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Compare the opening shots in Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli's versions of Romeo and Juliet. Which do you think is the most effective and why?

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Introduction

Compare the opening shots in Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli's versions of Romeo and Juliet. Which do you think is the most effective and why? This essay will compare two versions of 'Romeo and Juliet' directed by Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli. In order for me to comment on both versions of 'Romeo and Juliet' I will compare the opening shots, the way the main characters are introduced and the types of music and costumes used in each version. Baz Luhrmann's film takes place in contemporary America. The latest version of Romeo and Juliet was filmed in 1997 at Verona Beach, California. The director chose this area because it is somewhat exotic and because it is seen as a city -state with its importance in America. It's also an area young people find interesting because the people there have a lifestyle young people aspire to. Baz Luhrmann's setting was deliberately modern to make the story of Romeo and Juliet more accessible to younger people and to show its relevance in the 20th century. The background of petrol stations, highways and tall buildings makes the setting familiar to a modern audience. ...read more.

Middle

because of the recent events of violence between the families. This may have the symbolic meaning that Christian values do not play a very big part in the lives of people in this city. Significantly shot 8 shows the face of Jesus from the statue. This is a 'rack zoom' out to show that the statue is flanked by two buildings twice its size. The building on the left is crowned with a red sign 'Capulet', the building on the right with a blue sign 'Montague'. The size of the buildings is a sign of the importance of the two families. Shot 8 shows that Jesus is the only person who can separate these rivals. The close up on Jesus shows the importance of his values, such as forgiveness and reconciliation. The fourth shot is a medium cut shot of the Montague's servant's legs. I feel it is hard to interpret what the characters are like because their costumes are very dull and ordinary until we see them feature in the play. Following on from that is a medium shot of the servants talking. It is important to note the volume of the market place has been turned down so it's possible to hear what is being said. ...read more.

Conclusion

Shot 12th is a different version of shot 11 ending up on Jesus' mid section. This compares Jesus' body during the crucifixion to the bodies suffering by the trivial row between the Montagues and the Capulets. The thirteenth shot is a shaky pan shot from the Montague to the Capulet signs. The use of this camera shot is to disorientate and stimulate the viewer. In my opinion the Luhrmann film makes the themes of the story clearer at the beginning by concentrating on the image of Jesus. He shows that the film has a message because he sets out to show the lack of morals and concern for life and how feuding can end in disaster for innocent victims such as Romeo and Juliet. On the whole I think the Baz Luhrmann film is more effective because it is set in the modern world that we recognise and understand and also he makes the themes clear from the outset which are love, hate, death and time. Zeffirelli's version seems more like a filmed play and the attention to historical detail makes it harder for the younger audience to become interested right from the start of the film because it seems to slow for them. ...read more.

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