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Baz Luhman And A More Accessible Romeo And Juliet To A Modern Teenage Audience

1359 words - 5 pages

Baz Luhman and a More Accessible Romeo and Juliet to a Modern Teenage Audience

Romeo and Juliet was written during the fifteenth century and the
language and style is Elizabethan. Today the language is seen as
incomprehensible to a young audience. This can cause many problems
because Shakespearean texts are compulsory for students to study
during their education. Usual responses to Romeo and Juliet are very
negative as teenagers find the story inaccessible. However the
essential storyline could be aimed at a young audience with themes of
forbidden love, violence and family feuds. Therefore the main problem
facing Luhrmann's film was not the plot but the language.

Luhrmann's film interpretation of Romeo and Juliet compensates for the
setbacks produced through language because Luhrmann has enclosed
modern day scenes, clothing and music to create a more exciting and
enthralling film, whilst still using the original Shakespearean
language from the text. This makes Luhrmann's adaptation of the play
very different from other versions on the market. It shifts away from
interpretations such as Zefferelli's, which does not meet teenage

The way in which Luhrmann has gone about altering Romeo and Juliet
means that the film is more appealing towards a younger generation and
therefore is targeted at the people who wouldn't normally be
interested in Shakespeare. This is because the action, violence and
style used by Luhrmann, gives teenagers something to relate to, as it
includes something which many young people are interested in or
something which they have encountered.

The first impression of a film is very important to the audience and
Luhrmann had to grab the audience's attention at the start in order to
keep viewer interested throughout. Therefore the opening scene of
Luhrmann's film is very fast moving in places, with links towards
other genres of film. Music also plays a big role, but the main
feature is the mixture of modern day elements contrasted with the
Shakespearean language.

The scene opens with a yellow open-top sports car. The frame freezes
to show that the people inside the car are 'the Montague boys,' this
is done in the style of a Sergio Leone Spaghetti western. The car is
driving along an American highway and enters a gas station. Here the
Montague's encounter the Capulet's also in a sports style car. A brawl
starts between them and guns are used. Luhrmann has linked the guns
with the script by inscribing the word 'sword' onto the guns, this
allows the line 'put up your swords' to remain in the film but also
means that the modern plot is not lost. As the scene continues
Benvolio falls to the ground as the Capulet's try to shoot. Abram and
Balthasar then hastily drive out of the gas station trying to avoid
getting injured but leaving a trail off...

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