Moulin Rouge

 The musical Moulin Rouge may tempt older filmviewers to attend in the expectation of seeing a remake of the classic film Moulin Rouge (1952), based on the novel of the same title by Pierre La Mure starring José Ferrer as Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, an artist who drew sketches of risqué dancers, circa 1900. However, such expectations will be dashed when the musical features John Leguizamo as Toulouse Lautrec, and the music consists of rock classics. The musical, directed and cowritten by Baz Luhrmann, focuses on Christian (played by Ewan McGregor), an English writer who wants to sharpen his creative energies by participating in the sinful life of night clubs in the Montmartre section of Paris so that he can write about “truth, beauty, freedom, and love,” though his sophomoric concept of love dominates his attention. Upon attending the Moulin Rouge nightclub, he sees beautiful Satine (played by Nicole Kidman) sing passionately. Although men heap gifts upon her for the privilege of being with her in private, she chooses Christian as her nighttime companion. However, the Moulin Rouge’s proprietor Zidler (played by Jim Broadbent) has arranged for her to have a rendezvous with the Duke of Worcester (played by Richard Roxburgh), who is very displeased. To Satine’s surprise, Christian wants friendship, not sex, unaware that she is a prostitute; his celibacy so surprises her that she falls in love with him, and he with her. To produce Christian’s story on the Moulin Rouge stage, starring Satine, Zidler desperately needs funds, and the Duke’s checkbook is deep. so Zidler tries to arrange yet another assignation between Satine and the Duke. But the Duke is repeatedly disappointed and becomes insanely jealous to the point of putting out a contract on Christian. Naturally, our hero Christian does not die so that there will be a happy ending, but Satine dies of tuberculosis so that there will be sadness as well. The film’s tagline is “An experience you won’t forget.” I expect that those who saw the earlier version will want to forget this version, and those who did not will groove on the rock music. MH

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