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DISCUSS THE CHALLENGES FACED BY A FILM DIRECTOR IN ADAPTING SHAKESPEARE'A WORK WHEN BRINGING IT TO THE BIG SCREEN, CONSIDER THE WAYS THAT BAZ LURHMAN MEETS THESE CHALLENGES THROUGH A DETAILED EXPLANATION OF THE OPENING SCENE OF ROMEO AND JULIET

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Introduction

Discuss the challenges faced by a film director in adapting Shakespeare's work to the big screen, consider the ways in which Baz Lurhman meets these challenges, through a detailed exploration of the opening scene of Romeo and Juliet. Many challenges arise when a film director is faced with the task of adapting a Shakespeare play to the big screen. The film to be a big success has to appeal to a wide range of people. The director will have to create a balance that will attract non Shakespeare fans to come and see the film but at the same time not to change it to much as to offend Shakespeare fans, who would not be impressed if the film did not do the play justice. Not only does the film have to appeal to these people but it has to appeal to a wide age bracket as well. To include all of these people in the succession of the film a number of techniques, devices and alterations to the film have to be made and used. These include language, the setting, music, time management, costumes, and actors/actresses. Without the appealing to a wide audience the Language is a huge challenge. In the Shakespearian time period the language is now referred to as 'Old English'. Not many people nowadays can easily understand the language used in Shakespeare's plays. ...read more.

Middle

These two families are introduced in a dramatic fashion. The first camera shot is panoramic and seen is two buildings, tall, modern skyscrapers. Above one of the buildings is the name Montague and the other Capulet. This shows that the families are very powerful. Both buildings are of equal height and so the power amongst the two families is also seen as equal. In between these two buildings is a statue of Jesus Christ. This gives the film a religious and epic feel. The opening scene resembles a real of news images and so it seems to appear that the battle between the two families is forever the top news stories, and it effects everyone. Amongst all of this images from throughout the film are shown to give the audience inside knowledge of what is to come. Out of these images violence is extremely highlighted in the sense that the images that really stand out are those of fighting, fireworks, guns and blood really stand out. After the first scene the two families are clearly identified. They are identified by the clever use of props, music, costume and stills. For example the Montague boys are identified by a number of things. The scene opens with the Montague boys cruising around the town in a convertible, with loud music playing. This music is Hip-hop type music and matches the boy's personality, relaxed and having fun. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example in Romeo and Juliet, Leonardo Dicaprio played the part of Romeo. Lurhman chose Leonardo Dicaprio because of his popularity amongst the young people from being in films such as Titanic and The beach. By using Leonardo this would have encouraged more people of a younger age to go and see the film. Other characters such Juliet was played by Clair Danes. She was chosen because of her innocent appearance and her unique to become Juliet. All the actors did the their parts justice and contributed the great box office success. The end of the first scene ends by 'The Prince' descending to the ground in a helicopter. By him coming down from the sky he represents power and authority. When the Prince demands the boys to stop fighting the weapons are dropped and they all back away from one another. There is a still when The Prince is first introduced to the audience with his character name at the side of him to tell the audience who he is. This theme of stills runs all the way through the opening scene and gives the audience opportunity to become familiar with the characters. I think with all the techniques above and different and creative use of devices like music, costume and props Baz Lurhman manages to create a film to please many different types of audiences. Through all the different techniques used I think Baz Lurhman has done an excellent job in involving the viewer and keeping their interest and making them want to carry on watching the film. ...read more.

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