Baz Luhrmann is an Australian writer, director, and producer with projects spanning film, television, opera, theatre, music, and recording industries. He is regarded by many as a contemporary example of an auteur for his distinctly recognizable style and deep involvement in the writing, directing, design, and musical components of all his work. As a storyteller, he ‘s known as a pioneer of pop culture, fusing high and low culture with a unique sonic and cinematic language. He is the most commercially successful Australian director, with his films making up four of the top ten highest worldwide grossing Australian films ever.
During his studies at Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art, Luhrmann collaborated with other students to create Strictly Ballroom, a stage production drawn from his childhood experiences in the world of ballroom dancing. Luhrmann later adapted the show into his 1992 film debut, Strictly Ballroom (1992), which premiered at Cannes to a fifteen-minute standing ovation. Thus began the Red Curtain Trilogy, which would include the film Romeo + Juliet (1996) as well as the Oscar-winning Moulin Rouge! (2001). The latter also took home Golden Globes for Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Original Score. This first body of work was capped by Luhrmann’s 2002 Broadway adaptation of the opera La Bohème, recognized by two Tony Awards.
In 2004, Luhrmann collaborated once more with actress Nicole Kidman to create No. 5 The Film, a short film featuring the iconic Chanel perfume, as well as costumes designed by Karl Lagerfeld. With its success, the piece ushered in a new era of fashion advertising and became a landmark in the evolution of branded content. In 2008, Luhrmann worked with Kidman for a third time on the ambitious epic Australia (2008), the titular country’s second-highest grossing film of all time. He later adapted F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby into a 2013 film, The Great Gatsby (2013), which went on to become the director’s highest-grossing movie at over $353 million worldwide. The film was awarded with two Oscars and earned praise from Fitzgerald’s granddaughter, who noted that “Scott would have been proud.” The film’s soundtrack pulled the Roaring 20s into the 2000s, blending early 20th century jazz with contemporary hip-hop. The album, produced by Luhrmann, Anton Monsted, and Jay-Z, hit number one on the Billboard charts and garnered several Grammy nominations.
Most recently, Luhrmann created The Get Down (2016), a 2016 Netflix series and 1970s-set mythic saga of how the South Bronx, at the brink of bankruptcy, gave birth to hip-hop, punk and disco. In the interest of cultural authenticity and historical accuracy Luhrmann collaborated with some of the era’s most legendary artists, including [linl=nm0334739], Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Nas, Kurtis Blow, and Hector Xtravaganza. The show was a critical success, certified fresh by Rotten Tomatoes, and described by Variety as “a reclamation of, and a love letter to, a marginalized community of a certain era, told through the unreliable tools of romance, intuition, and lived experiences.”
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