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GCSE Media Coursework

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BAZ LUHRMANN: ROMEO AND JULIET Venice Beach, California. Not the first thought that springs to mind when considering Shakespeare's classic tale of love and anguish. Yet director Baz Luhrmann has transformed this well-loved play into a 20th century romance, along with skyscrapers, pool tables and drugs. Why the Success? This rendition, of a plot known from New York to Timbuktu, proves that film versions of any book or play can create a masterpiece. Witty twists are encouraged by this innovative setting, engaging the mind of the viewer. 'Put up your swords', Benvolio orders, as the men bow to his sense and credibility and place their guns onto the ground. The modernisation appeals to us as a young audience and certainly entices our attention to the drama. Such a production of the film casts a completely different light on the play, as shown in the opening sequence: The first shot: a television tuning itself in. A news report follows, the anchor producing the exact words of the prologue. ...read more.


An eerie sense of destiny is added to the fear factor in this scene. Throughout the picture, the background is filled with religious symbolism, hinting that the characters are being watched from above. The interpretation of the balcony scene, set in the courtyard of the Capulet Mansion, is filled with statues of angels and other such creatures. The Capulet tomb is richly furnished with the candles you see in the image below and the religious icons in the background behind Juliet. The visual motifs add to the effect of the prologue and inevitability and one gets the sense that God is lurking above, viewing all things - fixing it so that the two lovebirds may never be together... Two-shots, camera angles that include two actors, frame both Romeo and Juliet, suggesting the relationship they both share. It is quite clear that these two are in love from the angles the camera takes and the positioning of the actors, close and huddled. ...read more.


I mentioned earlier that the actual ending to the play changes - not particularly useful! It is vital that you do not mention the movie but the drama itself and this can be pretty difficult if you have only seen Baz Luhrmann's version! The motion picture will be very useful to you, but ensure you read the script as well. You don't want a torrid time writing that essay! Overall Rating Romeo + Juliet is a superb interpretation of a Shakespeare classic. The intelligent use of religious symbols and smart changes in the plot ensure a feast of top-class entertainment. Viewers have plenty of cause to discuss the film and, therefore, I believe it will receive praise and attention for many a while. As a reference for GCSE, it could prove to be very useful, especially when gaining an understanding of the plot of the play. Always consult the text in essays, however and try not to think of the film when answering the question posed! Out of 10: 9/10 ...read more.

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