• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Baz Luhrmann's film adaptation of

Extracts from this document...


How does Baz Luhrmann's film adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet" visually highlight Shakespeare's rich language and imagery? Shakespeare's use of language reflects the theatre of his day. There were no elaborate set designs, costumes, lighting or sound effects and there were also only a small number of actors playing many different parts. This could get confusing and therefore the language and imagery had to do all the work for the audience, as the words were the only tools available to help them imagine the scenes vividly. In the prologue of "Romeo and Juliet", line number twelve; "Is now the two hours' traffic of our stage" and the very last words; "our toil shall strive to mend", have significant meaning. These sentences, spoken by the chorus, highlight to the audience the key plot elements to come. It gives the audience an idea of what they are about to watch or read and makes the ensuing action more intelligible. This dramatic convention therefore acts almost like a movie trailer. In Baz Luhrmann's film adaptation of the play, the prologue begins with a long shot of a television (within a television), with a reporter speaking to us from inside of it. Behind the reporter's left shoulder are the words "star-crossed lovers" and a symbol of a broken ring. ...read more.


In addition, a police car which says "Verona Police" is filmed. All of these key points visually highlight Shakespeare's imagery and language. The police car is an indication of the violence to come that is caused by the feud and upsets the normal, peaceful status quo. The first six lines of the prologue are essentially the most important in establishing the plot - for example lines three and four from the prologue: "from ancient grudge break to new mutiny" and "where civil blood makes civil hands unclean". Luhrmann usually emphasises these points with newspaper headlines shown in the movie with those exact sentences on them. These lines of the prologue are also heard as the voice-over of the Friar. Jump cutting is used to move from headline to headline and the newspapers are shot in extreme close up, surrounded by flames of fire. With each sentence of the prologue that is said, an accompanying image is shown on the screen with it. These include violent images such as police cars and police helicopters. Overall, expressive lighting is used in the film, to add even greater intensity to the conflict between peace and war in Verona. This, along with words such as "death", "rage" and "blood", really start to show the dark side of the plot and ironically contrasts with Verona being described as a "fair" city previously. ...read more.


Therefore what he does, with the opera music still playing, is show most of the prologue on the screen in writing. Jump cutting is used between each sentence, but it is barely readable since the editing is at such a high speed, so the prologue is literally flashing before your eyes. Afterwards, Baz Luhrmann shows snippets from the entire movie to the audience. Jump cutting is used and the images flash at a very high speed before you. He goes from the end to the beginning of the movie, and what he achieves is, in a sense, a visual prologue! At the very end of the prologue, the title "Romeo + Juliet" comes up and the 'plus' sign is actually made to suggest a Christian cross. This subtly reminds us of the religious side of the play. This includes the Friar, who is a religious personage, the wedding that Romeo and Juliet have and also the whole theme of destiny and some divinity or higher power looking over and controlling us in life. So in conclusion, this is how Baz Luhrmann's film adaptation of the prologue from "Romeo and Juliet" successfully visually highlights Shakespeare's rich language and imagery. We can see how he has gone through the prologue and then fairly systematically translated its deeper meaning, in remarkably creative ways. He effectively translates all the messages of the prologue in a contemporary and entertaining context. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Romeo & Juliet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Romeo & Juliet essays

  1. How did Shakespeare create tension in act 1 scene 5 of Romeo and Juliet

    ROMEO: O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do; They pray, grant thou, lest faith turn to despair. JULIET: Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake. ROMEO: Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take. Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged."

  2. Comment on how Baz Luhrmann uses video and audio techniques to communicate themes and ...

    The caplets sling loud though slow angry words at the Montages who return fast frightened words trying to calm the situation. Though as the camera shot goes to the toilet door, the quick shocking music picks up again and Benvolio appears-an image of a peace maker leading to a close

  1. Critically discuss the presentation of the opening of Baz Lurhmann film adaptation of ' ...

    As a result this gives the audience a sense of fear, but it shows importance that someone powerful has arrived. During the opening scene, focussing on one particular area, I found that the moment whilst the Montague boys were driving in their convertible, Lurhmann combined most techniques together.

  2. Analysis and comparison of the presentation of the prologue in film version of 'Romeo ...

    Beside the newsreader in the background, there is a small picture with some text underneath it. As the camera is in the far distance, it makes it hard to see what the picture and text are, which makes the audience wonder what it is.

  1. Explore how Baz Luhrmann, the director of "Romeo and Juliet", has produced an exciting ...

    effective in seeing all of them together, how they all are listening to music and shouting out at people. The camera begins to change, we get close ups of the boys in the car, then a back close up of one of the boys hair, which reads "Montague", the camera

  2. Analysing film trailers.

    The first section is mainly aimed at are the people who enjoy watching action/crime movies. The second section focuses more on the humour side of the movie and the third section aims at the romances of the movie. This trailer has quite a lot of glamour and sex appeal as

  1. Comparison of Franco Zefferelli's Romeo and Juliet to The adaptation by Baz Luhrmann

    Life without love is nothing to Juliet, she grasps Romeo's dagger and ends her own life in an act of bravery and devotion. In respect to the untimely deaths of their children the Montagues and the Capulets agree to end the feud.

  2. Discuss how Baz Luhrman reaches his audience and establishes mood in his film adaptation ...

    In the news report there is a picture of a broken wedding ring, this also helps to portray the message of tragedy and heartbreak. In the screenplay Shakespeares' original text has been adapted to suit the modern audience. This is seen clearly in the first scene at the petrol station.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work