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English Coursework: Romeo and Juliet

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ROMEO AND JULIET In Filming Shakespeare's play Davies said that "A film must open with immediate impact." Consider two filmed treatments of the Prologue and appraise the impact that they make. The two films, which of Zefferelli's and Luhrmann's were made at almost thirty years apart, the Luhrmann's version was made thirty years after Zefferelli's version. The two versions of the films are totally different from one another, apart from the practice of Shakespeare's verbal skill (speaking in rhythms/poetry). Each director had his own point of view in the film Romeo and Juliet, one director sets his version of the film in the advanced world and the other in the aged world, but both have still got the same story-line. In the Prologue Shakespeare tells us about the history of the two families and what has to happen in order for the two families to unite together. He tells us how a city called Verona in America got tattered separately by two families Montagues and Capulets because of the abhorrence with one another. The quarrel began so far back that neither one of them knows what began the controversy. He also tells us about how both the families' children fall in love and everything goes wrong; very wrong. "From forth the fatal lions of these two foes a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life". It was dangerous for people to work in the streets if they were not a member or a servant of one of the families. ...read more.


Because if we can picture and imagine it, we will also see it as if we are actually there, in the town. And when we picture things, the brain processes it faster, we tend to understand it faster and our imaginations take over. This is why we ask questions and create doubts in our inner mind, which makes us think of what would happen. The man continues reading the prologue softly and peacefully, music is being played in the background by medieval instruments. This was all said very slowly, paced, very serious and it was all said the same time as the music is being played. The way the Prologue is spoken didn't have the immediate impact on me because in the suppliant, it shows an old desolate place from the olden days which did not interest me to keep watching the film. I personally hate old films, and I do not like Shakespeare. In Luhrmann's version of Romeo and Juliet, the Prologue is spoken by an African-American woman. The Prologue is presented to us in three diverse ways, firstly, as a news broadcast, secondly, as a man's voice with more drama than Zeffirelli and thirdly, by the sequence of the text that appears on the screen. The Prologue shows a TV screen with a pitch black background. The TV screen shows the news being broadcasted, whereas in Zeffirelli's version of Romeo and Juliet it is set in the olden days and then women were not allowed on stage. ...read more.


The very hot weather is important to this play, because sometimes the hot weather frustrates people and makes them much more feasible to fight. The title and graphics in Zeffirelli's version of Romeo and Juliet is black and white at the beginning of the film which just shows us that the film is from the olden times and is set in the distant past. Then they show insipid colours and murky dust as if a war had just been fought. The lettering is outmoded and the words are in old English. It has the sun scenery behind it which symbolises the way of living in the distant past. The other writing that comes up on the screen looks as if it is dilapidated and is handwritten. He makes the lettering look old by mixing the upper and lower case, which gives us the feeling that the play is old. He chooses this lettering so you get the idea that the film is set in the olden days because of the worn- out lettering and the style of the text. In Luhrmann's version of Romeo and Juliet the print that is used is white on black and in modern font, with serifs. They showed the writing at the important parts of the Prologue. Some parts were recurring so you get the idea in your head that it was important, and for impact, like "In Fair Verona". At the last bit coming on the screen he used, red ampersand, and the "t" that looked like a gravestone, which is meant to give you a message of the plot ending, that Romeo and Juliet are dead. DAVID ADEROJU 10R 1 ...read more.

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