PALEY CENTER FOR MEDIA, THE: INSIDE MEDIA: MUSICAL THEATRE ON FILM: A MASTER CLASS WITH BAZ LUHRMANN {LONG VERSION}

Summary

One in a series of evenings and special screenings presented as part of The Paley Center for Media’s Inside Media series. Held at the Paley Center in New York, this evening honors the work of director Baz Luhrmann, known for his inventive and visually elaborate films.

Rebecca Paller (associate curator, The Paley Center for Media) offers opening remarks before bringing moderator Logan Hill (film critic, New York Magazine) to the stage. He introduces a clip package of Luhrmann's works, which includes “Strictly Ballroom” (1992); “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet” (1996); “Moulin Rouge!” (2001); “Australia” (2008); his New York theatre production of “La Bohème” (2003); and “N° 5 the Film,” a short film/commercial for Chanel No. 5 perfume.

After Luhrmann takes the stage, he and Hill discuss topics which include: Luhrmann's youth in a small Australian town; his early exposure and inspiration by the Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera “Jesus Christ Superstar”; meeting director Sam Shepard, who became Luhrmann's mentor; learning the “rhythm” of certain shots, including wide angles versus close-ups; the script as a “map” for the filmmaker; the energy of dance scenes and techniques for framing shots; his collaboration with choreographer John “Cha-Cha” O’Connell; the “Red Curtain Trilogy” -- Luhrmann's three films with a “central myth” and specifics rules, consisting of “Ballroom,” “Romeo” and “Moulin"; his association with the band AC/DC; the process of making “Ballroom” and being told that such dancing would never become popular in the United States; negative early reviews of "Ballroom," followed by its success at the Cannes film festival; the deliberately “heightened” nature of the films; following his “instinct to stay" on his own road; the process of making “Romeo” with then-unknown Leonardo DiCaprio; the process of getting studio funding for "Romeo"; and his urging of filmmakers not to “wait for permission” to make their pictures.

Questions from the audience then lead to a discussion of the following topics: a “controversial” shot in “Romeo,” inspired by society’s habit of “fast-forwarding” through uninteresting things; changing "the language of films" in relation to the audience’s response; comparisons of “Ballroom” to classic musicals like “Top Hat”; his attempt to “reinvent the musical” via “Moulin Rouge!”; the intergration of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice in “Moulin Rouge!”; a “Saturday Night Live” parody of "Moulin" and “derision” from critics; his desire to challenge the audience and make “participatory theater” movies; Luhrmann's use of fast editing; original plans to use The Rolling Stones’ song “Under My Thumb” in a "Moulin Rouge!" scene; Luhrmann’s involvement in choosing the songs for his films; his work with music supervisor Anton Monsted; how Elton John helped Luhrmann to secure the rights to various songs' inclusion in "Moulin"; the “creative adventure” of producing Puccini’s “La Bohème” for the stage; his childhood experiences with opera; and how he overcame doubters' sentiments before “La Bohème” proved a success.

Details

  • NETWORK:
  • DATE: September 30, 2010 7:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:18:56
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 103888
  • GENRE: Seminars
  • SUBJECT HEADING:
  • SERIES RUN:
  • COMMERCIALS:

CREDITS

    • Rebecca Paller … Host
    • Logan Hill … Moderator
    • Baz Luhrmann … Guest
    • AC/DC
    • Leonardo DiCaprio
    • Elton John
    • Anton Monsted
    • John "Cha-Cha" O'Connell
    • Giacomo Puccini
    • Rolling Stones,The
    • Sam Shepard
    • Andrew Lloyd Webber