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Excerpt from: 'Moulin Rouge': An Eyeful, an Earful, Anachronism
NY Times review
<snip> In telling the story, Mr. Luhrmann pilfers music and movies like a
fearless home invader; he kicks the door down and takes what he wants right
off the table. The movie vaults from "La Bohème" to "La Traviata" to
"Camille" to "Cabaret."
It's not a novel idea to use anachronism as an anchor for musical numbers;
"A Knight's Tale," which opened last week, employs the same tactic. But it
has never been done as unremittingly as it is here. In one number, Patti
LaBelle's sweaty "Lady Marmalade" morphs into the snarling grunge
melancholy of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," a combination that would
be lost on even D.J. Qbert and the Columbia Record Club.
 When the number works, as when Mr. Broadbent gives a new snap of the
suspenders to Madonna's "Like a Virgin," it can be invigorating. But these
songs became part of the cultural canvas because they distilled a single
gesture, which is undeniably the true essence of pop. The lines "Oh, well,
whatever, never mind" (from "Smells Like Teen Spirit") or "Voulez-vous
coucher avec moi ce soir?" (from "Lady Marmalade") are given air in those
original songs. Hijacked from their moorings, they float aimlessly.  etc.

Gene Walz
Film Studies
U of MB

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