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Different techniques used to direct film versions of Romeo and Juliet.

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31st January 2003 Jason Lucas Having watched two different film adaptations of 'Romeo and Juliet', it is clear to see that the two directors, Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli, have used a number of different techniques, quite differently at times, to put across their particular interpretations of the play. These methods and different interpretations are very obvious if you should study the same scene as portrayed in each film. We looked at the introduction and the opening scene of each film to compare the differences between them and found that the differences, though some were more subtle than others, were obvious. Whilst Franco Zeffirelli's adaptation uses far more traditional techniques, Baz Luhrmann used a far more modern approach to the production of the classic play. Zeffirelli's film uses the original concept of the film; it sticks to the original setting and structure of the play, keeping the originality at a maximum. Whilst Luhrmann uses a modern concept so that it is easier for the viewer to relate, for example, the setting of Luhrmann's film is in America, Zeffirelli sets his interpretation in Verona, Italy, where the original play was set. ...read more.


As well as the images filmed, the camera effects, editing and dramatic music also add up to make the scene as chaotic as possible. The fast zooming, panning and freeze frames give the effect of a disordered scene which also makes the viewer feel as though they are a part of the mayhem. The characters are introduced as screen captures, or freeze frames, with large bold writing to show their importance in the film. All these are effects used to draw the viewer into the film, growing their curiosity so that they want to keep watching. The effects of Zeffirelli's version, however, are much different. Zeffirelli uses calm, old-fashioned music in the background of a tranquil 14th Century street with a traditional border of the screen to portray the scene. The introduction is read by a man with a soft tone of voice in a voiceover, these techniques are much different to Luhrmann's fast-paced technique which changes the theme of the film dramatically. Rather than a sense of disorder, chaos and mayhem, Zeffirelli uses techniques that make the film seem much more civil, almost as though he is making the film for a targeted audience of the 14th Century. ...read more.


Zeffirelli used old, traditional music to open the film but tended to rely on sound effects (screaming, running, dialogue, etc) to make the audience feel as though they are a part of the scene. Zeffirelli used costume to show significance of the families, you can see by the type of clothes they wear that they are of great social significance in that day and age. Luhrmann, however, used other techniques to show significance, the Montague family had expensive, valuable possessions like cars and guns whilst the Capulets had a much more average look about them. I think this failed him in a sense because Zeffirelli tried to show that both families were of the same importance yet Luhrmann made it seem as though the Montagues were in a much higher position socially. In conclusion, the two films, although both based on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, use extremely different techniques (modernisation, traditionalism, etc) to portray different adaptations of the play. These effects could change the direction of the film completely; does the end result still have the same plot as Shakespeare's original concept? Both interpretations are unique and effective in their own way, managing to draw the audience into their own adaptation of the classic tragedy perfectly. Jason Lucas ...read more.

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