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A comparison of the opening scene of Meirelles "city of God" and Luhrmans "Romeo and Juliet"

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Introduction

A comparison of the opening scene of Meirelles "city of God" and Luhrmans "Romeo and Juliet" Romeo and Juliet begins with a neutral atmospheric shot consisting of a 1950s style television set with a Newsreader telling the news. City of God however begins with a chilling shot of a knife brutally being slashed against stone, thus introducing/indicating the level of violence involved in this film, clearly the opening shots are completely different as they create completely different atmospheres. The colour scheme largely differs, with Luhrman preferring/using vividly bright primary colours and Meirelles usage of colours being mainly pale blues. Again creating different atmospheres, Luhrmans' film is obviously a fun/bright/bubbly one whereas Meirelles is a serious one. ...read more.

Middle

Both directors combine humour with violence. Antagonism between the main protagonists is hinted at in both films but with varied styles and techniques. Luhrman differentiates the two opposing sides with ECUs and CUs of symbols e.g. a Montague tattoo, a Capulet car grill ... Meirelles does the same thing but by setting up a different atmosphere/mood for each character (Lil Ze - chaotic/frenzied music, Rocket - calm/peaceful, no music). By having the two different atmospheres one after another emphasizes the difference between the two. Guns are features in both films, considered as status symbols but portrayed differently. Luhrman presents a gun as a machismo object by usage of a rapid sequence of cuts, close ups, whip pans, tilts, extreme close-ups, distortions, slam zooms, and crane shots. ...read more.

Conclusion

The camera cranes up to meet the dark cold eyes and feline smile of Tybalt, cigarette between teeth and gun-hand outstretched, the epitome of calm, menacing, cool control. This is particularly similar to Leone's' work. Meirelles film has been compared to Martin Scorsese' Goodfellas due to the many similarities (e.g. Rocket - the narrator's voiceover, the flashback style). These films have been compared to other directors and other films but they have certain uniqueness to them e.g. the unusual opening. Romeo and Juliet opens with its' own trailer! and merges Shakespearian lingo with a modern newsreader accent. City of god opens with a striking and somewhat daring image of knife scraping against a stone and then moving onto a comic scene of a chicken being chased by some guys who actually scream out "get that chicken!" ...read more.

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