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How does Baz Luhrmann use the language of film to create the imagery and themes of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in a convincing modern setting?

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Introduction

How does Baz Luhrmann use the language of film to create the imagery and themes of Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' in a convincing modern setting? The director Baz Luhrmann uses a blend of influential music and adept editing, to create an explosive modern version of Shakespeare's classic play. Baz Luhrmann wanted to keep the traditional language but also give the film a more contemporary feeling. The scene I am going to concentrate on is the Capulet Ball, Act 1 Scene 5. To show the sheer size of the of the Capulet mansion, the director uses a wide angle shot on the mansion as the guests start to arrive. The decorations are well over the top with use of balloons and glitter. This emphasizes the Capulets wealth and their desires to self indulge. Loud dance music is played to put across the party atmosphere to the audience. ...read more.

Middle

All the costumes were designed by Prada and Dolce & Gabbana to give a more modern feeling. The self indulgence of the Capulets is showed at the beginning of the party. Smart editing shows drunks, dancers, singers and loud people. It's a fusion of colour and sound which gives the impression of the drug which Romeo has taken. Both Lord and Lady Capulet can be seen kissing other people. This shows the audience the fake love aspect of the party. This is used to contrast deliberately with the first meeting of Romeo and Juliet. After indulging in the party activities Romeo goes to clear his head. A shot through water shows Romeo immersing his head in water to cool off. He takes off his mask and the camera lingers on it to reinforce the casting off of a false image. ...read more.

Conclusion

Other party goers are blurred out as the camera concentrates on Romeo and Juliet. At this point Paris is dancing with Juliet to slow music which represents Romeos feelings. Paris is made to look stupid as he cannot find the rhythm for the music. This adds humour to the scene. After Juliet and Paris stop dancing, the camera follows Romeo movements and gives the impression of a third person. The Capulets lift is used as the backdrop for Romeo and Juliet to be together and shut off from the world. When they kiss and embrace in the lift they ascend which reflects their feelings at that moment. The director uses the Pantrack technique to involve the audience in the lover's passion. The nurse again separates them and the staircase is used to reflect their feelings. While Juliet ascends the staircase the camera slowly pans away from Romeos face which shows despair. The staircase reflects the gulf between them. ...read more.

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