Posts Tagged ‘Moulin Rouge’




5 Things Learned From Baz Luhrmann




Australian director Baz Luhrmann will be opening the Cannes Film Festival May 15th (corrected: I was a month early!) with a much-anticipated remake of The Great Gatsby.  Baz is known for making his mark with such visually exotic interpretations as Romeo and Juliet (1996) and Moulin Rouge (2001).


Perhaps his greatest achievement though is his very first hit, a small Australian comedy called Strictly Ballroom (1992), which is hilarious, heartfelt and still delivers the complexity and nuance that infuse Luhrmann’s films with a sense of both magic and wonder.  He has such an eye for cinematic composition and lighting, that his films are as yet unappreciated for their pure genius and unity of vision.  Baz goes beyond storytelling and the pursuit of lucre to deliver an experience to the audience that only he could have crafted.  A true auteur, in an age of corporate cogs, great things are expected of Gatsby.  Already he’s won the pole position at the world’s premiere film festival, and that’s a good sign.

Strictly Ballroom tells the tale of politics and underhanded dealing at an Australian ballroom dancing association.  High stakes prizes and pressures center around those who can dictate which styles and steps are permitted, and which are excluded as sub-standard.  The elite dance board members stand to profit from the competitions and the videos and publishing associated with controlling the permissible catechism.  Along comes a talented young man who wants to shake things up with new styles and freeform improvisation – the antithesis of ballroom standards of behavior.  Fireworks fly.


Luhrmann himself danced ballroom as a child, and his bio reports that his parents were involved in the sport, much like the character in the film.  Strictly Ballroom is a crowd pleaser with creative techniques employed throughout and harkens back to a long lost age of cinema.

I stand by his Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge, but interested to hear comments.  I haven’t seen Australia, some epic historical thing that never sold me, but I may check it out yet.

The Great Gatsby (Trailer 2)