Cross LA BOHÈME with CABARET, throw in a little bit of RENT, and you might almost begin to describe Baz Luhrmann's visually opulent, fast-paced, funny, heartrending MOULIN ROUGE. The film, which premiered as the opener to the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, is a musical set in 1899 Paris at the notorious Montmartre cabaret club, the Moulin Rouge. Directed by Luhrmann (WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S ROMEO AND JULIET, STRICTLY BALLROOM), the movie stars Nicole Kidman as the high-kicking courtesan, Satine; Ewan McGregor as the sensitive poet, Christian; and John Leguizamo as the flamboyant artist and matchmaker, Toulouse-Lautrec. Luhrmann's use of eclectic lighting and saturated color, the fast zooms and quick cuts of his camera, and his magnificent costumes and sets perfectly capture the excess and freneticism for which the Moulin Rouge was famous. Beautifully led by McGregor and Kidman, the flawless supporting cast brings to life the culture of belle époque Paris with magical realism. Above all, the anachronistic, energetic contemporary soundtrack is what drives MOULIN ROUGE, with popular songs by L'il Kim, Christina Aguilera, David Bowie, and Beck--as well as Kidman and McGregor adding their own superb vocals.
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