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The Generation Gap:comparing the starts of two film versions of Romeo and Juliet

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Introduction

The Generation Gap: comparing the starts of two film versions of Romeo and Juliet Romeo and Juliet is a timeless, classical love story written by the unmatched author, William Shakespeare. Many of Shakespeare's works are considered literary classics, but none are more loved, well known than Romeo and Juliet. This play masterfully tells the love story of two teenagers in Verona, Italy. The title characters, Romeo and Juliet, are members of two feuding families. Romeo is a Montague and Juliet is a Capulet. There are different stylistic ways of portraying Romeo and Juliet, and the two most popular film versions render two very different styles of the Shakespearean classic. Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet was made in the 1960s, and is the film version most commonly shown in high school classrooms. The later film adaptation of this play is Baz Luhrmann's Romeo+Juliet was filmed in 1996. This version sets the classic story in a modern day setting. Both versions, though different stylistically, hold true to the original story line of the play. Zeffirelli's is the older and more classical version of Romeo and Juliet. He made the directorial decision to set the film in Verona during the medieval period, as was the original Shakespearean play. ...read more.

Middle

Luhrmann's interpretation of Romeo and Juliet is much more romantic than Zeffirelli's. He interprets the play as a story of romantic love rather than teenage lust. The wedding night scene in Luhrmann's production was much more about the romance of the moment than the act of sex itself. For example, Juliet's bedroom was adorned with lit candles. Even the suicide scene had a much more romantic quality to it. Romeo gently brushed Juliet's face and her hands before drinking poison. The most romantic moment of the suicide scene is when they make eye contact, and share one final kiss before Romeo dies. This did not happen in any recorded versions of the play, but it left the audience with much more of a sense of satisfaction. With this ending we are left to bask in the afterglow of their romantic love. Baz Luhrmann's production just seems to be more of what Shakespeare would have intended Romeo and Juliet to be. In both films the Montague's and Capulet's are shown wearing distinctively coloured attire as though to represent their personalities. In Zeffirelli's film the Capulets are wearing bright colours red and yellow and the Montague's are wearing dark colours - for example purple. In Zefferilli's film the Capulets seem to be the ones who want to start a fight, always edgy, emotionally volatile. ...read more.

Conclusion

My interest was maintained in the fight as bullets were being fired and people were jumping around and slow motion was employed to show Tybalt killing a servant from the Montague house. There are similarities and differences between the two most popular film versions of this classic play, but both hold true to the language and story Shakespeare intended. While Zeffirelli's version held true to the way the play has been written, only to take liberties with some of the dialogues, Luhrmann set the play in modern times. With his updated version, Luhrmann was able to bring Romeo and Juliet to an entirely new and younger audience. He directed the film so that today's teenagers could relate to it. While the language may have confused some of today's teenagers, the majority of them understood the story. The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet is a timeless, romantic story that everyone at some point can relate to. This is not a fairytale - it doesn't have a happy ending, but it is a love story. Romeo and Juliet is a play that can be updated time and time again without ever losing its original luster, and brilliance. I can only hope that when my children are teenagers, another inspired director will bring this love story to life again. *************************************************************** By Eran Saputhanthiri 10KM ...read more.

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