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Comment on how Baz Luhrmann uses video and audio techniques to communicate themes and character to the audience."

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Introduction

26/09/03 Rachel Glendenning 11A English "Romeo and Juliet, Comment on how Baz Luhrmann uses video and audio techniques to communicate themes and character to the audience." "Romeo and Juliet," is a play written by William Shakespeare in the late sixteenth century "in fair Verona." This is an ultimate love story between the only children of two powerful enemies ", both alike in dignity..." These two households bear an "ancient grudge." Within this hate "Romeo and Juliet's" love cannot survive, and they are driven by this hate to death. From this 1595 classic play, Baz Luhrmann got the job of wielding it in to a twentieth centaury blockbuster. He did this by using many different techniques, and even though he keeps the original dialogue, he changes many classic features of the play to give this modern feel to it. Such as horses to cars, Swords to guns and villages to cities are several examples. As the film starts, the opening shot is of a modern day television. It is shown speaking as a newsreader, speaking as a chorus would on stage, giving background knowledge to the audience watching. This television reflects Luhrmann's modern setting, showing how the film will be set, rather than the one in which the written play was set. The TV represents the media, as our main source of information. Just as the chorus would be, stood on stage, addressing the audience, giving them required information. The headline upon the TV reads ", Star-crossed lovers," and above a picture of a ring split in two, showing both the themes of love and hate. ...read more.

Middle

The shoes belong to a Nun with a class of children and each side of their people carries resides a car of each of the two families. The two families torment the nun and her party in a very cocky sort of manor, exceptionally intimidating. So as the nun and her party speeds away to escape further torment, the two families are revealed to each other for the first time. The fun and idiocy of the Montague's turns to fear, as "Abra-Capulet" is revealed. Here another facial close-up is shown. Abra wears dark menacing colours (oranges, blacks and reds- colours associated with hell.) He has a goatee beard an earring and a silver chain with cross hanging around his neck. He has the look of a typical gunslinger, someone who could be extremely dangerous. The music is now changed, as a more electric tune plays more menacing and threatening than before, highlighting the danger of this man. Fear is shown in the Montague's faces, shocked by the appearance of a known enemy. This man alarms them and with this abrupt entrance one of the boys makes a quick movement to reveal the butt of his pistol. A fast frightened movement, followed by the facial shot of a frightened face and the sound of a reluctant gasp, signifying the fear and tension between the two families. Here there is a shot of the face of Abra moving down his body and showing the slow movements of his hands to reveal the butt of his own pistol, engraved with the word Capulet, just as the Montague's gun was engraved with the word Montague, reflecting wealth yet again. ...read more.

Conclusion

The camera follows the flames upwards showing things will get worse, still with the music blasting. It moves up and through the smoke screen, the two houses can be seen dominating the skyline, with the image of Jesus between them. Still looking extravagant and wealthy after the brawl. Nothings really changed. The fire is burning as strong as their hate, causing public panic and confusion. Now short images are shown of police helicopters and vehicles flying between and around the towers and statue. The music still blearing. Shots are shown from alternate angles showing news reporters reporting the third civil brawl, again linking with the media. Ted Montague (the father-head of the house) rushes to the scene in his limo with registration plate being "Montague, Verona beach." Again representing wealth and power. Once more fast flickering shots are shown of the fleeing public, panic stricken, confused. Police swarming to the scene in different kinds of vehicles now, and here with the music breaching a climax the shots slow down and return to facial close-ups. Tybalt and Benvolio are screaming at each other hate in their eyes, with no more fear left in Benvolio's body only hate. Cars spread upon the road, utter havoc breached by the two feuding enemies. Guns are pointed at the couple from air and ground. They have no choice but to both walk forward and admit defeat, dropping their weapons to the ground. There is no music now just a loud 'boom' as the weapons fall. Adrenalin at an ultimate climax for anybody watching. The range of shots along with the series of different sounds and music create an unforgettable opening, showing many of the different themes and aspects of the play/film to anybody watching. ...read more.

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