Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge is one of those movies audiences either love or hate (enough to walk out of the theater when it first premiered). I happen to be a big fan of the movie and even own a copy on DVD. As a musical, I think it’s superior to Weber’s The Phantom of the Opera both in plot (better love story), music (Moulin includes songs from such artists as Elton John, Madonna and Sting) and cast (singing-his-heart-out Ewan McGregor as Christian, an aspiring writer who moves to hotel room in Paris near the Moulin Rouge and falls in with a group of bohemian revolutionaries led by John Leguizamo as a manic, sawed-off Toulouse Lautrec, as well as falls in love for the first time with the “sparkling diamond” of the Moulin Rouge, the courtesan-showgirl, Satine, portrayed by Nicole Kidman, whose dream is to be a real actress at almost any cost).
One of the songs performed is “The Children of the Revolution.” Their motto: Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and above all, Love. Watching the movie again on DVD the other night, it suddenly occurred to me that these are the major themes addressed by the poets in the past and are now found sorely lacking in much of what passes for modern poetry today. Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love–these are the themes of the poems I love to read and love to write. To the poets of the bohemian revolution, I raise an imaginery glass of absinthe and salute you!