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Compare And Contrast The Presentation Of Two Film Versions Of The Prologue To Romeo And Juliet. How Do The Different Directors Interpret This Scene?

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Compare And Contrast The Presentation Of Two Film Versions Of The Prologue To Romeo And Juliet. How Do The Different Directors Interpret This Scene? I have been scrutinizing Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli's unique styles of interpreting Shakespeare's, late 1590 's, play prologue: Romeo and Juliet. (To be truthful when I first found out I was going to be studying Romeo and Juliet, I thought I was about to pull my hair out! Image having to watch two Shakespeare play prologues, let alone writing an essay comparing it! Surely you would die of boredom? Wouldn't you?) A prologue is commonly known as a foreword of an introductory material of prose work, which in this case is a play. Shakespeare wrote his prologue as an Iambic pentameter sonnet (a form that he is renound for). To give his audience a sneak preview of what 'the two hours' traffick of our stage...' would be in reference to. Luhrmann and Zeffirelli are considered to be 'both alike in dignity'; they are both well-known directors of their era. Although well established, their styles fluctuate dramatically. Their many similarities consist of not being afraid to be unconventional. Zeffirelli astonished his mainstream audience by casting two unidentified actors to play the roles Romeo and Juliet: Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting. In a similar vein, Luhrmann aimed his film towards an audience who would not usually be associated with Shakespeare; he cast two famous actors Claire Danes and Leonardo Dicapario, to capture the attention of his new mainstream audience. ...read more.


The Jesus symbol depicts to the audience that only the power of God can stop the 'ancient grudge' between the two families while importing the play's introductory content in a format familiar to a modern audience. Headlines repetition is also used to get the viewers to know the story and what has happened in the past. Luhrmann has done this very well, because the newspaper headlines are fast and so this gives the impression to the viewer that there is a fight everyday or frequently between the two families. To explicit, the reason of flashing the words, 'Fair Verona' while the camera rushes down the high street, the audience understands the comparison and realise exactly how 'fair' Verona really is in his version of the film. It shows a decaying urban landscape contradicting 'fair Verona'. The font style of the writing is bold like Arial, and is in block capitals, making it clear to the audience what it says. On the contradictory Zeffirelli's construal, the camera slowly pans over the city; you can see that Verona is very appealing and fair, as the prologue says it is. The audience is then presented with numerous camera shots and transitions, which increases rapidly as the opening scenes of the film comes to an end. Analogous to Luhrmann gospel/ gothic music, it becomes frenetically paced, shifting hastily and dynamically. Creating a dramatic, horror intensity, building the prologue to an awe-inspiring climate, contributing to the prevalent atmosphere and mood (utilising a helicopter and various other sound effect to accentuate modern era as it exists). ...read more.


In accumulation, to my analysis of Luhrmann's opening scenes of Shakespeare's play prologue Romeo and Juliet. I have considered that, Luhrmann used the contemporary day to not only attract his new-fangled audience to the film, but to also convey to the spectators the rivalry going on in our world. Illustrating that if all of the pertinent information was used without careful consideration. How easily people in our society could become influenced through the effects of society leaders today. 'Of civil hands, come civil blood unclean'. Causing the audience to question 'how to deal with the social problems in the world? Furthermore, realising how corrupt our community is...' Luhrmann and Zeffirelli's versions of the film were both outstandingly produced, thus causing my perception of the two films to differ, although the two films remain effective in my psyche but in different ways. Luhrmann's ingenious use of modernisation and vibrant location, (even despite the fact that it was slightly baffling), seizing the interest of contemporary viewers, as we feel as if we could relate to the heart breaking passionate affair of Romeo and Juliet. Conversely Zeffirelli's bona fide, well-made version, ensnared me, as I felt I understood the passion and purity of Romeo and Juliet love. On the divergent the film may have appealed to me, however it won't to everybody as it is aimed only at Shakespearean aficionados. Impeding modern viewers of capability of relating to the environment, and hence has a durable time of indulgencing the plot. Julie Hammond 10CHI Media English Coursework ...read more.

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