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Comparisons in the representation of Act1, Scene One Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" in the film adaptations by Franco Zefirelli (1968) and Baz Luhrmann (1997) have differences and similarities in many elements.

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Introduction

Media Coursework Comparisons in the representation of Act1, Scene One Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" in the film adaptations by Franco Zefirelli (1968) and Baz Luhrmann (1997) have differences and similarities in many elements. Zefirelli set his story in Italy, which portrays the film as an old and traditional one. The town is busy with many villagers buying and selling goods in the market, which seems like an ordinary day for the people. In 1068, there weren't any "hi-tech" buildings compared to elderly churches, town squares and markets. The atmosphere is busy but calm because the music played is soothing especially at the beginning. This is a more appropriate setting compared to Lurhmann's version because that was the way Shakespeare wrote them; in the earlier days there were no skyscrapers or office blocks. However, Lurhmann's version was very much different because although the setting seems like Italy, it was actually America. The beginning was set on California beach, which was Verona beach in the film. Lurhmann decided to use Mexico as Capulet's house. There are skyscrapers built with "Montague" signs written above them, which portrays them as businesses, because that is the only reason I can think that there would be such exploitation of their names. That is evidence that Lurhmann decided to pay attention to detail. The atmosphere is busy but not as crowded and enclosed as the market place in Zefirelli's representation. ...read more.

Middle

The styles of the clothes are clownish just like those of a joker. The Montague's wear dark, sombre and dull colours, which can represent evil (in some sense). The Capulet's costumes in Lurhmann's film are mainly vests, dark trousers and tops, which reflect sinful and criminal impressions. Tattoos, piercing and heavy jewellery portray the image of the Mafia, especially as the movie is supposed to be set in Italy. Which is the total opposite compared to the Capulet's clothing in Zefirelli's film. The Montague's' wear the opposite again to the other movie; they have outrageous haircuts, brightly coloured hair especially fluorescent pink, tattoos but overall very bright and colourful. The Hawaiian looking lose shirts are left unbuttoned and float in the wind. They look like skaters with their baggy clothes, wild hair (and attitudes) with loud music blaring from their open top car. Even though they wear strange costumes, they reflect a reasonable amount of religious imagery. E.g., one of the Montague boys have (Montague" shaven into the back of their head, one Capulet boys have "sin" engraved into silver crowned teeth. Cinematography in both films is differently used. Zefirelli did not use many close-ups shots to emphasis their feelings/danger. The character's whole bodies fitted into a single frame most of the time; there was no sense of distance/size. The camera focused on side views of the characters. ...read more.

Conclusion

This makes it very difficult to follow if using the textbook. This is unfortunate for school students who have to study the text. The Montague boys originally started the "brawl" in the Lurhmann's version yet, again Zefirelli's kept to the story because the Capulet boys started the "brawl". Lurhmann makes Romeo hold a cigarette, but how can he if he is supposed to be religious? That is why Romeo holds a rose in Zefirelli's representation. Although, Zefirelli's film perceived as a more religious film, Lurhmann overcame this problem by screening religious imagery e.g. Montague's wearing crosses (the sign of Christianity) and sitting outside churches. I have to admit that I liked Lurhmann's representation better because it was more appealing due to the effects and cinematography; which (I feel) is better than Zefirelli's version. Obviously, we have to appreciate the time difference, and I suppose that is why I like it more. The older generations may fancy Zefirelli's film and the younger generation probably prefer Lurhmann's version. I enjoyed the music too. However, I do feel that Leonardo DiCaprio did not quite suit the role of Romeo because I perceive him as "Jack" out of Titanic, even though Romeo and Juliet was released out first. He was the main character in both films, but Romeo and Juliet had already been released before and all the "hype" and excitement had been over (1968, receiving a number of awards compared to 1997). Then again, everyone is different and both films were successful in their own ways. ...read more.

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