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Baz Luhrmann's Romeo & Juliet

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How does Baz Lurhmann use all the techniques of cinema to gain impact in his introduction to the film Romeo & Juliet? In Romeo + Juliet, Luhrmann presents the prologue as a news bulletin that gives the events a feeling of immediacy - the urgency of an on-the-spot news report. The news broadcaster has replaced the Shakespearean Chorus for a modern audience while retaining the Chorus's function of providing commentary on events before they happen. This brings the media into the story right from the start, and this carries on throughout the opening scenes. This shows that not only does the media play a large part in this adaptation, but it interests younger viewers as they can relate to this version more than they could the original play. This enforces what an impact the media can have on our lives. Luhrmann emphasises the setting as the prologue ends. The camera zooms forward to scenes of Verona Beach, with the words "IN FAIR VERONA" flashing on the screen. Luhrmann presents Verona as a modern city, dominated by scenes of chaotic urban violence. Aerial shots pan across the cityscape as police cars and helicopters dart about, and human casualties are strewn across the ground. ...read more.


The main character's names appear on screen in a powerful white block lettering. This is superimposed onto the corresponding character's face, also using a somber blue lighting on Juliet's father from the Capulet family, and a contrasting golden tone on Mercutio (and later Romeo). A further sequence shows more of the events to follow, which is effective at keeping the audience interested and keen to follow the plot. A 'wipe' effect is used to go to the first scene, which shows the Montague boys on the way to the petrol station. Many close-up and medium shots are used here from different angles to show us each of the men in more detail. Once at Phoenix Gas station, a low-angled shot gives the audience the point of view of one of the Montague boys still in the car as Benvolio speaks to them. This makes the audience feel more involved in the action of characters, which keeps their attention for longer. This is followed by a reverse high-angled shot as one of the Montague boys get out of the car. This is not Benvolio's point of view, but still holds a subtle clue as to the position on Benvolio relative to the action on screen. ...read more.


This can refer to Tybalt. When he steps out his car at the start of the fight scene we hear non-diagetic western style music playing in the background and he stamps his cigar out onto the floor. This foreshadows the events to come, and gives the audience an insight into Tybalt's intentions in this scene. The first eight minutes of Luhrmann's Romeo & Juliet are truly packed with cuts and edits. For instance, the gas station scene has 185 cuts in just 5 minutes 30 seconds. This helps establish the fast-paced nature of the story from the very beginning, and personally I have not seen an opening sequence from this genre of film that has portrayed the entire story so well, while still keeping some events under wraps and leaving the audience wanting to know more. The film is so modern and pushes the boundaries of Shakespeare's works, yet it is still delivered in such a way that would captivate both Shakespeare lovers and first-timers alike. Luhrmann has definitely created an impact in this opening scene, and it is a great start to a fantastic piece of film. ?? ?? ?? ?? Selina Taylor Media Studies - Mr. Phillips ...read more.

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