Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A love that will live forever.

This post is part of Nathaniel's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" series in which the participants must post a single image from a movie he or she deems as the "best shot" for any particular reason.

It was inevitable for Moulin Rouge! to be picked as one of the films for this "Best Shot" series and today is as good as any since the film is celebrating its 10-year anniversary. My earlier post from this morning talked about most everything that I loved about the film, and to be honest, also gave me chance to feature all of the shots I didn't get to pick. With that said, here's my choice for "best shot" in the film...

It's one of the very few scenes in the film that opted for a more muted and neutral color schemed so that in itself sets it apart. I also just love how the characters are positioned, Christian in the foreground writing the play with Satine in the background with so many thoughts lingering in her head. This scene happens right after we find out that Satine is dying, diagnosed with consumption. Christian is upset she stood him up last night, thinking Satine slept with the Duke even though Satine very truthfully tells him she was recovering from being ill. It's all very... domestic and I love how lived-in this shot, this situation, and this moment of the film feels. Another favorite shot comes from the same scene with Christian joining Satine on the bed...

Satine tells him that they have to break it off now before anyone else finds out and definitely before she inevitably sleeps with the Duke on opening night. He isn't having any of it of course and comes up with the idea of the secret song for themselves and the lovers in the play.

I also see these scenes as sort of wish-fulfilling glimpses at what their lives could've been if Satine hadn't been sick and they had been able to run away like they originally planned--the penniless writer sitting in front of his typewriter with his out-of-work courtesan of a wife sit in the bed in her nightie. Similarly two shots, which were runner-ups to the "best shot," from the "Come What May" number also reflected this what-if, domestic reality:

Just an enchanted boy and his sparking diamond... isn't life grand at least for those couple of moments?


  1. Ryan, as much as I love all the grand gestures and visuals of the film, it's these quieter moments I think that make the film "stick" for me, and made me care about the fate of these two lovers. Love, love LOVE this portion. This middle "domestic" sequence is probably the one I watched most often when I popped in the VHS tape (back in the day) and then the DVD.

    It's also the inspiration for some of my favorite (geek alert!) fanfiction inspired by the film, ironically - the idea that the life in poverty wouldn't have been so swell and romantic after all.

  2. inspired and unusual choice. In some ways the color palette choices are so obvious (sepia... for gentler "memories") blue for cold monetary relationships... and just EVERY COLOR IN THE UNIVERSE for the showsplosions.

    but part of the reason the film works so much is how it's a product of pop culture and all of its traditions.

    nice post. and i agree with Janice that its the quiet moments inbetween the madness (and sometimes during the madness) that make the film stick

  3. Seasons may change, winter to spring!

    I just love, love, love watching Nicole stare at Ewan in this movie! They look so in love and in these shots they might look at their most beautiful (not that that's tough for them)

  4. Janice -- Most definitely. And MR fanfiction! Maybe I should check these out!

    Nathaniel -- Yeah, all of the colors overwhelm, but not in an overbearing kind of way. But still that's why I love this little section of the film because it gave us a nice pause. Plus it's them at their happiest isn't it?

    Jose -- Seriously. I demand a reunion! I mean even Kate and Leo had their Revolutionary Road.

  5. Ryan - um, at this point I don't know that a reunion would be a good idea? At least neither one seems to be pursuing the idea actively (and maybe with all the gossip at the time, and with a new husband and two babies now, our Miss Nic isn't digging the idea of dredging that all up again.) If they do however, it needs to be something totally different (the way RR was from Titantic). Of course there's no reproducing MR anyway. Which is what makes me sad sometimes about the film - I'd watch it and want more of THAT (and recently, more of Hedwig) and there was no more of that, and will be no more of that - even from Baz. *sigh*

    And as for the fanfic - there's a bit of it out there on; 98% of which is dreck, but there's some occasional good stuff (and one or two seriously great pieces) that could point you to were you so inclined. (Yes, I think I wrote at least one decent one - and lots more that will never see the light of day.) Not that I recommend wasting your time in that fashion!


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