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Discuss Baz Lurhmann's Interpretation Of "Romeo + Juliet". Is It Sucessful?

1471 words - 6 pages

The tragic love story, Romeo and Juliet, by Shakespeare was performed a few centuries ago in the Elizabethan theater. In 1996, the movie, Romeo + Juliet, directed by Baz Luhrmann was shown in our modern cinema. Using the same plot, language and theme, Luhrmann presents the audience with a new, yet controversial interpretation of the play. Baz Luhrmann's film Romeo + Juliet is a very successful adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy. Luhrmann retains the same values and ideas of the play. By changing some elements of the play and incorporating modern and pop-culture elements into his film, Luhrmann made this classic love story relevant to modern viewers yet still focus on the same ideas that Shakespeare play conveyed to an Elizabethan audience. Luhrmann has successfully made use of music, characterization, visual imagery and a mix of genres to shape our perception of themes, setting and characters.The Prologue sets the scene in both the play and the film. In Romeo + Juliet, Luhrmann presents the Prologue as a news bulletin that gives the events a feeling of urgency. But the news broadcaster still retains the Chorus's function of telling the audience the events before they happen. Luhrmann presents Verona as a modern city, full of chaos and violence. In the opening scene, a series of aerial shots are taken across the cityscape, showing human casualties, police cars and helicopters, all these troublesome are watched over by the enormous statue of Jesus. The fair Verona that was once located in Italy has now moved to South America where it is closer to the Americans viewer and also has a strong Roman Catholic influence. Luhrmann also added many other settings into the movie, one of the most significant being the Verona Beach. The beach, through its connection with the sea becomes a place for change. Luhrmann uses the beach as the place where worlds of love and conflict take place. The beach also evokes the American's famous city on the beach, Miami which depicted urban glamour and crime. It is appropriate for Luhrmann to choose a modern city as the setting for his film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet to present a chaotic world familiar to the people of the 20th century, particularly the American audience. The setting successfully draws the audience into the violent world of the film. The repeated use of religious figures throughout the film compensate for the fact that modern society is not based strongly on religion.Luhrmann plays around with a range of camera techniques. He uses aerial shot, close up, fast forward, flashbacks to enrich the feelings and atmosphere in each scene. For example, in the preparation of the Capulet's ball, he speeds up the motion of Lady Capulet, adding a sense of humor to the film. This Italian comedy is called comedi del'arte. Luhrmann also uses some special effects, for example, splashing colors on the slogan scenes and adding the storm when Mercutio is murdered. The cinematography and the editing are a distraction from the...

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