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How does the opening sequence of Moulin Rouge inform the audiences understanding of the film using the cinematic codes?

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Introduction

How does the opening sequence of Moulin Rouge inform the audiences understanding of the film using the cinematic codes? Moulin Rouge - Lhurman, 2001, US The opening sequence of Moulin Rouge is both informative and dramatic. It tells the story of Christian as he tells the story of the Moulin Rouge. The bright colours and music give the impression of joy throughout the film; this is enhanced through the use of erratic camera movements within the Moulin Rouge. In contrast the woeful voice of Toulouse can be heard singing the story over the top, informing the audience that the film will also include great tragedy and sorrow. It's lavish use of colour and mise-en-sc�ne work well with the intricate use of cinematography. Every shot is carefully planned to give the audience a preferred reading. The high angle shots of Christian make him seem weak and vulnerable. The slow paced editing also allows the audience to take in the surroundings, to gather thoughts and ask questions such as; why is he crying? From the camera angles used we feel sympathy for Christian when we learn of Satine's death. Consider the 'stage-setting' techniques used: the curtains of the stage are deep red suggesting to the audience themes of love, passion, desire and danger, stage setting for the story that is about to unfold. ...read more.

Middle

The audience is meant to feel disturbed. There is a vicar preaching "Turn away from this village of sin" connoting that something will go wrong within the village. It becomes apparent that the women are prostitutes from their codes of dress and make-up; this unsettles the audience even more as they are not sure what to expect. There is a shot of Christian's father saying "You'll end up wasting your money on the Can-Can dancers of the Moulin Rouge" another indication that trouble is ahead. The camera continues to travel symbolically passed Christian's father, as if ignoring him, and starts winding through the streets of Paris. The editing is speeded up until it turns the last corner, going away from the light and into dangerous and unknown territory. There is a man dressed in scruffy clothes and wearing a top-hat leant against a wall, smoking a cigarette. As he turns to face the camera only the whites of his eyes can be seen shocking the audience. The camera travels up past the Moulin Rouge and through a window in the adjacent building. The sound of wind can be heard as the curtains ruffle when the camera passes through them. ...read more.

Conclusion

The camera cuts to shots of the Moulin Rouge as it is now, in ruins. There is no colour as everything is covered in dust, this relates with the mood of Christian's voice. As he says "Moulin Rouge" the words appear on screen in spinning lights and bright colours. The end of the opening sequence reveals a shot of Christian sitting at the typewriter. "The woman that I loved is..." there is a pause in which Christian looks out of the window as if he is lost in thought, church bells can be heard in the distance, and the sound of Christian crying as he says the word "...dead". The camera cuts to a symbolic shot of the Moulin Rouge in ruins. The audience now knows that not only is Satine dead, everything to do with her past is dead, and Christian's life is also in ruins. This film is colourful, noisy and exotic. It reveals joy, tragedy, seediness, grandeur, poverty, wealth and ambition throughout. Decadence in the extreme. An entire gamut of human emotion and experience. The opening sequence successfully employs music and dramatic camera techniques to suggest to the audience the nature of this film, which is an assault on the senses from the outset. Grace French - 12LN Word count - 1,630 - 1 - ...read more.

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