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Luhrmann and Zeffirelli use very opposite effects and techniques in each of the Romeo + Juliet films. The contrasts between the Zeffirelli 1968 and the Luhrmann 1997 versions are vast.

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Introduction

Comparison coursework Luhrmann and Zeffirelli use very opposite effects and techniques in each of the Romeo + Juliet films. The contrasts between the Zeffirelli 1968 and the Luhrmann 1997 versions are vast. Even though the directors of each film use different effects and techniques. They both tell the story in their own unique way. Zeffirelli's traditional, English, authentic piece of almost theatre with basic use of lighting, camera and sound. Luhrmann's modern, loud, and emotional gripping piece of film uses a vast variety of lighting, camera and sound to emphasise the piece to the max. Luhrmann's is certainly far more powerful than Zeffirelli's in all aspects. Its use of music creates tension, joy, and emotion. The camera and lighting creates another and I certainly prefer Luhrmann's to Zeffirelli's. The opening scenes of each both include the famous dialogue: "Two families, both alike in dignity. In Fair Verona where we lay our scene..." Luhrmann's repeats the dialogue twice first using a TV news reporter and then using a modern and powerful approach using text to emphasise the meaning of the dialogue fully. The view of Verona and the "Montague" and "Capulet" skyscrapers, determine the rivalry is down to Business empires of the two families. On the other hand, in Zeffirelli's version it uses just the slow, patient narration and has some traditional middle-age music with the long shot camera shot of Verona. ...read more.

Middle

At the start of the scene in the Luhrmann version we see the first of our families, the Montagues. They seem like typical American youngsters having fun in their car with the music turned up. They pull into a gas station and all seems well until the second family arrives, the Capulets. They seem more suave, they are smart looking Latinos, and they seem serious compared to the fun loving colourful Montagues. This is a good way of showing the differences between the two families. However in the Zefferelli version we see the Montagues and Capulets enter a traditional market square similar to one in the original play. We don't see many differences between the two families as they enter the scene. They seem kind of the same type of family, the only thing keeping them different is the colours of their clothes. The Capulets wearing black and blue and the Montagues wearing yellow and red, the clothes have been made to portray what people wore in the time the play was written, men in tights, frills and Robin Hood like hats. In the Luhrmann version the dress is close to modern day attire, Hawaiian shirts and tuxedos. In the first scene in the Luhrmann version there is not much reference to the original script, with little speech being used, but it is accurate to the original script. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is unintentional humour, as the Zefferelli characters seem strange to us modern day people because the men are wearing tights and frocks, the Luhrmann characters seem "cool" because we are used to the attire. But Zefferelli is trying as close as he can to the original play. If Zefferelli had tried to set his film in his time then I expect we would have seen white men with afros, high heels and flares. If we were studying that type of version at school then I expect we would also see them as strange. There is one more difference between the two versions. At the end of the scene where the Prince says that if the two families fight again there will be deaths. Zefferelli has portrayed the Prince riding in on a horse, and we know that princes were around in the time that the play was written, then he speaks to the families. However in Luhrmann's version, he has used the modern day equivalent of a prince, a police general, this is good because there are no princes in modern day cities so Luhrmann has used the next best thing, a modern day equivalent of a prince. If Shakespeare was alive today I think he would have been impressed by Luhrman's attempt to modernize his story, as he has done this very intelligently and very well. ...read more.

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