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Saturday, May 30, 2015

French Cancan (1954)

In 1890s Paris, a theatrical entrepreneur (Jean Gabin) decides to open a music hall in Montmartre which, while featuring other musical acts, will have Cancan dancers at the core of his revue. He will call his music hall the Moulin Rouge. Directed by the great Jean Renoir, this rambunctious musical is a pure delight. Beautifully shot by Michel Kelber in candy colored pastels, the film is a homage to both the Impressionist painters of the period as well as the music hall artists of late 19th century Paris. The plot itself is a whisper of a thing, a necessary device to move the images along. Montmartre, the Moulin Rouge and the Cancan have attracted film makers more than once: John Huston's MOULIN ROUGE, Baz Luhrmann's MOULIN ROUGE! and the 1960 Cole Porter musical CAN-CAN to name just three. But Renoir's images and affection for the period brings a perceived authenticity to the proceedings that the other films lacked. With Maria Felix, Francoise Arnoul, Giani Esposito, Philippe Clay and Edith Piaf.

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