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Analysis of Romeo and Juliet film by Baz Luhrmann

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Introduction

Analysis of Romeo and Juliet - Film by Bahz Luhrmann Baz Luhrmann uses a number of techniques in mise en scene in the film, 'Romeo and Juliet' to help the audience understand the story. The first scene brings us a news reporter placed within a television set. This suggests to us that this version of Romeo and Juliet will be more modern than most of Shakespeare's Medieval plays. The reporter reads the prologue, which summarizes the entire situation - this leads us to believe that everything has already happened and will be experienced in flashbacks. Afterwards, an extremely long shot of the city of Verona appears, first of all focusing on a statue of Christ in a defeated and downtrodden stance, telling us that perhaps religion has been betrayed or forgotten, and that maybe difference in religious beliefs is at the heart of the dispute. The camera zooms in and out of different sections of the shot, making it hard for one's eyes to settle on one particular aspect of it. Two identical towers are featured in the middle of the city, one belonging to the Montagues, the other Capulets. ...read more.

Middle

During the scene, non-diegetic hip-hop music compliments their wild behaviour to justify their joyful attitude and their tendency to be loud and outgoing. Also, it is an unexpected contrast to their immense skyscraper that would lead us to believe that they may be high-classed businessmen rather than carefree youths. Now, the Montague boys arrive at a petrol station. We see the Capulets' vehicle also pull in nearby, the engine revving which gives a sense of the Capulets' violent nature. We hear a short guitar melody, which mimics the music in a lot of traditional Western films, and this gives us a feel for the family's sly and sinister nature. A close-up shot of a Capulet's metal-heeled shoes, which also link to the Western genre, emerging from the car and extinguishing a cigarette further increases their sense of anonymity and potential danger. We see that the way the Capulets are dressed contrasts greatly with the Montagues' attire - instead of casual, brightly-coloured clothing, they are wearing classier, more formal garments, in darker colours such as blues and blacks with an abundance of religious references. This allows the two families to be easily visually distinguished from one another, and also indicates their differences which might be another reason for their conflict. ...read more.

Conclusion

A low-key non-diegetic bass melody in this scene builds tension and suspense, a sense of dread and the feeling that something worse is brewing just under the surface of this heated situation. Luhrmann adds diegetic sounds such as Tybalt's swift spinning motions making a whirlwind sound, which shows his skilful precision at movement, but at the same time sounds like a cat's growl (Tybalt is introduced as the "Prince of Cats" in a freeze frame earlier in the scene). Finally, the bass background music surmounts to a crescendo, and the Montagues escape the Capulets, and we see Benvolio fleeing past a heavy traffic jam outside the petrol station as Tybalt shoots at him. It is a medium long shot of the street and shows that in their disagreements, the two families are causing chaos in the city and preventing people from living their everyday lives - in this example blocking the roads for the publics' fear of flying bullets. Tybalt drops his cigarette on the petrol-soaked ground in the station and thus it ignites and a tumult of fire erupts - the connotations behind the sheet of flames suggests burning rage, and that this conflict will unfold into something more extreme later on. ...read more.

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