Thursday, April 24, 2008

I (Heart) Baz Luhrmann

The Red Curtain Trilogy.... Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, and Moulin Rouge!... all directed and conceived by the Australian director Baz Luhrmann, the great brilliant mind of Baz Luhrmann. He is like a secret crush that I have. I have loved all of these movies independently, passionately, for completely different reasons, and never knew really clued in that they came from the same mind. I love that.

Strictly Ballroom.... this was my first experience into Australian humor. This love led to future loves like Muriel's Wedding, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. There was something so pure, "committing to the joke", that I loved in this genre. I loved that the characters could be so funny, charming, vulnerable, and entertaining. There was a fell like a modern musical. The music meant something to the story not just background music meant for dramatic effect.

Romeo + Juliet ..... the first time I saw this, I said, within minutes of watching this... when I teach high school theatre, THIS is how I will introduce Shakespeare to the students. I am one of the theatre geeks who... gasp, shriek... wasn't instantly in love with Shakespeare. It was never my dream to stand on the balcony and give Juliet's speech, because, well... I didn't get it. I had never seen it. I had only been given Shakespeare on a page in an English book in high school. Well guess what...SHAKESPEARE WAS NEVER MEANT TO BE READ!! He was a playwright, not a poet! Baz Luhrmann took this work, and with very little changes, made it modern and relevant. He was able to take the text and by making very specific visual/genre choices, introduce Shakespeare to an audience who may never ever have gotten the message any other way. It is quite breath taking.

Moulin Rouge!.....I saw this in New York.... several times... in the movie theater. I would sneak out of work early just to go see this. This movie made me ache to be creative again. This movie was brilliance on the screen to me. It was so different, it was so smart, it was so wonderful. It was and still is one of my favorite movies. I think of it more as a work of art than as a movie. Again - in this movie, you are taken to this fantastical place... the colors, the music, the passion, EXPLODE off the screen. From the opening sequence to the ending credits, you are never given a break.

If you haven't seen any of these, I recommend you place them on your list.... they are well worth the 2+ hours of your time......

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