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Compare the interpretation of the two versions of Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' - Analyse, review and comment on how the directors Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann use cinematic techniques to convey particular meaning to the audience.

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Coursework Assignment - - - Media Compare the interpretation of the two versions of Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'. Analyse, review and comment on how the directors Franco Zeffirelli and Baz Luhrmann use cinematic techniques to convey particular meaning to the audience. William Shakespeare wrote the play 'Romeo and Juliet' in the early 16th century. The story is about "a pair of star-crossed lovers" and is based in Verona. Romeo belongs to a family called 'The Montagues' whilst Juliet belongs to 'The Capulets'. The two families show bitter rivalry throughout the story up until the death of Romeo and Juliet. Every element of a visual image can carry meaning. Visual images can be read like any text. Everything you see or hear in the film is chosen deliberately by the director, writer, or designer in order to emphasise specific movements, feelings or objects. As we were watching the opening scenes, I noticed how differently the two directors perceived the play. The start of the Baz Luhrmann film begins with a prologue; "Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona (where we lay our scene). From ancient grudge break new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes. A pair of star-crossed lovers take their lives". This is a vast display of violent sounding, dramatic music and loud sound effects, this symbolises the ongoing, chronic feuding tormenting the city and gives the viewer a stern implication that conflict is ever present. ...read more.


During the scene, the camera focuses and does close-ups of religious objects or signs. When the Capulet moves his hand towards his "sword", it reveals his jacket, which bears Jesus on it. One of them also have the cross shaved at the back of his head. It is strange how The Capulets seem to have such strong faith, yet they start the violence and show no remorse, even Tybalt says " Peace? Peace? I hate the word". This goes against everything religion is based on. We begin with "The Montague Boys" in their bright yellow car. The first thing we are shown is a close up of the number plate. In the background, American style rock music is being played. Everything about them contrasts drastically with "The Capulets". This tries to show how completely different the two families are. As the Capulets navy car pulls into the petrol garage, we also get a close-up of their number plate. As Tybalt steps out the car, the camera does a close-up of his shoes and works there way up slowly. This implies that this is a powerful figure and isn't easily intimidated. Also, the music played at this moment in the scene is Spaghetti Western. This is normally played when danger is approaching or something is about to happen. This music creates tension and suspense. I noticed that the camera never put the two families together in one shot, they were always shot separately. ...read more.


There are some obvious points of conflict such as when the two families meet in the town square. However the forthcoming comments seem to be sarcastic as they verbally try to disrespect each other's family reputation. When the eventual fight breaks out a very intriguing thing happens. Like a football match, the public and people who maybe related or obscurely related to either family join in the fight, almost like they support different families, this in my view is quite perplexing. Important quotes are presented in a different way for example, when an crucial point is made there will be a silence after it or a reaction from the surrounding crowd, who in some of the situations make things worse as they try to encourage the possible fight to break out. As act one begins it clearly shows that the Capulets roaming the streets like they are the authority and when the meet the Montague's they begin to provoke each other. This gives the viewer an idea that both the families take their reputation with pride. There are many different ways to how each film presents conflict, the modern version presents conflict using more effects and they seem to dramatise more situations by adding build up and even media built up, for example, after the opening fight of the film they show footage on the television. The Zefferelli seems to build up situations using the public for example when a big fight scene was brewing the public seemed to flee this gave the observer an idea that there was something big waiting to happen. ...read more.

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