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Romeo and Juliet - Luhrmann's interpretation.

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Introduction

Romeo and Juliet The famous play 'Romeo and Juliet' was first written in the late sixteenth century by the well known play wright William Shakespeare. This beautiful love story was set in 'fair Verona', however in the modern film version it is set in America, in a fictional place called Verona Beach. The play describes 'the fearful passage of their death - mark'd love' As a film director, Luhrmann seems to want to bring the story of 'Romeo and Juliet' up to date and therefore makes decisions about setting, music and film techniques. Luhrmann made the choice to re-create the unforgettable tragic love story and knew that he would have to modernise it slightly so that it appealed to today's audience. Luhrmann invited cars, traffic, drugs, newspapers, news reporters, televisions, television cameras and a lot of other every day normalities into the film to make it seem like it was happening today during our own lives. He also brought in popular music such as rock, love ballads and a small amount of pop. The film included love, hate and action so the majority of the audience would have been teenagers. I think Luhrmann knew that and therefore knew how to change certain parts of the play so that the audience was kept interested. He even changed lines of the play to fit the characters personalities. This occurred when the 'Montague Boys' see the girls from the ladies college. The lines which are transformed are 'tis known I am a pretty piece of flesh...' ...read more.

Middle

Next the two corporations are shown again to lay emphasis on the fact that they are business rivals. Then quite unexpectedly all the lines of the prologue that had been read earlier flash up on the screen one by one in different types of font in white writing on a black background. This is very effective because you pick out the key words you were shown earlier in the newspaper headlines and therefore think you understand the basics of the storyline. There is then a lot of fast inter-cutting of later scenes and the music is rapidly building up. It abruptly stops and the title 'Romeo and Juliet' crashes onto the screen. It then slides off to reveal the next scene. The extra inter-cutting traps the audience and it is then when they become involved in the storyline themselves. The crashing title is almost a break to separate two scenes so that the audience does not get confused and loose interest. This next scene begins with the Montague 'boys' driving quite fast down a highway shouting in a rather childlike way. They are all wearing Hawaiian shirts and one of them has pink hair! The simple use of colours indicates the basic personalities of the gang instantly. Their car is a bright yellow convertable, and when they are seen a title comes up beside them and there is a freeze frame while they are introduced as 'The Montague Boys.' The music changes to rock and the words 'The Boys, The Boys' are said. ...read more.

Conclusion

This mood is then reflected back to the audience as they think that they can truly feel the emotions that they are watching. The fast inter-cutting makes the film very quick and exciting, the birds-eye scans of the city let you see the big picture and show you everything that is happening, the close ups show expressions of the characters in great detail and they also give you information. An example of this would be when the cars drive into the petrol station there is a close up of their number plates, this tells us, both, who is driving the car and, in some way, what to expect. The reason being, we know that they are rivals and the fact that they are both in the same place at the same time might cause some tension between them. The music also makes a large impact on the audience. The music was well chosen and is always appropriate. You will find when watching the film that it sets the scene before anything really happens. This helps to develop the anticipation of the audience, the different types of music indicate the different types of mood and scene that you expect. This film is exceptionally good quality, in my opinion. The film gives you all the information by showing you in camera shots or telling you without words just music. The techniques were used very effectively. I think Luhrmann truly did bring the beautiful story of 'Romeo and Juliet.' This story is truly timeless and with thanks to Luhrmann it will be remembered by the youth of today. Unfortunately they will always picture Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes as the characters nevertheless the story will never die. ...read more.

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