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Romeo and Juliet

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Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli's Interpretation of the Prologue and Act 1 Scene 1 in "Romeo and Juliet" The story of Romeo and Juliet has been well known for many centuries. It has been interpreted and adapted by many people, including Shakespeare himself! Two of the most famous versions are the 1968 film by Franco Zeffirelli and the 1996 film by Baz Luhrmann. Each director has adapted the story for his own purposes. I am going to study how these two films have interpreted Shakespeare's play in a modern style for a modern audience. I feel that each version will appeal to a different audience compared to the other. Language for example, should be closely reviewed as it has to be appropriate for the humour of the particular time in each film. This is because puns were very popular in Shakespearean times so throughout the play there is a great deal used. In the first scene Capulet's servants, Sampson and Gregory, joke together by using puns. Here are two examples of the way they use them: "I strike quickly, being moved" "But thou art not quickly moved to strike". And "...I will be civil with the maids; I will cut off their heads." ...read more.


The fight scene is made more exciting by involving the audience through the use of a hand-held camera and some shots are out of focus to add to the atmosphere and tension as if the audience is part of the crowd. During the fight it is extremely noisy; there are bells ringing, rallying cries and lots of shouting and ambient sound makes it seem realistic. The Prince then arrives on a horse and the camera shot is looking up to make him seem powerful. Zeffirelli succeeds in accomplishing the interpretation of Shakespeare's play as it appears very realistic and he has kept to the storyline. Luhrmann's next scene opens with the "Montague Boys" behaving loud and aggressive and very much in the mood to enjoy themselves. They arrive at a gas station which is a perfect, modern location to incorporate Shakespeare's original text that says "Verona: A public place". The camera zooms in on the numberplate of the car which reads "MON 105" with "Verona Beach" underneath. This clearly illustrates what 'gang' they belong to. The Montague's are wearing colourful beachwear and they have pink hair and tattoos, their car is orange/yellow with an open-top. ...read more.


Although Luhrmann has adapted this play and changed many things about it he has kept the original idea and characters of the play. In other words, this is no "West Side Story", loosely interpreting a Shakespearean play for its own ends. Rather, it IS Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, uprooted into a new setting for a new generation and I feel that Luhrmann has achieved this very well. This is because Shakespeare's plays were designed to adapt to any audience and with this in mind, Baz Luhrmann has created a film that applies to the modern audience through this updating. I also watched a part of "West Side Story", however, this takes a very free view of its source material as it uses Shakespeare's tragedy for its plot value more than anything else. This is unlike Zeffirelli's or Luhrmann's as they have produced an interpretation of the film and included most of Shakespeare's text. It is difficult to compare "West Side Story" to the other two versions as it departs so much from the story "Romeo and Juliet" that it is hardly recognizable as an adaptation. However, it does keep to the idea of the two rival gangs. ?? ?? ?? ?? Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" Emily Sweetman ...read more.

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