French Cancan (1954)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB.5

France/Italy, 1954Franco London Films, Jolly Film.  Idea by , adaptation and dialogue by Jean Renoir.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .

Exuberant musical by the always reliable Jean Renoir that circumnavigates the history of the most famous nightclub in Paris history, Moulin Rouge.   plays the entrepreneur who risks everything (and nearly loses it all) to open the club, courting trouble when he abandons his current lover () in favour of a young dancer () who inspires his new love of the titular dance. The personal, professional and political are seamlessly weaved in a surprisingly lightweight but wholly enjoyable film that is blistering with colour and capped by a fantastically energetic dance. Look for a cameo by  and listen for the wonderful song ‘Complainte de la Butte’, which was lifted by Baz Luhrmann for his popular 2001 anachronism about the famous dance hall.

The Criterion Collection:  #243

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