I've observed a few things while watching Moulin Rouge! that point to a rather old setting, e.g. the lamp beside Christian and also that Christian is using an old typewriter.

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However, in the movie, I can hear modern music, e.g. the Indian song Chamma Chamma from the 1998 movie China Gate is used during the Evil Maharaja stage play.

I was confused with the timeline: an old lamp, an old typewriter, and a 1998 movie song.

In what year is the action of Moulin Rouge! taking place and what explains those contradictions?


1 Answer 1


The action of Moulin Rouge! takes place in 1899:

In the year 1900, a British writer suffering from depression named Christian (Ewan McGregor) begins writing on his typewriter (...). He explains how one year earlier, he moved to the Montmartre district of Paris to become a writer among members of the area's Bohemian movement.

Regarding the usage of contemporary music:

In the liner notes to the film's Special Edition DVD, Luhrmann writes that "[the] whole stylistic premise has been to decode what the Moulin Rouge was to the audiences of 1899 and express that same thrill and excitement in a way to which contemporary movie-goers can relate." With that in mind, the film takes well-known popular music, mostly drawn from the MTV Generation, and anachronizes it into a tale set in a turn-of-the-century Paris cabaret.

  • how people in 1899 take 1998 song then ? Aug 20, 2016 at 3:53
  • @user40246 I'm not sure what do you mean. Could you elaborate on that? Aug 22, 2016 at 11:05

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