French Cancan

Director: Jean Renoir
Year Released: 1955
Rating: 2.5

Jubilant film about the creation of the Moulin Rouge and the lives of the people that started it, balancing its focus between the financial difficulties of its womanizing 'owner' (Jean Gabin) and one of his showgirls who he romances. It's more than ridiculous at times - like the riot that breaks out during the construction of the building and the other scene by the tree where two characters utter love banalities (also, let's not forget the man that tries to shoot himself in the head but misses!) - and forcibly rambunctious, but it does have its merits, like the spirited performance by Gabin (his final speech - essentially about all existing for the prosperity of the show - is a winner) and the fancy production. It's strange to see the films of this period for Renoir - Elena and Her Men, The Golden Coach and now this - in light of his earlier, more complex films - it's almost as if he completely gave up on social criticism and thematic depth in favor of Technicolor dreams and frivolous entertainment.