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Using camera angles, soundtrack, costume, props and setting describe the world Baz Lurhman has created in Romeo and Juliet.

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Romeo and Juliet, a play by William Shakespeare and a film by Baz Lurhman is a tale of love, violence, chaos and tragedy. Originally set in Italy in Shakespeare's play, it is set in a mythical place in America, in Baz Lurhman's film. Lurhman chose to set the film in a mythical place simply because it would allow him to use his imagination to its fullest, making the place whatever and however he wished it to be. It also prevents viewers from stereotyping, anticipating, expecting and comparing the setting to a place they know of. Basing Romeo and Juliet in a real place would have restricted Lurhman from achieving the effect he wished to create. His use of contemporary weapons and costumes create a modernised version of Shakespeare's original which allows the viewers to identify with it. In fact Baz Lurhman has created a world of his own using the setting, the music, the costumes and props, the camera angles, the editing and lighting and colour to make Romeo & Juliet a true success. Setting plays a big part in influencing the viewer's feelings and ideas and building up the atmosphere. It is also quite varied to create contrast. The film starts with a dark room and a single T.V showing the news. As the camera zooms in, it focuses on the face of the statue of Jesus. Then it zooms out to reveal two buildings, both the same height but on opposite sides, one with the name Capulet on the top and one with Montague. This shows the viewers immediately the status of the two. Both equal and yet so different. The scenes then focus on the city. We see traffic, helicopters flying, tall skyscrapers, casualties and scenes of overall chaos. This world that the viewers are shown is a world of crime overwhelmed with violence and out of control people. Referring to the statue between the two buildings, the fact that the statue of Jesus is used holds a certain symbolism. ...read more.


The camera again focuses on Benvolio as he asks Tybalt for peace. The camera shifts to Tybalt's face, with an amused expression. "Peace-Peace, I hate the word, as I hate hell, and all Montagues." The camera seems to be focusing on his gritted teeth as he says each word with a passionate intensity. In the background we can hear the wind blowing and silence everywhere else. The camera then swiftly moves to the sign up at the petrol station 'Add more fuel to your fire'. The sign gives us the message that there is more to come. The camera moves back to focus on Tybalt as he moves his jacket aside to reveal his guns "Look upon thy death" with the picture of Jesus on his t-shirt. As Tybalt takes his gun out a boy screams out behind him. At this point everything seems to accelerate. Tybalt turns back swiftly and points the gun at the kid and says 'Bang', all the time which the music builds up so that the audience anticipate that he's going to shoot. The camera angles become sharp and fast, as the fighting starts, showing the urgency of the situation. As the two gangs shoot at each other the camera focuses on the sign again 'Add more fuel to your fire 'being shot at continuously. During the fight, the speed fluctuates a great deal, sometimes moving very fast with the movement of the camera very erratic and occasionally moving in slow motion. Although the editing makes this scene overall fast paced the camera centres on Tybalt several times, in slow motion, as he prepares to shoot. His movements are like a ritual which it seems he has performed many times. Every distinct movement is exaggerated. His taking his jacket off then taking his gun out and kissing it. The camera also focuses on his skills with the gun. He doesn't seem to be disturbed by the situation in the least. ...read more.


The music and the setting work well together to create a range of emotions. The costumes reflect each character's personality. There are some common themes which are emphasised through the use of props and images for example the image of Jesus shown in different forms such as the statue. The camera tends to focus a great deal on facial expressions of the actors which show us their inner feelings. The use of dialogue is limited in fight scenes but is very romantic in the sonnets. The editing style fluctuates throughout the film with some scenes being very speedy to some scenes being quite sluggish when certain actors speak their soliloquies or monologues. The lighting and colour used tend to reflect individual character's feelings and what they see when they look upon the surroundings and the activities around them. The way Baz Lurhman has created this film allows the audience to relate to it. It is something that the audience is familiar with. The making of this film also allows the audience to appreciate the work of Shakespeare even now, as a lot of the themes of the plays written by Shakespeare are timeless, such as Romeo & Juliet, which can be adapted to the modern era, whenever it might be, as the language can be made more understandable if the setting and the gestures used in the film by the director and the actors is familiar to the audience. This is what Baz Lurhman has done, hence making this film a success. Lurhman is famous for adaptations of many films and is well known to be an exceptional director. His most recent films include Moulin Rouge which again was a huge success. I think Romeo & Juliet is a very exciting film. Baz Lurhman has met his aim by capturing the essence of the original story and combining it with a contemporary location and style to produce a masterpiece. He has managed successfully to create a world with great contrast of love and violence which I think Shakespeare himself wanted to create. By Kausar Hussain 11S ...read more.

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