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Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet - Media Assignment By Antony Sehmar The classic world-renowned Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet has been adapted for the big screen and television on several occasions. Each director who has attempted to bring this film to life has added his own interpretation of the plot and choice of characters to represent the star crossed lovers. The two film versions to be compared are directed by Baz Lurhmann and the other by Franco Zefferelli. Baz Lurhmann's edition of Romeo and Juliet is undeniably the modern version of the two and was directed in 1997 with an unmistakable present day setting. Shakespeare's famous play is updated to the hip modern suburb of Verona still retaining its original dialogue. This idea of bringing Shakespeare into the twentieth century was a clear directorial success as it allowed young people to associate with Shakespeare, probably for the first time. In contrast Franco Zeffirelli's adaptation of the play was directed in 1968 and is seen as 'traditional'. It is set in the 16th century during the time that Shakespeare wrote the original play. Zeffirelli has appeared to minimise his director's poetic licence and the film is seen as a direct portrayal of the play, in order to show a sense of how Shakespeare would have imagined it to be. ...read more.

Middle

The Shakespearian language is used in the modern version so the two films didn't seem so different, and as it is a film based on a William Shakespeare play it is better to use his language as it has more meaning and a bigger impact than to use modern present day language. When the differences are contrasted between the two films it is more to do with the director's interpretation rather than the storyline to be followed. The types of shots and sound effects used are very different between the two versions. The plot and screenplay and dialogue are a similarity rather than a contrast which in itself is a rarity when different directors use a play as a basis for a film adaptation. The biggest emphasis that is duly noted between the two versions is that Baz Luhrmann's edition slightly exaggerates the actions of his actors. As this is the modern day version it would be more to engage the audience than to distance the film from the original play. Even though the two films are similar in terms of their context, the two films vary in many ways. The main difference is the time element. ...read more.

Conclusion

The fact that it is set in modern times is also a reason why I chose Lurhmann's edition as I could associate with the characters instead of the Zefirelli version that seemed a little distant. Luhrmann also used two well known actors for the main characters this again helped the audience in appreciating the film as there was already a sense of 'knowing' them. Even though the dialogue could seem a little confusing these actors carried the plot and ensured the audience knew what was to happen. On the other hand Zefferelli's version was too deep-rooted for my liking as it featured costumes and weapons from the past. The lack of sound effects and action would fail to entertain me. It appeared as a true reflection of the play but failed to engage me in the same way as Luhrmann's. It was minor affairs that made me believe that Lurhmann's film made Zefferelli's look inferior to his. For example, when Tybalt crushed his cigarette under his foot, you could hear it crumple and this adds the desired edge. Minor incidents like this made a scene tense or create a certain atmosphere which I think Zeffirelli failed to do, that is why I favour Baz Lurhmann's edition of Romeo and Juliet rather than Franco Zeffirelli's. ...read more.

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