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Male Representation In The Two Film Versions Of The Play Romeo And Juliet

2303 words - 9 pages

Male Representation in the Two Film Versions of the Play Romeo and
Juliet

The Opening

The opening of both versions of this piece sets the president for what
follows, the Luhrman version perhaps more so than Franco Zefferelli's
attempt. They display glimpses of what is to come, drawing the viewer
deeper into the story.

The amalgamation of multiple 'Big Close Ups' and bird's eye shot, as
well as the incorporation of a masterful music score, serve to create
a genius piece of cinematic production for the opening scene. Not only
that, but the scenes presented in the shots are chosen specifically to
give an uninformed viewer an insight into the turbulent nature of this
story; to settle any misgivings the audience may have at the mention
of Shakespeare. A male viewer would certainly breath a sigh of relief
at the sign of someone getting shot at. Luhrman has chosen to include
the Chorus, a popular theatrical device of the Shakespearian era taken
from famous Greek tragedies, in the form of a newsreader from a news
program, which is an image very familiar to the intended audience. The
Chorus uses the original text, superimposed over flashes of gangland
violence, to create a subtext that becomes embossed on the viewer's
interpretation of the rest of the film. As opening sequences go, this
one could be considered a masterpiece of modern cinema.

Franco Zefferelli has not invested as much importance in the opening
of his production. He has instead decided to go with a theme to suit
the mode of his film. The hazy, sweeping, classical view of a
Renaissance Italian city, presumably constructed on computer from
paintings and the like, would appeal to the traditional theatre-goers
who packed the cinemas to see this film. The Chorus is present, but
only in the faceless guise of a narrator. An audience already familiar
with the original text would be disappointed with anything less.

The Market Place - Act 1, Scene 1
=================================

The opening scene in the Luhrman version is set in a typical U.S
petrol station. It is a busy and open area, much like the market
setting portrayed in the original script. This is typical of Luhrman's
cinematic adaptations that run throughout the film; modernising the
original setting without losing the feeling of authenticity. A market
square in modern America would only confuse the audience. In the
Zefferelli version, the director has tried to replicate the setting
and atmosphere of the original, using a typical market square from the
time that the play was written; this would seem to the audience as a
more 'realistic' version of the original text. At the start of the
scene in the Luhrman version we see the first of our families, the
Montagues. They seem like typical American youngsters having fun in
their car with some...

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