Baz Luhrmann • Australian director, screenwriter, and producer best known for The Red Curtain Trilogy (Strictly Ballroom, William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, andMoulin Rouge!)
Red Curtain Cinema • Red curtain cinema: theatricalised, participatory cinema form set in a heightened world. Three rules/conventions governing this genre. • First Rule: the story needs to be set in a heightened creative world, peopled by larger-than-life characters. • Second Rule: the story should be based on a recognizable story shape. (example: David and Goliath, Fairy Tale, etc.) • Third Rule: red curtain cinema is also audience participation cinema. For Luhrmann, the audience needs to be aware that what they are watching is not meant to be real.
A combination of Genres • BazLuhrmann defines Strictly Ballroom as red curtain cinema, but it also draws from several traditions in film and theatre: slapstick elements of silent film; commedia dellarte; even mockumentary. • It can be described as a combination of the following genres: a romantic comedy, a fairy tale, a dance musical, a satire, and finally an example of kitsch comedy. • BazLuhrmann uses these conventions in Strictly Ballroom, but he also parodies them. • The film self-consciously subverts our expectations of the backstage musical, so that far from being a celebration of the show business dance community as films like Top Hat (1935), the all-powerful Dance Federation is represented as the enemy in Strictly Ballroom. • Mockumentary interviews in the opening sequence provide another example of the film's parodying of conventions.
For future reference: • Character Names: • Scott Hastings: Hero • Fran: Heroine • Barry Fife: Villain • Doug Hastings: Scott’s Father • Shirley Hastings: Scott’s Mother • Liz Holt: Scott’s first dance partner • Les: Co-owner of the studio; • Scott’s mom’s former dance partner • Rico: Fran’s Dad • YaYa: Fran’s Grandmother • Ken Railings: Champion dancer • Tina Sparkle: Champion dancer