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How does Baz Lurhmann use film techniques to make Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' more accessible to a teenage audience?

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Introduction

How does Baz Lurhmann use film techniques to make Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' more accessible to a teenage audience? 'Romeo and Juliet' has been recreated many times over the years, but the most interesting, emotional, and affective, in my opinion is the production by Baz Lurhmann. He was very brave in doing this, as most people would not want him to ruin the original by Shakespeare, but he did a brilliant job of it. Baz Lurhmann used media to make the film more accessible for a teenage audience. He used media at the start, at the prologue to draw the audience in, and then throughout the rest of the film to keep the audience interested. I will be explaining what modern day references he used, the different film genres he used, modern day music and clothing, language and the use of symbolism. I will be using a few particular scenes to describe in more detail, being the prologues, the gas station scene, and the party. Teenager would normally find Shakespeare off-putting because of the language that is used; they find it too complex and too unlike the language that they are used to, the difficult plots, but when you actually read some of his plays, I think they aren't as complex as people think they are. ...read more.

Middle

The most used one is medium, when we see both families in their cars, which they didn't have in the written play, and there are also number plates, so this makes it a lot easier to understand, even though it is still in Shakespearian language. The costume that is worn is very modern, the Montagues wear decorative shirts that are open, and the Capulets wear smarter clothes, like the Mafia would. There are also more genres used, action and adventure when there are the car chases, and comedy, with the way that the Montagues act, when they dance in front of the nuns, and the way they react when they see the Capulets behind. Love is also used, as Romeo falls in love with Juliet, but cannot be with each other, because of their families. The music reaches a deafening crescendo as this scene climaxes and Benvolio and Tybalt stand screaming at each other in the street, guns aimed and ready to fire. In 'Romeo and Juliet' the language stays Shakespearian, but Lurhmann uses imagery to interpret what the words mean, to make it more understandable for the younger audience. He uses facial expressions, exaggerated actions, farce, and tone of voice to help you understand what is going on. It could have been in any language; because the film is so visual you would understand it. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lady Capulet is Cleopatra, and Lord Capulet is Julius Caesar. Paris is an astronaut, which symbolises the 'all American hero'. More symbolism used is when Romeo is on one side of the fish tank, and Juliet is on the other. The fish tank represents the feud going on between the families, and they can see each other, but cannot be with each other. Fire and hearts are used a lot; fire represents the hate between the families, and the hearts represent the love between Romeo and Juliet. It is very ironic that he puts pictures of the Virgin Mary and child on weapons of violence, i.e. guns. There is also a statue of Christ in between the Capulet building and the Montague building. He uses lighting a lot, for example, at the Capulet Ball, it's bold and bright, to convey the feeling of the characters, and that they are all excited and happy. During the pool scene the lighting is pastel blue, because it is reflected off the water, and gives the atmosphere a romantic mood. He uses pathetic fallacy a lot, like when there is an argument at the beach, you can see a storm brewing, like the characters feelings, and it is raining when Romeo kills Tybalt, Luhrmann uses water in these scenes to show that it symbolises life, and love. I think that this movie was a big success with teenagers, and Baz Luhrmann is a brilliant director in doing what he did. ...read more.

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