French Cancan review

Jean Renoir’s colourful take on Moulin Rouge

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Conceived as an authentically French riposte to John Huston’s Moulin Rouge, Jean Renoir’s 1954 film offers a romanticised take on the founding of Montmartre’s most famous nightspot.

Jean Gabin is impresario Danglard, juggling rich backers, bailiffs and various mistresses to achieve his ambition.

If the film lacks the social bite of Renoir’s pre-war work, it’s still a rich celebration of life and the director’s own birthplace.

It culminates in the Moulin’s opening night, a riotous explosion of dance and colour, all tinged with a bittersweet hint of nostalgia for a vanished belle époque world.