I know it has been a long time seance I did an Artist of the week post, now that I can do them again I have decided to branch out. Now instead of the posts being called ‘Artist of thew Week’ it will be ‘Art of the Week’, giving me a chance to share more forms of art I enjoy, including things like musicals that have multiple people who work on them. The only shame is this moth will be short seance I ran out of time to post last Friday while I was getting ready for camping.
At first I was going to do this month on classical music, and I will do it another month, but this month changed all on its own, it said “no I want to be different for the first month back”. Here we are, I am doing it differently.
This weeks focus is on one of my favorite musicals, Moulin Rouge. Why musicals this month, well its simple, I love musicals and grew up watching them. From costumes to music the creativity level is through the roof when it comes to the best musicals.
The film opens in the year 1900, as a struggling writer named Christian sits at his desk and begins to write on his typewriter. One year before he moved to the Montmartre district of Paris, despite his father he was determined to become a writer among members of the area’s Bohemian movement. By chance he encounters performers from the Moulin Rouge led by Henri de Toulouse-Lautred (Played by John Leguizamo), Christian’s writing skills allow them to finish their proposed show “Spectacular Spectacular” that they wish to sell to Harold Zidler (Played by Jim Broadbent),owner of the Moulin Rouge. The group takes Christian to the Moulin Rouge, they arrive just as Zidler and his “Diamond Dog Dancers” perform for their audience. Toulouse-Lautrec arranges for Christain to meet with Satine, the star Courtesan,
in her private quarters to present his work. Unaware to all Zidler is promising Satine to the wealthy Duke of Monroth, a potential investor in the cabaret. Early in the film, toward the end of Satine’s first performance in the film, it is made evident she suffers from tuberculosis.
Satine mistakes Christian for the Duke she is to seduce, she dances with him before retiring to her private chamber so that they mite discuss things ‘privately’ with him. Soon she learns that he is simply a writer, by that time he has already fallen head over heals in love with her. The Duke interrupts them, finding them in a somewhat compromising position: Christian and Satine think quickly and claim they were simply practicing the lines for the Moulin Rouge’s new show (Spectacular Spectacular). With the help of the surprised Zidler, Toulouse-Lautrec and the rest of the troop they pitch the show to the Duke with an improvised plot about an evil maharajah attempting to woo an Indian courtesan who is in love with a poor sitar player. The Duke agrees to back the show on one condition, he and he only is allowed to see Satine. Meanwhile, Satine contemplates on Christian and her own longing to leave the Moulin Rouge to become a real actress. Later Christian goes back to Satine and attempts to convince her that she is in love with him. As the cabaret is converted into a theater the two continue seeing each other under the pretense of rehearsing Satine’s lines.The Duke becomes jealous and warns Zidler that
he may stop funding the show; Zidler then arranges for Satine to dine with the Duke that very evening, but during practice she falls ill. That night Zidler makes excuses to the Duke, he claims Satine has gone to confession so that she may be pure for the Duke. Zidler learns that Satine’s tuberculosis had worsened, and that she dose not have long to live.Satine tries to convince Christian that their relationship endangers the show and her chances of becoming a true actress, but he counters by writing a new song into the performance, a secret love song to affirm their love.
As the Duke watches Christain rehearses with Satine, a rather jealous performer, Nini (played by Caroline O’Connor), so ‘nicely’ points out that the play is in fact a metaphor for the Duke, Christian and Satine. The enraged Duke demands that the play’s ending be changed so that the courtesan ends up with the maharajah and not the sitar player; Satine offers to spend the night with the Duke so they can keep the original ending. As Satine stands at the window in the Duke’s quarters she sees Christian on the street below, and she realizes she can’t go through with it. The Duke attempts to rap her, but she is saved by Le Chocolate (Played by Deobia Oparei), one of the cabaret’s dancers, and reunited with Christian, who urges her to run away with him. The Duke goes to Zidler and tells him he will have Christian killed if Satine is not his alone. Zidler gives Satine the Dukes warning, but she refuses to return, Zidler then finally informs her that she is dying. Fearing for Christian’s life Satine tells Christian they can no longer see each other as she will be staying with the Duke. Christian tries to follow her into the Moulin Rouge, but is denied entry, he then falls into a deep depression, even though Toulouse-Lautrec insists Satine dose love him.
The night of the show Christian sneaks into the Moulin Rouge, ready to pay Satine to return his love just as the Duke had paid for her. He catches Satine before she steps onto the stage, he demands she tells him that she dose not love him. Suddenly they find themselves in the spotlight; improvising Zidler convinces the audience that Christian is in fact the sitar player in disguise. Angrily Christian denounces Satine and storms off stage. Toulouse-Lautrec cries out from the rafters “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return”, spurring Satine to sing the secret love song Christian wrote to express their love. He returns to the stage to join her in their song. The Duke’s bodyguard tries to kill Christian, but is stopped by Toulouse-Lautrec and La Petite Princess (a dancer in the Moulin Rouge played by Kiruna Stamell), while the Duke’s own attempt on Christians life is thwarted by Zidler.Realizing he has lost the Duke storms out of the Cabaret as Christian and Satine complete their song.
However after the curtain closes Satine finally succumbs to Tuberculosis. She and Christian have their final moment together, affirming their love before she dies. A year later the Moulin Rouge stands empty, and Christian is writing the tale of his love for Satine, a “love that will live forever”.
- Nicole Kidman as Satine
- Ewan McGregor as Christian
- Jim Broadbent as Harold Zidler
- Richard Roxburgh as The Duke of Monroth
- John Leguizamo as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
- Jacek Koman as The Narcoleptic Argentinean
- Caroline O’Connor as Nini Legs-in-the-Air
- Garry McDonald as The Doctor
- Keith Robinson as Le Pétomane
- Natalie Mendoza as China Doll
- David Wenham as Audrey
- Kiruna Stamell as La Petite Princess
- Deobia Oparei as Le Chocolate
- Kylie Minogue as The Green Fairy
- Ozzy Osbourne as The Green Fairy’s laugh
- Peter Whitford as The Stage Manager
Moulin Rouge is an epic love story that doesn’t end in the typical happily ever after fashion of most love stories out there. Instead it ends with one of the main characters (Satine played by Nicole Kidman) dying. I think I love this ending because life its self is real, its not full of happy ever after endings, we get hurt, we love, we learn, we live, we die. To me this ending is more true to life, yes Christian (played by Ewan McGregor) looses the love of his life, but his journey and what he learns about himself along the way is profound, because of this grate loss he becomes the writer he set out to be, thanks to the knowledge he gained of true love, profound loss, and conflict. He is forever changed by that short time in his life, as we can be changed by one small moment, by one person, by a new experience.
I love the music in the movie because its a mix of classical, big band, rock, pop, and latin (excuse me if I missed any). Just in case you haven’t seen the movie here are two of my favorite songs 🙂