Saturday, 2 March 2013

'Spectacular, Spectacular' - The wonder of Baz Luhrmann

With The Great Gatsby out in May my love of the great Baz Luhrmann has resurfaced, especially as I have been listening to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack quite a bit recently. As I write I have the film playing in the background.

I think Baz Luhrmann (along with Christopher Nolan) is one of my favourite directors. I love the extravaganza and opulence of his Red Curtain Trilogy. Moulin Rouge is one of my favourite films and makes me think of the classic Hollywood musicals of old.

As with most of Baz's film he takes something - a dance, Shakespeare or musicals and adds his own modern twist.

Everyone post-1996 would have seen his version of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet starring Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio. Set in Verona beach it features guns and gangs but with the fantastic twist with the modern look when they open their mouths they speak in the original Shakespearean text.

The Red Curtain Trilogy so called not because it features the same characters, plot or even same countries but the theatrical nature of the stories. They are dramatic, theatrical and visionary.

His first film was Strictly Ballroom. Set in Australia it is a classic ugly duckling story. Scott is a talented ballroom dance champion who longs to dance his own steps. When he is dumped by his dance partner he starts to practise with Fran the ugly duckling of the ballroom school. It is a very camp film but brilliant. So Australian and funny.

My all time favourite though is Moulin Rouge. A musical with a difference set in 1899 at the Moulin Rouge it is bright and brash, the twist is the fact that all the songs are modern songs - Bowie's Heroes, Roxanne by the Police and The Show Must Go On by Queen. The only original is the heart-wrenching Come What May, a beautiful ballad.

When I saw this in the cinema back in 2001 I felt like clapping at the end of each musical number, it evokes so much nostalgia and you feel as if you could be at the theatre. It is also the only film that has really made me properly cry my eyes out...every time!

Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman are just fantastic in it. Poor Satine and Christian fell in love so quickly to just lose each other! A really beautiful film. It really pulls my heart strings.

Not included in the trilogy but still epic and dramatic is Australia. It received a bit of a warm reception at the cinema but is a beautiful film. It stars Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman and looks at the lost children of Australia. It is nearly three hours and truly is an old fashioned epic you could imagine seeing in the golden age of cinema.

Now I am really over the moon to see Luhrmann and DiCaprio join forces again for The Great Gatsby. It looks brilliant and I can't wait to see what twists he has for this film. Well Jay Z is doing the soundtrack so who knows.

I love Luhrmann and if you love bif dramatic films you will love his.

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