I chose Baz Luhrmann to be the first selected director of milk.’s Spotlight Series after re-watching his wonderful and pioneering Romeo and Juliet.
Born in 1962 in Sydney, Australia, Mark Anthony ‘Baz’ Luhrmann has built an impressive career as the writer and director of a diverse range of material since his graduation from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1983. As a director, Baz is well recognised and respected for his work within the Red Curtain Trilogy, namely the BAFTA award winning Romeo and Juliet, Moulin Rouge! and Strictly Ballroom, and more recently, The Great Gatsby (2014).
Bazmark Films Co. (Luhrmann’s production company) was founded in 2008 and operates with the motto ‘A Life Lived in Fear is Life Half Lived’. A truly apt motto when you consider that Luhrmann’s work is known for pushing boundaries, being unique and breaking the mould of what a film should be.
One of his biggest hits, Moulin Rouge! (2001) has been described as a ‘feast for the senses’ by BBC Film. Moulin Rouge! brings a wider audience to the jukebox musical through its use of previously released songs from popular artists for the score. Luhrmann also used this technique in other films, including The Great Gatsby. There are many critics who aren’t huge fans, like YouTube based Nostalgia Critic who famously slammed the film. Even so, it takes talent to seamlessly combine the work of artists like Nirvana and Madonna into films that are set many years before such songs were written.
Some of Luhrmann’s less recognisable works are his short films: The Exotic Body and The Surreal Body. The Exotic Body an advert focused on fashion for Vogue and the The Surreal Body, created for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, demonstrates Luhrmann’s ability to successfully merge high-quality cinematography with advertisement.
These short films contain a cast of only two people who discuss different approaches and ideas in fashion design. These pieces highlight the diversity of Luhrmann’s work; they are quieter than his big budget musical extravaganzas, but are nevertheless engaging.
Luhrmann is a talented director whose ability to put an exciting modern twist on classic films is unprecedented. Let us know what you think of the diverse, artistic and flawless work of Baz @milkbathspa