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date: 30 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Reviewers of Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! (2001) often claimed to be bombarded, overloaded, or pathologically infected by the film’s rapid-fire imagery and eclectic cultural references. This chapter explores these visceral experiences of spectatorship, focusing on the film’s dance sequences. It argues that in these sequences, choreography and digital technology (including computer-generated imagery and editing) combine to allow spectators to physically experience on-screen bodies that are historically and culturally complex, distant, and “other.” Alison Landsberg’s notion of “prosthetic memory” (2004) suggests that films can physically connect spectators with pasts and memories they have not directly experienced. This chapter argues that Moulin Rouge! achieves this physical connection by tapping into, and updating, a bohemian tradition of cross-cultural and transhistorical self-performance.

Keywords: Moulin Rouge!, Baz Luhrmann, spectatorship, dance, film, choreography, digital technology, prosthetic memory, physical, bohemian

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