2016 has been a mixed bag. The highs were very high (Getting married! Seeing Radiohead from the front row!) and the lows have been..pretty low (health issues, job issues, the election blues…). There have been more of them than I’d like to think about.
I watched Moulin Rouge! recently and I think it’s a great film to end this year on. The characters share the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It’s also a lovely way to honor one of the (too many) artists we lost this year, David Bowie.
Directed by Baz Luhrmann, Moulin Rouge! is a story of truth, beauty, freedom and love. In the late 1800s, a poor poet (Ewan McGregor) moves to bohemian Paris and falls in love with a courtesan (Nicole Kidman). They must hide their love from a jealous duke, who funds their new play at the infamous Moulin Rouge night club.
I saw this film the first time when it was originally released. Similar to experiencing Luhrmann’s previous film Romeo + Juliet, I watched in awe as this creative, sensory feast unveiled before me. My heart jumped in delight with the very first frame: a conductor on-screen setting the mood and opening curtains for the studio logo. Until seeing R+J and Moulin Rouge!, I had never seen a film cut so quickly (I wasn’t as well versed in action films or Michael Bay at the time). The crosscutting as the Moulin Rouge club is first introduced and, later, the “El Tango de Roxanne” scenes are particular highlights and favorites. I remember a wave of excitement each time a new pop song weaved into a scene. Many viewings later and I still singing along loudly to this film (and know most of it by heart from my endless days of listening to the soundtrack). If you’ve had a rollercoast of a year like me, then I would recommend coming back to Moulin Rouge!, singing along and let the feelings flow. (If you live in Seattle, then you should hang out with the good folks at SIFF and do it up right on New Years Eve!)
While watching this dazzling musical, I suggest making yourself a stiff and spectacular Sazerac. The Sazerac is a well-known drink in New Orleans (and you can read more about the history on the Esquire link below). Absinthe is the fun addition to this cocktail and it, of course, makes an appearance in Moulin Rouge! as the poet and his bohemian friends celebrate with the green fairy.
What do you remember feeling when you first saw a Baz Luhrmann film? What’s your favorite scene in Moulin Rouge!?
Cheers to a new year!
2017, I’m ready for you.
Recipe from Esquire
1 Sugar Cube
2 1/2 oz. (GOOD) rye whisky
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash Angostura Bitters
- In an Old-Fashioned glass (not a mixing glass; it’s part of the ritual), muddle a sugar cube with a few drops of water.
- Add several small ice cubes and the rye whiskey, the Peychaud’s bitters, and the Angostura bitters.
- Stir well and strain into a second, chilled, Old-Fashioned glass in which you have rolled around a few drops of absinthe until its inside is thoroughly coated, pouring off the excess.
- Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.