An Open Letter to Baz Luhrmann

>> Tuesday, December 4, 2012

“Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


"Was there anything sane or normal at all, or was everything just magic and ghost stories?"―Stephanie Meyer, New Moon

Dear Mr. Baz,

I regret to say that I am not your biggest fan. I wish I could claim that title but, the truth is, I'm a fairly mediocre fan. I only own one of your movies (Moulin Rouge!) which I bought almost purely for its eye candy factor back before I cared about who actually made the movie or why. Even though I considered the movie my standing favorite, I didn't really like the ending when I first saw it, and I even forgot to take it with me when I moved out of my parents' house five years ago. I haven't seen Romeo+Juliet since my last babysitting gig in 1999 (and there's a good possibility I wasn't hired back because of the fact). I haven't even seen Australia, and I've only read a smattering of your quotes and interviews. (And I'm not Catholic, but I'm pretty sure this is what the confession box feels like.)

Wait. Don't go. This really is fan mail.

All that to say that I recently saw Strictly Ballroom on a whim and a half-remembered recommendation while perusing Netflix, and now sheepishly admit to abusing my subscription from watching it so many times. I fully intend to pony up and buy the DVD. And I exhorted my parents to return my Moulin Rouge!, which I got back promptly.

Let me just say thank you. Thank you for what you are trying to accomplish through the media of film. You'll never fully realize your vision, mind you, but you've gone further than the rest, and I'm glad for it.

Now, I know I'm being incredibly presumptuous in saying that, and run the risk of being just another boorish member of the peanut gallery, but I'll say it anyway, because I think I'm on to you. I think I know what you're trying to convey (at least in your Red Curtain Trilogy). With all the eccentric, vibrant, brassy, and beautiful elements you utilize to produce that heightened sense of reality in your films, it seems to me that you're trying to create something that's larger than life, because you know that the essence of life is larger than life. But, at the end of the day, something that is made from something is way less impressive than something that is made from nothing. And as the glories of Heaven and Earth were made out of nothing, your films are going to have to settle there in the backseat. But really, that's not a bad place to be when you look at it that way.

What I did read about you was that you said you were tired of making boy-meets-girl movies and wanted to move on to bigger projects, but can I just say that you are so good at making good old love stories? And if one compliment from yours truly isn't enough to turn your cinematic boat around, may I also suggest that the Love Story is so epically huge, not in a box office sort of way, but in its very nature; that you'll never be able to tap the depths of its source, therefore supplying an endless, happy spring of creativity? And along the lines of what C. S. Lewis said, however you slice and dice your movies, when you tell the truth, you'll most likely be completely brilliant. Which you are.

Thank you for these little jewels of cinematic joy that you've created. They put a spring in my step and a smile on my face when I think about them. Thank you for the slogan on your Bazmark Inq coat-of-arms. Most of all, thank you for telling the truth...whilst utilizing unholy amounts of sequins, feathers and inappropriate burstings-out of song and dance.

God bless you!
~Sarah Vaughan

"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear..."
―1 John 4:18


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