It was 1899 in Paris, France, it was the time of the Bohemian Revolution, and it was the summer of love. Christian, played by Ewan McGregor, was a writer and came to Paris to experience this revolution and be surrounded by the artists, singers, and dancers of this new Bohemian world. Little did he know that he would experience something he had never felt before but always believed in: love. Moulin Rouge, directed by Baz Luhrmann, is an exquisite movie musical based off of a real life cabaret called Moulin Rouge in Montmartre. The movie tells the story of the love triangle between Christian, Satine aka the “Sparkling Diamond” of the Moulin Rouge, played by Nicole Kidman, and The Duke. Although Christian and Satine are fictional characters, the story includes real life characters such as Harold Zidler, the co-mastermind of the Moulin Rouge and Toulouse-Lautrec, a famous French artist. Moulin Rouge is a great look into what life was like back in Paris in 1900, but also adds in the love story between Christian and Satine to make for a great movie musical.
In the beginning of the movie, Christian's optimistic love shines some light into Satine's dark materialistic reality. To make a living, Satine became a courtesan at the Moulin Rouge. She gets paid for making men believe what they want to believe, so she sells her body to make money. She mistakenly became attracted to Christian for his pure and optimistic belief in love. Seeing that Christian did not have a lot of money, she becomes hesitant of loving him because he would not be able to support her and her dreams of being an actress. With Christian's pure and optimistic belief of love, he captures Satine's heart by loving her for who she really is, not for what she is. Although Satine dies in the end of the movie, Christian learns that true love lasts forever even through death. Harold Zidler, who is not a fictional character, is the man who helped to run the real Moulin Rouge cabaret. In the film, and in real life Paris, Zidler was the man who was, “a ‘brother’ to the artists and the man in the shadows who watched over the dancers and the rest of the personnel with a benevolent eye and ruled with an iron fist” (History). In the film he is the one who is in charge of making sure everything goes perfectly at the cabaret and makes sure all his dancers, especially Satine, know what they are supposed to do and who they should impress that night. Not only did he run the Moulin Rouge he was also a showman and performed with his dancers in the shows. Toulouse-Lautrec was also an important person when it comes to the cabaret in Paris. In the film he does not have a huge role other than help Christian get inside the Moulin Rouge and find a way for him to meet Satine. In Paris in the 1900’s, though, he is said to have been “the eyes of the Moulin Rouge.” Toulouse-Lautrec attended every evening show when the cabaret opened; and as mentioned before he was an artist, so every night he would sit in a corner and draw the dancers accompanied by a glass of absinthe (History). The fact about the absinthe is also in the movie; Toulouse-Lautrec, Christian, and a few others take a shot of absinthe before they head to the Moulin Rouge one night and the next few minutes of the film are just filled with pure craziness and hallucinations. His artwork, though, was extremely important in the success of the Moulin Rouge. “In 1891, he drew the first advertising poster for the Moulin Rouge, which today remains the best known image of the Moulin Rouge around the world” (History). His work is still famous today and without him the Moulin Rouge in Paris would not be as well known as it is today. The dancers of the Moulin Rouge were masters of the “cancan.” One of the stars and also known as “Queen of the Cancan” was Louise Weber, but her nickname was “La Goulue.” She is not specifically in the film, but in a biography about her, it states that, “one evening when she was...
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