Luhrmann breaks from film with art installation

'Moulin Rouge' director launches multimedia project

HONG KONG -- Taking a break from movies, "Moulin Rouge" director Baz Luhrmann on Wednesday unveiled a multimedia installation in Hong Kong that he says explores the narrative potential of paintings.

"The Creek," a collaboration with painter Vincent Fantauzzo, centers on a large oil painting showing rescue efforts for a car that has veered off a bridge. The painting is placed in a narrow dark room decorated with candles and photographs from Luhrmann's childhood in rural Australia.

An audio clip of a car crash plays in the background.

"I am fascinated with how in classical art narrative is dealt with," Luhrmann told reporters on the sidelines of the Hong Kong International Art Fair, where his piece is being displayed.

"The cathedrals of the 17th century were sort of the cineplexes of their time. The audience went into a darkened room. They contemplated a painting. And in that painting ... they had their own cinematic experience. They had their own narrative experience," the director said.

Known for his flashy visuals and lavish set designs, Luhrmann's credits also include "Strictly Ballroom," "William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet" and "Australia."

Luhrmann said he hasn't decided on his next project and is currently choosing between three movie projects and two stage productions, including a possible adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel "The Great Gatsby."