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Directed by John Huston

United States 1952 119 mins.

Legendary Hollywood director John Huston moved beyond the confines of gritty America with Moulin Rouge, a biopic of artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec bathed in extravagant Technicolor and peppered with the can-can, France’s unofficial national dance. Around the turn of the century, taking a normal seat at the famed Moulin Rouge nightclub, Toulouse-Lautrec (played by Academy Award-winner José Ferrer) begins a sketch of the dancers working there—an inkling of his immense and off-kilter talent. Following the development of this remarkable artist over the next several years—while focusing on his poverty, loneliness, and occasional stabs at falling in love—Huston’s Hollywood version of this oft-told story manages to illuminate the processes of gentrification that marked both the Moulin Rouge’s creation and its subsequent enshrining into national lore as an unimpeachable institution. A deeply satisfying personal drama and fever dream of artistic creation, Moulin Rouge reminds us to look beyond the surface, lest we miss something monumental.

Genres: Biopic, Drama

Appears in: Paris 1900



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.