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Romeo and Juliet

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A comparison of the two film versions of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. "Romeo and Juliet" was written by William Shakespeare in 1595. During the years past, film directors have used a wide range of techniques to bring the story of the star crossed lovers to our modern stages. Franco Zeffrelli directed a version of the play in 1968 as well as Luhrmann in 97; both directors had a common goal to grasp our attention with a story of the past. Both films were set "in fair Verona" and although they follow the same story line they are both very unique using lots of different media techniques. I will compare the director's techniques use of characterization and use of sound and visuals for impact. I will closely analyse the films presentation of Act1 scene 1. The directors have completely different openings to the film. Franco Zeffrelli's all important opening shot is a medium close up zooming of the sun; this is a really important shot. Zeffrelli used the sun as his opening shot because later on in the film Romeo says that Juliet is his sun this shows comparison. Luhrmann's version however uses the prologue as his opening shot. ...read more.


Although the two films were set in two different time periods they both used the same Shakespearian language. I liked the language in the Zeffrelli film because it fitted with the setting and time period but I thought it was brave of Luhrmann to incorporate the old language into the new film. I did not agree with Luhrmann he had the correct cast, the correct techniques, the correct clothing but he had the wrong language from the film. Considering that the film's target was children of my age, 14-18 years, I found it even harder to follow the story because I was trying to understand the language as well. This could have been Luhrmann's undoing, I would have enjoyed the film a lot more if I could understand what the characters where saying. In any film sound, music and language play a crucial role. Music and sound adds emotion to a scene, you can't think off jaws without the sound effects. Or Greece lightning without the music. In these to films it is no different, music and sound adds emotion. In the Zeffrelli version the music is mainly by Nino Rota an Italian composer. ...read more.


Zaffrelli's audience would have especially liked the opening to the film using different camera angles and icons to delicately open the story of the star crossed lovers, keeping the audience hooked d with the music and then shaking them with the intense fight scene. Luhrmann's film however was targeted towards teenagers so he used lots of violence and gang culture to make his film appeal to the youngsters of today. Again he used different camera shots but also used special effects and sound to create a dramatic effect on the audience. Luhrmann successfully kept the audience on edge and awake. I think Zaffrelli was trying to make his audience feel calm and peaceful at the very beginning of his film and then to shock them with the actors realistic fighting. Luhrmann used fire and guns to excite his audience keeping the awake and alive he successfully brought his film to audiences of the younger generation. I liked both openings to the films; I liked the calm before the storm during the Zaffrelli opening but thought it needed a bit more fighting and action, being a typical 15 year old boy, I liked the opening to the Luhrmann film he showed great courage using the older language whilst still using modern action and violence. Overall if I had to choose a film I would pick Baz Luhrmann's action Romeo and Juliet. ...read more.

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