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Rome and Juliet

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Introduction

How does Baz Lurhman use media techniques and production devices to present the first and final meetings of the characters Romeo and Juliet, in his 1997 adaptation of Shakespeare's text? Baz Lurhman's 1997 production of the film Romeo and Juliet, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, is a modern day interpretation of William Shakespeare's tragic love story, Romeo and Juliet. Old Shakespearian language is used in this modern day interpretation but the setting is contemporary, In contrast to its Elizabethan origin. The film is set in the futuristic Urban American backdrop of Verona Beach and follows the lives of two separate families, the Montague's and the Capulet's who are constantly feuding and fighting with each other. Juliet is from the Capulet family who are a Latin-American-Mexican ethnic group and are dark featured, speak with accents and are surrounded by idols of Catholicism. Romeo of the Montague's is from an Anglo-Saxon Protestant working class family depicted in the film as beach and surfer gangs. Romeo and Juliet cause more conflict between the two feuding families when their love for each other is found out. The plot involves a tense build up of hatred between these families and deepens when the main characters, Romeo of the Montague's and Juliet of the Capulet's fall in love leading to a tragic finale. ...read more.

Middle

The costumes used for the main characters are a metallic suite of armour depicting a medieval knight for Romeo and a pure white angelic dress with wings attached for a celestial being. Romeo's costume would indicate that he was Juliet's knight in shining armour and her saviour and in contrast Juliet was an angelic like being and a pure virgin. DiCaprio whisks Danes into an elevator to steal a private moment where they can share a kiss and Lurhman the director uses this as a focal point in this scene with clever camera use as the camera moves 360 degree's around the characters as they kiss, which has a dizzying effect symbolising their magical feelings and emotions at their first kiss. The interior design of the elevator in pure white and gold keeps with the theme of Claire Danes in her angelic costume because with the clever spinning shots in the white backdrop of the elevator it projects a heavenly theme, and as the doors of the elevator close a sense is given to the audience of closing of from all of the evils of the outside world and its distorted society. In contrast Baz Lurhman completely changes the mood from the closeness of the couple in the elevator and distances them from one another cleverly using a staircase as a prop to place DiCaprio completely opposite Danes using a high angle shot emphasising to Romeo that Juliet position in society is much higher than his and that there is clearly a divide between them. ...read more.

Conclusion

The director uses close up shots and extreme close up shots in this scene to show both fear and sadness in the two main characters at this the worst moment of their lives. The audience can relate to the emotions that the main characters are feeling at this tragic time because of these close up shots. Baz Lurhman also uses slow motion to emphasise dramatic moments such as the scene where Juliet is picking up the gun to kill herself this is enhanced with the music silencing at the same time and so the audience is completely captured in this moment as it awaits the climax of the tragic scene. In the final flashback scene Lurhman uses small clippings from the lives of the two lovers together and shows the divide is finally broken between the two families but also that the two main characters can finally be together in death with no prejudice which he emphasises with a small recap scene of the two of them falling into water together and embracing, no longer having a barrier between them. In conclusion we can see that Baz Lurhman has used costumes, colours, various lighting moods, props, both character positioning and camera positioning as well as the all important sound track to create both atmosphere and symbolic meaning so that the audience can relate to this beautiful and timeless love story. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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