Baz Lurhmann’s Moulin Rouge! is, arguably, the most perverse work of art of the past decade. It’s morally reprehensible and irresponsible—art we can no longer afford. Luhrmann’s m.o.—that love digests all and is digested everywhere—renders most criticism irrelevant, and he goes to the max to make you swoon and scoff. Goo and schmaltz abound. Lurhmann’s genius, though, lies in his ability to ejaculate onto the audience. See his brilliantly orchestrated renderings of “Roxanne” and “Like a Virgin,” which addle with a sustained regurgitation of codes and reconfigurations. An impotent Ewan McGregor and a pre- Nose Nicole Kidman are colder than ever. The culture of love, Lurhmann seems to say, is as sane as the monkey house—one cannot help but check oneself in.
Bio: Ricardo Maldonado is a poet and translator. He works at the 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center in New York City. His translations from the Spanish of Rafael Acevedo appeared in Guernica’s April 2009 issue.