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Comparing The Presentation Of Two Film Versions Of The Prologue To Romeo And Juliet

3017 words - 12 pages

Comparing The Presentation Of Two Film Versions Of The Prologue To Romeo And Juliet

I have been scrutinizing Baz Luhrmann and Franco Zeffirelli's unique
styles of interpreting Shakespeare's, late 1590 's, play prologue:
Romeo and Juliet. (To be truthful when I first found out I was going
to be studying Romeo and Juliet, I thought I was about to pull my hair
out! Image having to watch two Shakespeare play prologues, let alone
writing an essay comparing it! Surely you would die of boredom?
Wouldn't you?)

A prologue is commonly known as a foreword of an introductory material
of prose work, which in this case is a play. Shakespeare wrote his
prologue as an Iambic pentameter sonnet (a form that he is renound
for). To give his audience a sneak preview of what 'the two hours'
traffick of our stage…' would be in reference to.

Luhrmann and Zeffirelli are considered to be 'both alike in dignity';
they are both well-known directors of their era. Although well
established, their styles fluctuate dramatically. Their many
similarities consist of not being afraid to be unconventional.
Zeffirelli astonished his mainstream audience by casting two
unidentified actors to play the roles Romeo and Juliet: Olivia Hussey
and Leonard Whiting. In a similar vein, Luhrmann aimed his film
towards an audience who would not usually be associated with
Shakespeare; he cast two famous actors Claire Danes and Leonardo
Dicapario, to capture the attention of his new mainstream audience.
This was not as successful as Zeffirelli's interpretation, as the film
received four academy awards while Luhrmanns' received none. (Perhaps
Shakespeare's work should be left in the 16th century where it
belongs)!

Luhrmann is acknowledged for his fast - paced musicals using his
avant- garde, eccentric and contemporary techniques. By contrast
Zeffirelli is famous for his Shakespearean plays and traditional
manners of setting. Zeffirelli often remains true to Italian roots, as
his films are constantly associated to Italy in numerous ways.

The scenery of Luhrmann and Zeffirelli's construal differ drastically,
Luhrmann's adaptation made in the year 1996, sets his film in the
exciting, modern, urbanised city of Verona Beach, creating an chaotic
urban world familiar to a 20th century cinema audience, through it's
uses of media coverage of feud showing the scenes of violence and
chaos on the streets, who are drawn into garish and violent mythical
town of the feud ravaged world 'Verona'. Displaying a scenery of a
city where it would be impossible for a love story between 'two
feuding' family to be long lived as peaceful and violent world
collides, a somewhat apocalyptic setting is created. Alternatively
Zeffirelli's 1968 version is situated in the calm, relaxing, and
medieval atmosphere of Verona, Italy in the 16th century...

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