Baz Luhrmann

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Baz Luhrmann is an Australian director, famous for his eye catching films. He is known for his Red Curtain Trilogy including the three films ‘Strictly Ballroom’ (1992), Romeo + Juliet (1996) and ‘Moulin Rouge’ (2001). In these films he uses song, dance and iambic pentameter to create a heightened, creative world. A key part of his films in the Red Curtain Trilogy is that the audience knows how the film will end when it begins. His theatrical, colourful, fast paced films continuously enthral and fascinate audiences, making him a highly respected director. Symbolism

The film technique of symbolism can be seen in the film ‘Romeo + Juliet’ (1996). Symbolism is used as a tool by the director, Baz Luhrmann, to help drive the narrative of the film as well as indicating to the audience how it will end. Water can be seen as a prominent symbol in ‘Romeo + Juliet’. Romeo and Juliet are in love amongst the chaos of their feuding families, water is their place of refuge, where they can feel peace and serenity. Water is first used when Romeo and Juliet first meet, when they spot each other through the fish tank at the Capulet’s party. Water is also used at the Capulet’s party when Romeo splashes water over his face in the bathroom. This is essentially him trying to escape from the pressure and chaos of the party. When Romeo and Juliet first kiss they are in the swimming pool at the Capulet’s mansion. After the chaos of the party under water is completely silent. The water moves their hair and clothing slowly making it seem as if time slows down when they are together. Under water can be seen as the only place Romeo and Juliet are allowed to be together where they can escape their families and be together in peace. The escape water presents is later destroyed when Romeo kills Tybalt, whose blood leaves the once peaceful water tainted. With Romeo and Juliet’s peaceful retreat ruined, their future together is essentially destroyed, resulting in them committing suicide as they can’t be together. Baz Luhrmann uses this technique of symbolism as the audience can relate to the peace and escape water presents. As Baz Luhrmann said in an interview; “It comes from a personal experience of mine. My father used to talk a lot and we’d be in the pool and I’d just go underwater to hide from him. It was always so peaceful” The symbol of water can make the audience associate with where they go to escape the stress and pressure the world presents and disappear off into their place of peace. Baz Luhrmann does this to keep the audience involved as it is something they can relate to, which is a key part of what the Red Curtain Cinema is about. Baz Luhrmann also uses the technique of symbolism in ‘Moulin Rouge’ (2001). One symbol in Moulin Rouge is the bird cage. The bird cage symbolises entrapment. In this case Satine is the bird trapped in Moulin Rouge but she wants to escape and become “a real actress” and experience freedom for the first time. Her desperate desire for freedom is shown through the song “One day I’ll Fly Away”. This signifies how she wants to get away from the Moulin Rouge. It also makes a metaphoric reference to her as the bird. This signifies to the audience the fact that Satine is more like an animal, there to be enjoyed by others. The lyric “When will I begin, to live again?” Represents how unsatisfied she is with her life, being bought by men and selling her love and that she is not living properly. When we first see Satine she appears from the roof on a swing similar to a bird perch in a cage, reinforcing the idea that Satine is a bird, gaining no satisfaction from life, but rather being inanimate, only entertaining others. Satine dies without living a fulfilled life. She is like a bird who is born in a cage and dies in a cage, living a life with no real meaning. Baz Luhrmann uses the idea of breaking free as it’s a universal theme and one which the audience can relate to. This theme supports the common idea that “The...
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