<I>Moulin Rouge</I> Director Shares Experiences On DVD14 Dec, 2001 By: Anne Sherber
Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrman loves DVD.
"It's a very powerful medium of its own," says Luhrman. "It doesn't replace the theatrical experience. I liken it to deepening a relationship with a person."
Luhrman, who says he discovered the format about a year ago, had that deepening relationship in mind when he began assembling elements for the two-disk DVD edition of Moulin Rouge
"I didn't want [this DVD] to be one in which the studio dumps a whole lot of ‘B' roll and mainly manufactured materials that sell movies," says Luhrman. "I wanted to take the risk of letting the audience into our experience, our world, our five year, somewhat painful journey of trying to reinvent the musical."
To that end, Luhrman has created a two-disk DVD that strips bare the mysteries of moviemaking. In addition to the theatrical film, the first disk includes two audio tracks of filmmaker commentary, an audio track for the visually impaired and a "behind the red velvet curtain" version of the film which enables viewers to see how the film's images and effects were constructed.
The second disk includes multiple featurettes, including a "dance gallery" which enables viewers to see uncut choreography sequences from various camera angles, multiple extended scenes, more than 10 Easter eggs, two music videos, two theatrical trailers and a gallery of still photography from the set of the film.
Luhrman hasn't always been so enthusiastic about the packaged versions of his films. "The pan-and-scan version of Strictly Ballroom was horrible," he says.
As a consequence, the director has decided to release DVD editions of all his films. "I've just recently completed the very laborious task of doing DVD for [Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge ] and that will come out as a box set called the Red Curtain Trilogy in March."
Luhrman says that, in addition to Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet and the two Moulin Rouge discs, the boxed set will include what he mischievously calls "the mysterious fifth disk."
"I talk to the camera and I tell the story that has been this 10-year journey," says Luhrman. "And as I talk, key words flash on the screen. So if I say that while I made the play of Strictly Ballroom, I drew from my early life as a ballroom dancer, the words 'ballroom dancer' will flash up and you click that and you'll see super 8 of me ballroom dancing or you might see stills or reviews and then you can go to another level. But you choose whether you want to spend
10 minutes with Craig Pearce, my [Moulin Rouge] cowriter, or two hours. There's about three hours of material on the fifth disk, all specially packaged."