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Analyse the opening scene from the 1996 film version of 'Romeo and Juliet', examining the film techniques employed in order to create a specific mood and appeal to a modern audience

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Introduction

Analyse the opening scene from the 1996 film version of 'Romeo and Juliet', examining the film techniques employed in order to create a specific mood and appeal to a modern audience. Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film version of the popular 1600s Shakespearian play 'Romeo and Juliet' was hugely successful with modern audiences. Due to the film techniques used, it was able to capture the viewers' attention and imagination. Also the way that he made the old language accessible to the modern audience by "freeing it from its cage of obscurity". This movie won in the Berlin International Film Festival the awards for Best actor (Leonardo Dicaprio) and the Alfred Bauer Prize. It also got nominations in the Academy Awards for Best Art Direction (Catherine Martin) and Set Decoration (Brigitte Broch). These were all attributes to the success of this modern version of the old tale of an ancient grudge, power of fate and true love that is 'Romeo and Juliet'. In this scene Luhrmann captures the viewers' attention by displaying a far-away television on a dark background. (To keep the focus on the television) When the newsreader starts to talk the picture zooms in almost drawing you into what is being said. ...read more.

Middle

They dress in brightly coloured clothes and Hawaiian shirts which show that they may be a bit crazy and eccentric. This idea is carried on through to the gas station when they arrive, they are loud and the way they are acting is a bit crazy. In this shot the words 'the Montague boys' appear on the screen, this gives the impression that they are not men and are therefore immature, also the music that is also played just before the freeze frame scream out the words 'the boys, the boys' adding to the idea that they are immature and young. The second shot I have chosen is the shot of Tybalt Capulet shooting across the screen whilst jumping through the air, the movement he uses is graceful which shows how different he is to a Montague. Also the way that he dresses, all black except his waistcoat which is embroidered with the Virgin Mary which shows that even though he wears all black, the colour that is associated with death and evil, he is still religious. This is the shot where Benvolio and Tybalt are both in the street and are dropping their guns onto the ground; here you are able to see the differences between the two characters, Tybalt is well groomed and well dressed whereas Benvolio wears less glamorous clothes and does not keep himself so well groomed. ...read more.

Conclusion

(It may be a bullet proof vest though) The Montague's wear lose Hawaiian shirts and trousers that are held up by belts, they also wear a lot of chain with religious symbols on them. The two cars also show a lot about the differences between each family. The Montague's have a yellow (bright colour) and it is like a convertible because it has no roof, the Capulet's car is a dark blue car with a roof. Both families' cars are very different helping the audience to tell the difference between each gang. Luhrmann did well in this film because he made it modern but still managed to keep the shakespearian language (his main goal to achieve in this film) which I am sure proved tricky for him as it meant he had to use a lot of visuals to help the audience understand further and to be able to follow the story. In the opening he used a lot of visuals such as the guns and the objects used by the characters and the background images when the prologue was being read out. In all it has been a very successful film and the techniques Luhrmann used were very modern and comprehensible to the audience. All this made the film easy to understand making it an even more enjoyable viewing of this tale of fate, true love and an ancient grudge. ...read more.

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