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How are the main themes presented in the opening sequence of Baz Luhrman's film of Romeo and Juliet

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Justin Coaley 10 c 4 February 2001 How are the main themes presented in the opening sequence of Baz Luhrman's film of Romeo and Juliet In Baz Luhrman's film of Romeo and Juliet the opening scene captures many if not all of the main themes in some form or another. Many of these themes are depicted with: clips from the film, news readings, news reports, sound effects, music and text. The opening sequence which lasts for two minutes shows these main themes: modernisation, conflict (family), violence, tragedy, death, romance, an arranged marriage and religious aspects. The film came out in 1997 and was completely modernised except for on thing, it was still in Shakespearian language. The original text was kept completely as it was written. The setting has moved to an urban and modern location, Verona Beach in America. The modernisation is the first theme you see in the film. This concept of modernisation in the opening scene is important because the whole film has been updated and if the opening scene was not modernised then it would not make sense and none of the things you see would fit in with the rest of the film. The modernisation makes it easier to understand and you still get a feel for the original because the script is the same. You see a woman newsreader to us this is nothing special or strange but, in Shakespearian times this would never of happened as it is an important job and Women were not allowed these. ...read more.


We can tell this by the fact that we hear police radios going off over the music. They are not very distinct but never the less they are there. The music is very powerful and is the kind of music for this setting. It is fast, powerful and very much gives the impression of a climax and excitement, which in films violence brings. Tragedy is another very powerful theme in the film and is also featured very much in the opening sequence of clips. Many of the family members and Mercutio are seen to be dying. Some of the clips you do not realise that they are representing tragedy but after you have seen them in the film you realise that they are. An example of this being the Capulet vault where Juliet is laid to rest. Before you see the film as a viewer you may be lead into thinking that this is a regular church. Tragedy plays a very important part in the film and a very powerful one as well. We can see that it is a very important part in the film from the clips of people dying that are part of the family. You see the vault of the Capulet family several times. A character who is focused on quite a lot in the sequence is Father Lawrence. He is the one who gives Juliet the poison to take. ...read more.


The camera spins around a certain point where the trouble appears to actually be around. That is the Vault of the Capulet and once again this is at the end of the film and therefore supports my theory of the tape being rewound. The cutting is very jagged and goes from one shot to another almost instantly. This is due to there not being much time to fit it all in and when you fast-forward or rewind a film the shots go very quickly between each other. A film trailer also has this kind of cutting to fit it all in within a short space of time. In those two minutes you see many main themes of the film all in such a short length of time with many hidden points to them. All the main themes link up to one another and in therefore link up the whole film. Therefore all the main themes are equally important as each other and all make the film what it is. The music also relates to many themes in one way or another. The idea of a choir singing it allows it to fit in to many themes. Therefore I think that piece of music was a very good choice as it can make you think about all the main themes at once. The visual imagery was also very good in those short two minutes. Most of which referred to religion in some form or another. ...read more.

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