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Compare and contrast the techniques used in the opening sequences of the Franco Zeferelli and Baz Luhrmann versions of Romeo and Juliet

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Compare and contrast the techniques used in the opening sequences of the Franco Zeferelli and Baz Luhrmann versions of Romeo and Juliet The two versions of Shakespeare's play have two very different opening scenes, as one is intended to represent the play accurately and completely, while the other has been adapted for a modern-day audience. The two directors use different methods to convey their interpretations of Shakespeare's play, Romeo and Juliet. The play is based on a deep-seated feud affecting distant acquaintances establishing two distinct factions (or houses). A 'civil brawl bred of an airy word' erupts and the town is plunged into chaos. Violence reigns whenever the two meet. Neither will give up, on principal, and both sides seem to have forgotten why they are really fighting. In the 1968 Zeferelli version, the opening voice over is spoken in a calming and soft tone, with peaceful music accompanying. The camera pans out over the city of Verona. This is very peaceful and we feel comfortable whilst viewing. In the modern day Baz Luhrmann version, a news reporter speaks the prologue on a television. This creates a sense of seriousness. ...read more.


In the days the film was set, the church would have been a massive part of the city and culture when it was almost obligatory to attend church, so the sounding bell would be much more meaningful than anything else. It would be sort of like a police car siren we hear today, and would signal that there is crime going on. Secondly, he shows close-ups of 'innocent bystanders' in the chaos of the fight. There are people at the market, who are caught up in a huge battle of which they are not even involved in, which again gives the impression that the fight is more like a battle of a large scale. And thirdly, we see numerous different shots from numerous different locations of the city, which makes us think that the fight is happening everywhere and affects every person, making the feud seem a lot more heated and important to every ones lives, not just the Montagues or Capulets, but Luhrmanns version only focuses on the petrol station the small fight is fought in, and we don't see anyone else affected by the fight until the chief of police descends towards Benvolio and Tybalt. ...read more.


For example, in the 1968 film, the Prince approaches the two heads of the families on a horse in the company of his servants, which brings the fight to a complete standstill which shows us the definite and respected authority of the Prince, but in the modern version, the Prince (authoritative figure) has become the police chief (which is seen to be a modern day equal of the Prince of the Medieval version) and he approaches with the rest of the police force, in a police helicopter and it takes a threat to the life of Tybalt and Benvolio for them to not shoot each other in the chaos and confusion created in this version by the helicopters, to make us more tense and apprehensive. The police chief represents the Prince, the helicopters represent the horses, and the rest of the police force represent the Prince's servants. So the differences for the most part are concerning the update in the setting of the film, as one is set in Medieval Italy, with the other in present day America. But we are also faced with massive differences in the opening fight scene, due to, again, mainly an update in setting and a change in our (the audiences) expectations of what a film should include. ...read more.

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