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We have watched two versions of 'Romeo and Juliet'

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Introduction

We have watched two versions of 'Romeo and Juliet'. We have to investigate the difference between the opening sequences of them both. One was made in 1968 by a man called Franco Zeffirelli and was set in Verona, Italy, in the middle Ages. The other film was by a man named Baz Luhrmann; he made this film in 1996. This version was set in America and is very modern. The opening scene of any film is extremely important because it can play a major role in establishing key elements throughout the rest of the film. The beginning of a film gives the first impression to the audience so it is very important to get right. Romeo and Juliet is a romantic tragedy by the famous writer William Shakespeare. The story is based on two young people who fall in love with each other. The trouble thing is that their families are enemies. Romeo the boy that comes from a family called the Montague's and Juliet, (only 13) comes from a family called the Capulet's. The Montague family and the Capulet family detest each other. So Romeo and Juliet realising their family hating each other they decide not to tell their parents of their love for each other. The Luhrmann version starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. ...read more.

Middle

It makes the audiences want to keep on watching and find out more. It cuts from a black background straight to a close up of Jesus' head, making religious features remain in the viewer's mind. We see the statue of Jesus in between the twin towers, symbolising that Jesus is a referee between the two families. There is also a lot of religious imagery keeping with the original story set in Verona, Italy, a catholic country. The twin towers represent the two families both alike in status and in wealth. The family's feud is secured in the minds of the audience with lots of fast movement and editing of the Virgin Mary, police, cars, Verona beach, helicopters, businesses and dead bodies. There is a backdrop of religion, money and hate. This montage of imagery sets the scene for the audience. Characters are introduced like in a 20th century soap opera. Quotes from the prologue into a visual form helps the audiences view and supports their understanding of the play. More quick edits of television reports, magazines and newspapers implying that media is very important. The harsh, fast, dramatic music fades into modern 21st century music to begin the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

I am more used to seeing the ways the images are presented in his film in my everyday television programs so I was put off watching it I didn't find it boring or get drawn out of watching it. Whereas because of the lack of technology it makes the Zeffirelli version look boring to my generation. The Luhrmann version however will appeal to everyone. In conclusion, I think that the original text had to be edited in some way for to have worked as a film, especially as it was aimed at teenagers. Despite the heavy editing at some points during the play, and some scenes edited out to make the film, I don't feel that I have had any major understanding detracted, or indeed added. However, if I hadn't read the original text before I watched the film then I agree that I may have taken what I saw as being how William Shakespeare originally wrote the play. Especially since there is no hint of information at any point in the film that it is from an edited text. It even says on the front cover of the video and on posters etc. for the Luhrmann adaptation that it is "William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet". This was probably done so that no-one would think that Baz Luhrmann is trying to take credit for the play itself, however it could be confusing. Vikesh Shah ...read more.

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