This chapter considers Moulin Rouge!’s claim that “we could steal time, just for one day.” I’ll show how Moulin Rouge! becomes what the character Zidler calls a “ravishment of the senses.” At the center are three key features: (1) a musical (rather than traditionally narrative) form resembling a pop song’s; (2) a way of holding viewers in the film’s present; (3) invocations of allegory that help draw the viewer’s attention away from death. This chapter discusses the ways Moulin Rouge! establishes these three features: through multiple narrators, set design, depictions of love and romance, story, geography, form (including techniques of terracing, foreshadowing, and processual flow), tropes, performance and improvisation, song numbers, sound effects and scored music. Moulin Rouge!, with more than the eye and ear can take in, points to new forms of filmmaking.
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