Film & Media Studies Theory

Whitman College – FMS 387

The Questioning Fiction

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As we see that the movie of Moulin Rouge is in actuality the visual representation of the story of Moulin Rouge, it becomes postmodern. It is postmodern fiction. Moulin Rouge “raises questions about the very status of reality and the world (Malpas 24).” The viewers are transformed into an alternative universe, where love is seen to conquer all, but at the same time, asks the viewer to question this very society and ideology behind the thought.

During the song that is sung in the opening scene, it describes a man who traveled from far away to reach Paris. He is depicted as an unwashed man, who, as we know, enters the world of Moulin Rouge, the postmodernist fiction of “what happens … when boundaries between worlds are violated (Malpas 24)?”  The viewer sees what chaos ensues when two different worlds collide. The viewer has “questions about what sort of world is being created at each moment” of the film (Malpas 24). Is the world of Moulin Rouge a world where the characters believe that “all you need is love,” or the danger that is present with this outlook on life?

Since Moulin Rouge is also in the realm of “historical metafiction,” since we are to know that this is the story of the author’s life. But it also questions what is reality. The viewers are not to know if the author is a reliable narrator, it blurs the lines between “fiction, reality, and truth (Malpas 26).” With the switches between past and present, the film incorporates the past, but the viewers are left with little understanding. The world of Moulin Rouge is confusing and since the past is questionable about if it is fact or fiction, this is a result from the visual of Christian writing the scenes and dialogue.

The viewer will never know the truth behind the story; it will always question their ideas of the world and the ideology of love. The use of popular music adds to this confusion, since there are “intertexts to recognize” within the film as a whole (Malpas 26).

Basically the Disney World for history buffs.


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