Moulin Rouge, directed by Baz Luhrmann, tells the story of two men, Christian and the Duke, and their fight for Satine, a talented actress at the Moulin Rouge. Christian, who represents romanticism, believes that love is everything and even goes so far as comparing it to oxygen. The duke, on the other hand, looks at love as a possession, or a way to provide security. The film is essentially portraying the conflicts between realism, the Duke, and romanticism, Christian, with only one of them triumphing in the end. Through the last minutes of Satine’s life, we discover with who her loyalty lies, Christian. Satine’s decision and ultimately her death, reinforce the triumph of romanticism and the failure of realism, promoting the validity of romantic ideals.
Christian, a romantic writer for the Moulin Rouge, believes that love is above all other things, representing the main ideals of Romanticism. The period of Romanticism emphasizes intuition, emotion, and imagination, which are all more important than reason. Through his writing of plays and love for Satine, Christian portrays these characteristics, especially emotion. He says, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return” (Luhrmann). This shows that Christian places a huge emphasis on love, with Satine being the most important person in his life. This deep emotion that Christian feels represents the deep emotion that was felt throughout the Romantic Movement, making him a key representation in the film. Christian’s views of love differ greatly from those of the Duke though.
The Duke, the sponsor of the Moulin Rouge, believes that love is based on security and ownership, opposing Christian’s views, and representing the ideas of realism. The Duke focuses on providing money and a career for Satine, so that she will be free from the harsh life she is currently living in. The Duke says, “Why should the courtesan chose the penniless sitar player over the maharajah who is offering...
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