Can Can Diaries (2015) Movie Script

(film reel clicks)
(drum banging)
(speaking French)
- [Translator] Cabaret
always attracted me,
and I always thought
about the Moulin Rouge.
(drum banging)
- [Translator] As a dancer,
you dream of dancing at the Moulin Rouge.
- [Translator] Sometimes I
feel troubled by the thought
that one day I won't be
able to dance anymore.
(drum banging)
- I can audition up to
500 girls, 500, 600 girls
in a year and only come home
with five, maximum 10, 12.
(jazz music)
- [Narrator] Ladies and
gentlemen, let us take you
on a journey through a parallel universe,
somewhere between reality and imagination.
Let's wander through the
history and present times
of the most famous revue
theater of all times,
and take a look at the secret
world behind the curtains
of this most legendary of all cabarets.
(drum banging)
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to
the heart of the Moulin Rouge.
(drum banging)
- The Moulin Rouge started
and the cancan started
as a shout, when they shout, they shout.
A scream for a little bit more
freedom and liberty for women.
("Cancan Music" by Offenbach)
(speaking French)
- [Translator] In the year 1889,
and even until 1925, women had no say.
Had to squeeze themselves
in much too tight dresses,
weren't allowed to drive
a car or smoke in public.
There was no tolerance towards women.
Going out was something for rich men,
accompanied by women in evening
gowns and lots of jewelry.
In contrast to this were the poor,
the factory workers, the
bakers and washerwomen.
These two worlds rarely ever met.
It was the high society
from Boulogne and Orleans
with their tailcoats and top hats who went
to the Moulin Rouge to have a good time.
("Cancan Music" by Offenbach)
La Goulue, the greedy one's,
real name was Louise Weber.
She was an ordinary girl
who went out at Montmartre,
drank a lot and danced
the cancan at the Segale.
She was called Goulue because
she liked to drink a lot.
One evening she was discovered
at the Segale by Joseph Oller.
He convinced her to show her
cancan at the Moulin Rouge,
and it became a huge success.
- [Translator] It was always
my dream to be like the Goulue,
even though it was a completely different
dancing style back then.
- [Translator] Joseph
Oller, the founder of
the Moulin Rouge, decided
that this cancan should become
the official dance of his establishment.
People hadn't seen
anything like that before,
girls throwing their legs in the air
and showing themselves to
the audience half-naked.
The men were absolutely mesmerized.
- They wanted to go out and
prove their independence,
and the cancan was a way of doing that,
of showing their independence,
that they could do this,
and show their ankles if they wanted to.
- [Translator] The men
gathered around the stage.
They wanted to be as close
as possible to the dancers.
From one day to the next, this
dance became very popular.
Toulouse-Lautrec put it on canvas,
the bourgeoisie discovered the place.
It gave men the opportunity to see women
in a never before seen laxity.
And for the women, it was a way
of expressing their freedom.
They were even allowed to touch the men,
which was considered
inappropriate elsewhere.
(women cheering)
(cabaret music playing)
From 1925, the general public discovered
the revues of the golden '20s.
From then on, not only
the Parisians and people
from the suburbs came, tourists
came from other countries
like the United States or Great Britain.
They visited the Moulin
Rouge that had become
a symbol for Paris, the City of Lights.
- The difference with the cancan is
it's improved technically.
- [Translator] The cancan
is difficult to dance.
You need to train for it almost
like a professional athlete.
It requires a lot of physical fitness.
- [Translator] It's quite demanding
in regard to muscular power.
It requires a lot of body control.
If you don't have that, you can easily
pull your muscles with the cancan.
- [Translator] Despite my experience,
I had to train three months for it.
Running, dancing, and a strict diet.
(sultry instrumental music)
- The legs are higher, it's more rigid,
it's built up over the years.
("Cancan Music" by Offenbach)
- [Translator] One thing is crucial,
always do a warmup, it
puts a strain on your body.
You need to warm up properly if you want
to keep up doing it for a
long time without injury.
Warmup is the biggest part of
the work as a cancan dancer.
They spend 30 seconds
to one minute on stage,
but warmup time before that
is one hour, with every show.
- The figures, as such, that
were quite historically-based
around political skits, you
know, the cathedral, hmm,
and wink at the church, the pour dame,
a wink at the military.
There's lots of little, it's
almost like a comic script.
("Cancan Music" by Offenbach)
And maybe a little bit like
today, on a Friday night
they would go out, and create mayhem.
- The cathedral, and we do it together,
and we're right at the front.
- Yeah, everybody gets
to do it with two hands,
but we have to just do it with one hand.
- [Translator] As we
always cross each other
during the dance rounds, we're never
really absolutely safe from injury.
- And so you're trying
to keep something that's
technically good and
aesthetically harmonious,
while still trying to keep
that sense of freedom,
and riot, and total letting go.
("Cancan Music" by Offenbach)
(audience cheering and applauding)
(cabaret style music)
(speaking French)
- [Translator] Lisette,
my dear friend, welcome.
- [Narrator] It's a
reunion with one of the
Moulin Rouge's biggest
stars, Lisette Malidor.
Thierry used to be her stage
partner back in the day.
Today, he's the director, and responsible
for the whole stage program.
- [Translator] Do you remember Brazil?
You had an amazing dress and we danced
in rather edged movements,
to the left, to the right,
and then you climbed on my shoulders.
- [Translator] Such small shoulders.
(cabaret style music)
And all the musicians were up there.
- [Translator] 17
musicians and a conductor.
- [Translator] There
was another orchestra,
as well, that was there to motivate
the audience to dance during dinner.
They all danced, I
remember that very well.
We sat in the dressing
room, put on our makeup,
and heard the music and
the clanking of the plates.
It was really impressive, and
there was that water basin.
- [Translator] The basin is
under here, it's still there.
- [Translator] Oh, it is?
- [Translator] It was and still is.
- [Translator] But this is new, right?
- [Translator] These two
platforms, yes, they're new.
- Ah, Moulin Rouge.
- [Narrator] As a young
woman, Lisette worked
at a small hairdressers in la rue Milton.
In the evenings, she sold
bills at the Casino du Paris,
where she was discovered for the stage
by a famous choreographer in 1970.
Six years later, she was the
star of the Moulin Rouge.
- [Translator] 1976, Follement.
It was the premier of the new
revue at the Moulin Rouge.
Lisette Malidor was the opening act.
The Moulin Rouge is one of the biggest
commercial consumers of champagne,
240,000 bottles per
year, that was in 1976.
But today?
I never drank much, I had to be sensible.
- [Translator] You're naked
here, do you remember?
- [Translator] Well, not really naked.
We covered the crucial parts!
- [Translator] Covered,
okay, but you wore no string
and no bra, everything's
hidden under the rhinestone.
And those amazing tight boots,
it was the perfect costume for you.
- [Translator] This was
the bill for Follement.
All the managers are listed.
Jackie Cherico, Doris Haug.
(speaking French)
People called me the new Josephine Baker.
- [Translator] Lisette used
to work at the greatest
vaudeville theaters in Paris.
She had this special radiance,
something exotic and wild
that worked wonderfully on stage.
Roland Petit discovered her and told her
get on that stage immediately.
I want you to be there.
(cabaret style music)
- [Translator] It's true, it was difficult
to switch from vaudeville to theater.
I then understood that there was some sort
of cultural racism.
People knew me from vaudeville and
they expected me to stay there.
- [Translator] You wanted
to destroy this image.
First you wanted the
girl with the feathers
going ole ole ole and then
you talked about negritude,
quoting black writers.
That required a lot of courage.
Nobody else did something like this.
- [Translator] It's not a natural thing
to find your place if you're different.
At the vaudeville theater,
I somehow could forget
this difference as I
could laugh, show my body.
I was allowed to be looked at, be desired.
- [Translator] Lisette
Malidor fits very well
in the image of the Moulin Rouge.
When she entered the place,
people wouldn't recognize her.
She got to her dressing
room, put on her makeup,
her dress and the rhinestone and feathers
and became a star when she got on stage.
She wore the star's costume.
The audience was mesmerized
once the show started.
After the show, she left the
theater through the back door
and nobody recognized her in the streets.
People think she's just
an ordinary Black woman,
nobody would think that
she's a Moulin Rouge dancer.
No matter how great or
majestic she may be.
- [Translator] It was
wonderful to experience that
because it let me forget
my own past for some time.
For a while it helped me
forget that I'm Black.
(instrumental music)
- [Narrator] Dancers from
all over the world dream
of a career on the stage
of the Moulin Rouge,
but it will remain a
dream for most of them.
- Today, everybody will start
arriving and then we have
to try and control where they go.
We're expecting about 80
people, which is a large number.
This means this time we can't actually
do the audition in the rehearsal room.
We're going to have to start onstage.
Okay, what I'll do is there's less boys,
as always, unfortunately.
I'm just gonna start over here.
Joe's going to staple you.
Nice to meet you, Bianca.
Hi, there.
It might be easier if you
lot come over here for Joe.
Whoo, the Sydney Showboat.
- [Dancer] Yeah.
- Gosh, you've come a long way.
And it will show them some choreography.
They will come across the
floor doing the choreography.
That will give me the first look.
We try to relax everybody.
- Pas de bourre, pas
de bourre, en turnout.
You move forward on the
turning pas de bourre.
Soutenu with the arms up.
Jump, drop.
It goes seven and eight.
Yeah, now with me.
Just mark it where you are.
Five, six, seven, eight.
And one and two, three, and four,
five, six, up, seven and eight.
Yes or no?
- [Translator] As a young
dancer you have the choice
between some shabby ballet and opera.
And the Moulin Rouge is
somewhere in between.
If you come from Australia
or some other place
at the end of the world
and are offered the chance
to dance at the Moulin Rouge
in Paris, the City of Lights,
you won't hesitate for a second.
- You start to get the feel
by the way people stand,
by the way they look and they
listen to the choreography,
and by the way they behave
during the audition,
how they follow instructions.
Already you can see, you
can get a feel for them.
The way they smile, the way they laugh.
(Don't Tell 'Em by Jeremih)
- [Dancer] I'll tip you off, don't worry.
Okay, here you go, ready?
- And then I will start thinning out.
(pop music)
(choreographer giving instruction)
- [Choreographer] Five,
six, seven, eight, one.
- Gail.
- [Natalie] Natalie Bukra.
- [Victoria] Victoria Bell.
- Victoria Bell, 'cause's
there's two Victoria's today
as we have a feast tonight.
Basically, I'm looking for
dancers that can learn fast.
I will be looking for very
good figure and long legs
to look good in the costumes.
And then I'll be looking at the faces.
Face, very, very important.
So I'll be looking for height, of course.
Preferably one meter, 75 for the girls
and one meter, 85 for the boys.
- [Translator] Why do you choose to dance
at the Moulin Rouge instead of a ballet?
It's all a question of body height.
Once you're bigger than one meter, 70
you have no chance at the ballet
so you try your luck at the Moulin Rouge.
- Janet has got a lot of hair, ha!
(speaking French)
- [Rick] Name?
- Tanya.
- [Janet] Tanya.
- Tatiana.
- [Janet] Tatiana.
(speaking French)
You watching the heels there, Rick?
- [Rick] Yeah.
- Hang on a minute, I've got, oh.
Okay, 173.
It's only rough.
- [Translator] That's mean.
- [Janet] 169 and a half.
- [Translator] 69.
(dancers laughing)
- You realize that, as I
audition around the world,
if people are better than
you or if there is somebody
like you I will always
choose the taller girl, okay?
So your chances of actually
being offered a job
are very much diminished now.
- Have you heard of like
what they do in Paris
with the tall dancers, 'cause being like
five-eleven, six foot.
- I knew that they loved tall girls and
because I'm five-foot-eleven I thought
it'd be a good idea to audition.
- So I haven't always
thought I wanted to do it
'cause I went to a ballet school
so I thought I might do ballet first.
- And then I was doing
gymnastic until my 14 years old,
and then at 14 years old I was too tall
to continue the gymnastic.
(upbeat dance music)
- 20 minutes, well, you
let 'em go to the toilet
and have a drink of water.
- [Rick] Okay.
- Anybody need the bathroom?
- Well, I auditioned last year in July,
and I had to do two auditions because
there were two around where I lived.
And the first one they told me
I was too short to come here.
And then I did one I
think three days later
and I was the right height
so must have grown overnight.
(speaking French)
- [Translator] It's very
stressful as you need
to shine among hundreds of other girls.
You need to show your motivation.
- [Translator] I had no training,
my job was selling programs in the hall
and I was clueless what
to do when someone came
to me and said I'd like
to see you onstage,
let's find out if you can move.
And I was very clumsy and felt
like a little animal when I got onstage.
I just heard Roland Petit say,
"Oh boy, what shall we do with her?"
- [Translator] I'll never
forget how it started with me.
I spent the night in a
hotel near Gare de Lyon
and got up very early as
I hadn't slept a minute.
And as I didn't bring a
dress I went to some shop,
a clothing store.
I bought some clothes,
went to the audition,
and got my contract.
(upbeat pop music)
- Cha cha!
I got the matches,
you got the gasoline
Light up the floor
like it's Billie Jean
The way we're movin'
by the end of the song
They're gonna have to
pull the fire, fire alarm
- There were some good
elements, some not so good.
So I was very happy at the end.
Had a lotta kisses, very sweaty kisses,
so I'm happy that they
all enjoyed themselves.
I think that was great.
(soft instrumental music)
- [Narrator] Every day, every evening,
each year, the magic awakens.
Everything is spot on.
Routine becomes a ritual and movements
are turned into choreography.
More than 80 male and female
artists prepare for their show.
120 people will provide
sustenance for the 900 guests.
The show is sold out, almost as always.
There are two shows per
day and the 60 dancers,
the so-called Doriss Girls,
are the main attraction of the program.
Their name comes from
German native, Doris Haug,
who founded this cancan troupe in 1957
and helped put the Moulin
Rouge back on the map
with her choreographies and shows.
In 2014, she died at the age of 87,
but her Doriss Girls keep
on dancing day by day.
(dancers and staff chattering backstage)
(dancer speaking foreign language)
(cabaret music)
- [Translator] The first
time always feels strange.
(bell dings)
(speaking French)
I used to be a solo dancer for cancan
and I did this job for four
years at the Moulin Rouge,
but then the girl who did the
snake show left and asked me
if I wouldn't want to try it,
possibly take over the act.
(dramatic instrumental music)
It's strange to jump in
a pool full of snakes,
but in front of an audience
with all the rhinestone
and the light, you tend to forget the risk
even though it's not really dangerous.
(dramatic instrumental music)
It may sound funny, but they know me.
There are some snakes
that become very calm
when I work with them.
If I'm not there, due to
vacation, for example,
they're much more busy and nervous.
There are 15 snakes in total
and they're changed for the evening shows.
It's like a rotation.
Some are really lovable and you build
up a relationship with them.
(audience cheering and applauding)
When I jump in, they're
already in the pool,
but when the pool closes I
take them out of the water
and give them to the animal handler.
They can't stay in the water the
whole time and neither can I.
(staff chattering in French)
- [Translator] Everything okay?
- [Translator] Yes, how about you?
- [Translator] Everything's fine.
- [Translator] Got it?
- [Translator] Yes.
- [Translator] The animals can feel if
you're afraid so it's better not to be.
- [Translator] Everything's
perfectly organized.
The animal handlers arrive
shortly before the show starts,
bring the animals in,
and take them away again.
The snakes are treated like stars.
Animals at the Moulin Rouge
can consider themselves lucky.
I can imagine that they
talk among each other
if there are still some vacancies.
There should be auditions for
them, like for the dancers.
(cabaret music)
- [Translator] When I worked as a dancer,
we had two big horses that got onstage.
Today it's six, but they're small ponies.
They have their space here
before and after their show.
I believe they recognize us.
I'm not sure, as I've never asked them,
but every evening we
say hello to each other.
(gowns rustling)
- [Narrator] Times change, the costumes,
the program, the music.
Everything evolved
during the past decades,
but still, there is
always a hint of nostalgia
inside the Moulin Rouge,
all around the stage.
Back there is also the space
where the approximately
1000 hand-sewn costumes for
all the shows are stored.
It's a colorful realm of
feathers, rhinestone, and sequins.
- [Translator] How are you?
- [Translator] Good, thanks.
- [Translator] Great to see you
again, did you bring photos?
- [Translator] Yes, photos from back
when I started working here.
This is from my early beginnings in 1965.
- [Translator] Frenizille.
- [Translator] You really remember that?
I can't recall all the names.
- [Translator] I'm sure it
was Frenizille, when was this?
Do you remember the choreography?
- [Translator] Sure, the small ones.
- [Translator] The diagonal.
- [Translator] We had to tilt our heads,
but it was really difficult
as we had our hats on
and we couldn't really
do it because the hats
were so heavy and often fell down.
- [Translator] I love this one.
Do you remember the
rehearsals for this one?
- [Translator] Do you
see where my leg goes?
- [Translator] You did
that every evening, right?
- [Translator] Bye then.
- [Translator] It was great
to see you, take care.
- [Translator] Bye.
- [Translator] See you soon.
- [Translator] Later I switched
to a job doing costumes.
It's something quite different,
but I could stay in the same surrounding.
- [Translator] And this was the premiere?
- [Translator] Yes, in 1965.
It was my first revue.
- [Translator] What a beautiful hairdo.
- [Translator] I had to be careful
as it could tear out my hair.
- [Translator] Really?
- [Translator] It was quite
heavy and as there was wire
in the back I lost a lot of hair
in the middle and the back of my head.
- [Translator] Because of the hair slides?
- [Translator] Right,
they held it all together.
- [Translator] But I'm sure
it made quite an impression.
And look at that face, oh la la!
It's still the same picture.
- [Translator] Yes, by
Toulouse-Lautrec, it's still there.
(upbeat instrumental music)
- [Translator] Great memories, right?
- [Translator] Yes, I brought
them for you to look at.
- [Translator] All those cancan revues.
You worked here for 50 years.
You're a true celebrity
at the Moulin Rouge,
everybody knows you.
- [Translator] It's been 50
years, but not 50 years onstage,
but I worked onstage as long as I could.
- [Translator] Every evening.
How was the atmosphere back then?
- [Translator] It was great, wonderful.
I remember the string tangos.
When I started working in 1965,
there were these costumes
that were called la neige.
We wore knickers underneath,
but if we moved a lot and
swung our legs in the air
at the beginning of the
show, the knickers somehow
slipped between our butt cheeks.
So I told Ouineverge who
still works with the costumes,
listen, why don't you
attach a string there
and it would make things a lot easier?
She did and that's how it is still today.
We used to party a lot up there,
but that's forbidden today.
- [Translator] Yes, that's right.
- [Translator] We celebrated
all the birthdays.
There was always cake and champagne.
- [Translator] That's
according to my taste.
- [Translator] You only have
cake now and a bottle of water.
- [Translator] Water, that's right.
- [Translator] That's sad.
Sometimes I was a naughty girl.
Those birthday parties were fabulous.
I invited them all and they came over.
I'll watch the show tonight.
- [Translator] We'll give our
best and lift our legs high.
Lift our legs.
- [Translator] No, I don't dance anymore,
only when I'm on vacation.
- [Translator] Those were the
golden days, do you remember?
There were so many venues in Paris.
(cabaret music)
People went from one theater,
from one cabaret to the next.
- [Translator] I remember
that there were girls
who danced on the stage
at the Casino and then
went straight to work at other cabarets.
They worked until five
o'clock in the morning.
(cabaret music)
- [Translator] We worked a lot back then.
The girls still do, but we
also did many TV appearances,
but it all changed.
There's not much dancing on TV anymore.
We worked with Carpentier and I even
did an appearance with
Jean Noir, do you know him?
- [Translator] I also
think that the dancing
forms have changed.
There are more movements
and it's more complicated.
(cabaret music)
- [Translator] If you compare a 1970s show
with one today, it still
follows the same principles.
It's still the same revue,
but still it's completely different.
The rhythms, the melodies
have changed, the movements,
the stage decoration, but
it's still the same show.
The Moulin Rouge is an undying idol.
As long as there's Paris there
will be the Moulin Rouge.
- [Translator] You worked
at the Moulin Rouge
for three years without a single day off.
That's really tough.
- [Translator] It wasn't
that tough for me.
I considered it rather normal.
- [Translator] I can relate to that.
But seven days per week
is quite something,
but we'd gotten use to it.
- [Translator] But to be
honest, once you had your place
here you didn't want to leave it again.
- [Translator] That's not how it is today.
People won't be allowed to
work seven days per week.
Luckily, there are laws for that now.
- I think they followed
the style of the society.
Society is more modern
now, there is a rhythm.
Everybody's connected to the planet.
Before we had no connection
except, you know,
in the dressing room side.
I knew all the life of my colleagues.
Now it's so different.
Everybody is focusing on the smartphones
and Facebook, whatever.
(upbeat instrumental music)
- That's the main difference.
The personality, the way they behave,
exactly the same as it's always been.
The aspirations, the
fears, the way the job--
It's the same, that hasn't changed at all.
(instrumental music)
- [Narrator] Many dream
about being on the stage
of the greatest vaudeville
theater in the world,
but they're not alone there.
They're just one star among many others.
- [Translator] It's not
easy as everyone wants
to be the most beautiful.
- Beautiful and you probably know it
because, you know, you have eyes.
You know you have maybe a better body
and everything from other
people in the street.
- [Translator] The most
beautiful, the best dancer.
You want to be better than the others
and it's not easy to cope
with this every night.
- When you come here, though,
you're going to be part
of 70, 80 other beautiful people
so really that's put away.
There's no point having
a big head about things.
We have no big heads here,
that you leave your ego at home.
- [Translator] Nowadays
the troop of the Moulin
Rouge is anonymous.
The dancers with their
so-called captain don't
get in contact with the audience.
They enter the theater
via the staff entrance
and aren't allowed to step into the hall.
The audience admires them when they're
onstage and they're completely anonymous
when they're on the street again.
- [Translator] If I play a major part,
I have my own dressing
room and someone by my side
who helps that things go
smoothly, I like that.
You're treated like a little star
and during the show you are the real star.
(singing backstage)
Actually, I sang that song once.
(instrumental music)
- [Translator] Nicola used to
be a cancan solo dancer, too.
- [Translator] That's true, we both were.
- [Translator] We
performed onstage together.
- [Translator] I danced
for the show for 20 years
and now I continue working as a dresser,
so I'm still somehow part of the shows.
(staff and dancers chattering backstage)
(cabaret music)
They shouldn't miss their appearance
if there's a costume
malfunction at the last minute.
- [Translator] Luckily
there are the dressers
who help us and explain everything,
otherwise we wouldn't be able to manage.
- [Translator] I always
dream about not being able
to get onstage because
my costume isn't ready.
It would be a nightmare if I miss my cue.
- [Translator] It's our
duty to prepare the dancers
for their show onstage
in exactly the costumes
that are meant for them.
- [Translator] They're not responsible
for us being on time, though.
- [Translator] The dresser
and costumer do a great job
especially in regard to
maintenance of the costumes.
They need to be cared for
properly as they are in daily use.
That's not to be taken for granted.
- [Translator] In order to save some time,
we prepare each of the costumes backstage.
It takes about 40 seconds.
They need to change there costume
during that period of time.
(cabaret music)
It's routine work.
(laughing backstage)
But there may be small accidents.
- [Translator] But we'll find a solution.
I'll go out anyhow, right?
- [Translator] Things happen.
- [Translator] Sometimes
you lose an earring
during all that fuss and
it lands at the strangest
places or even near the office.
- Well, the first time my string came off
and then the second time--
(dancer laughs)
The second time, there's like these beads
and they're attached to our
ankle and that came undone
and I tripped over them
and kinda like fell over,
but that's okay.
It's not gonna happen tonight.
I'm gonna be very careful of it.
- [Translator] There
have been some mishaps.
I fell onstage during a performance.
- [Translator] The heel of my boot cracked
so I did everything on the ball of my foot
trying not to show anyone.
It went okay in the end.
- [Translator] I wouldn't
mind going onstage
with bare feet.
- [Translator] It can be funny, too,
you just need to improvise.
(music playing backstage)
- [Translator] Let me
put that on the rack.
I'll be right with you.
(speaking French)
- [Translator] Jeanne, this
is one from the cancan.
Could you exchange the zipper please?
- [Translator] The zipper
didn't close properly
as it was quite worn,
therefore I had it exchanged
so that it wouldn't cause
any trouble in the future.
It's always better to be
prepared for eventualities.
The costumes must be of very high quality.
The materials must be robust so
that they don't wear out too soon.
Two shows put quite a
strain on the costumes.
If the seams aren't
sturdy, they may tear open.
(instrumental music)
- [Narrator] The Moulin Rouge isn't like
any other workplace, it's a
dream factory that never stops.
Whoever wants to be part of this carousel
must be completely dedicated to it.
- [Translator] At night,
we turn into princesses.
We perform in front of
thousands of people.
It feels almost like a dream.
(soft vocal music)
There are two different worlds for me.
At home, there's my
daily life as a mother,
but everything changes when I get here.
I focus on myself and
become a different person.
I put on makeup, become this character.
I love it because of this heavy contrast.
But now I need to get onstage.
(costume beads rattling)
I'm hardly ever there to put my child
to bed in the evenings, that's tough,
but once a week I have an
evening off, on Sundays.
- [Translator] It
complicates life if you work
in the evenings and raise
a child by yourself.
I was lucky because my
mother helped me a lot
when my kids were young and
later they got used to it.
They stayed at home or
I picked them up later.
- [Translator] I don't
know how they manage.
Being at home with such a schedule.
They're real fighters.
- [Translator] You need to be present 24/7
and you need to give up your private life.
- [Translator] Of course,
you pay for it and so did I.
My dream was to have children.
- Forget going out in the evening,
forget meeting people at
eight o'clock in the evening
to go to dinner, that is not happening.
And that can be very hard
for a lot of young people.
You know, the boyfriend, you
are not going to see him.
- [Translator] There's no boyfriend.
This is my family.
(dancers chattering backstage)
(cabaret music)
(cabaret music)
- [Translator] I already
wanted to become a dancer
when I was little, but it wasn't easy.
My parents were against
it and told me no way,
that's not going to happen.
- [Translator] My parents
were okay with it.
- [Translator] I was
afraid and didn't tell
my parents anything about it.
- [Translator] In Cuba,
culture has something
of a military character, which is
somehow related to politics.
Even though there is a lot of dancing,
people expect from young men to attend
military school instead
of becoming a dancer.
- [Translator] I first performed
onstage when I was nine.
- [Translator] My ballet teacher asked me,
did you tell your parents that
people will see you nude onstage?
I answered, no.
You're crazy, she said.
- [Translator] First my
sister came to see the show.
She saw me perform for the first time
the day before yesterday.
She'll watch me tomorrow
doing a leading part.
She told me that she had to cry.
- [Translator] After the
show, I went to my parents
to see what they had to say about it,
but they didn't say anything.
I waited for a reaction
and finally asked them,
so did you like it?
And they said you seem
to have a lot of fun.
That was it.
This was the only time they said something
about my decision to
present myself in the nude
onstage of a vaudeville theater.
(cabaret music)
You decide yourself that you
present your body onstage.
You need to adhere to this decision
and that's what I always try to do.
- [Translator] It's all about the costume,
the feathers, the rhinestone, the sequins.
This composition is there
to promote the beauty
of the female form, the
beauty of us as women.
There's nothing shocking
about it, I think.
- [Translator] And everybody's
naked today, aren't they?
- With the nudity, I think
that's something very prominent
in all the shows, especially in Paris.
You've got nudity, they all have it.
I think here it's so classy.
It doesn't seem sexual
or anything whatsoever.
It is done in such a classy manner.
It's really nice.
- There isn't as much
nudity for the new girls.
I guess that's an option a bit later on
once you've been here for a while.
I don't know.
- Hopefully it all goes
well and eventually
I'll get used to doing the shows
and it'll become easier, yeah.
(cabaret music)
- Women are allowed to
have their own opinions
and should be listened to.
The rest, showing your body
wearing costumes or makeup
really has nothing
whatsoever to do with it.
That is just putting a
value on the attributes
that you have that are different
to what other people have.
(cabaret music)
(instrumental music)
- [Translator] Giving up this
job was very hard for me.
I went to Monsieur Clericourt's
office and he said,
well then, of course, I was all in tears.
- [Translator] You miss it.
I'd be lying if I said that
it didn't hurt to leave.
It was hard.
As I wasn't really prepared for it,
I had to face a lot of problems.
- It's a little bit different.
They have more opportunities now to study.
- The Moulin Rouge giving us this chance
to studies if we want
to do something else.
And everybody use it or not.
It depends of people.
- The ones of my generation
are somewhat jealous,
can we say, because they had
to sort all this out themselves.
Now, we actually help.
- I did use like, I
already study and I know
what I'm gonna do after the Moulin Rouge.
- [Translator] My goal
is to continue working
in the show business and I'd like to pass
on all the experience I gained here
during all those years to other dancers.
- [Translator] I'm a bit
undecided in that regard.
I keep asking myself this question,
but I haven't found an answer yet.
- [Translator] Life goes on.
You don't always stay on the same path.
It's important to keep your
head up and not lose your
courage just because you're not part
of the vaudeville life anymore.
It may be a dream, but you
can't always live in a dream.
Even though dreaming can be quite magical.
- That's great what we live now,
but we all understand that it's gonna
finish not too far, you know--
- [Translator] You can't turn back time.
You're not always 20.
Only once a year.
(cabaret music)
- [Narrator] Ladies and
gentlemen, the wheel of life
keeps on turning like the
wings of the red windmill,
but the Moulin Rouge remains.
It seduces, amuses, and mesmerizes,
as it has done for over 125 years now
and maybe will do so forever more.
(cabaret music sung in French)