satine’s pimp and manager of the Moulin Rouge, Harold Zidler (Jim Broadbent) and a wealthy patron of the club, the Duke (Richard Roxburgh) who has become obsessed with Satine. Although the lovers are helped by their friends, as they work on a new musical for the Moulin Rouge, things are not as simple as they appear….
I love that Nicole and Ewan sing their songs, rather than somebody else. This gives the film more heart. The soundtrack is amazing, it includes covers of songs by Nirvana, David Bowie, Elton John, Sting and Randy Crawford. I have the soundtrack and my favourite is Beck’s cover of Diamond Dogs.
Nicole Kidman is at her most beautiful and Ewan Macgregor his most charming. Jim Broadbent and the rest of the supporting cast are fantastic too. If you love art, stunning costumes, colour, romance and music….you will love this film.
Satine: “Never knew, I could feel like this…like I’ve never seen the sky before, want to vanish inside your kiss…..every day I love you more and more.”
The necklace that Satine (Nicole Kidman) wears was not costume, but made with 1,308 diamonds and platinum. It was the most expensive item of jewellery ever made for a film, worth $1million!
Moulin Rouge is dedicated to Baz Luhrmann’s father, Leonard, who passed away just before filming began.