Romeo and Juliet

Visual Overlay director distorts text – “reading” of playsame with performances, but captured to watch again and again in a film
Zefirelli’s period drama (1968) – set in fifteenth century Verona, like the play-Cuts 70% of the text (both films do)-all of the words are Shakespeare’s
Baz Luhrmann’s modern adaptation (1996) -Refer’s to Zefirelli’s-Make’s point about visual overlay by referencing the 1st film. Eg opening shot from Helicopter harks from Zefirelli’s operatic style shots from Both use actors/voiceovers of people who won’t appear again, like in the play. (there is a chorus)
Setting Zefirelli and Shakespeare: Verona, ItalyLuhrmann: Verona Beach, hip city for the more modern outlook to which Luhrmann aspired.
Luhrmann intended it for a sophisticated audience Visual tricks, advertisements – shakespeare quotes eg “Add fuel to your fire.” Also quotes from other plays: “Hubble bubble toil and trouble” (As said by Capulet boy at the petrol station) is from Macbeath
Capitalist society Use of swords – gun is called a swordFamilies have businesses and are businessmen, they are rivals and honour comes from their success. In Zefirelli’s society, the parental feud adhere’s to 15th century feudal society. Luhrmann has transferred this feud into a modern capitalist society.
Feud Racial differences: Latina Capulets vs distinctly wasp Montagues (fashions – though a statement, not nec. social)Gang war – car, weapons – something we can appreciate today, read it in papers. This is reflected in newspaper headlines (Shakespeare quotes)
Comedy aspects Old lady beating Sampson MontaguePlays reknown romantic balcony scene for laughs – Romeo falls in the water
Our generation can read film like literature Spaghetti western – music, shots, boots, cigarettes and guns-Actors very conciously acting the showdown.Visual overlay – proposes specific readingLuhrmann does more than this – he assumes that the audience had a cultural awareness (just as Shakespeare would have)
Juliet/ teenagers Zeffirelli film: Old fashioned/younger. Teenagers thought to be force to change the world. 60s anti-Vietnam war slogan: make love, not war. Teenagers reflect this, rebel against archaic parents.Luhrmann: modern, can look after herself. Teenagers are a problem: Romeo on drugs colours the way “love at 1st sight” presented. Party music: young hearts run free. Young people are free spirited and a problem.
Music Both contemporary and classical (Wagner)Noteably no Latina music – Capulets allude to Mafia – tanned, italianised accents. Luhrmann doesn’t want this to become a theme. He wants the gangs to be about fashion/masculinity – race not an issue on Luhrmann’s play.
Religious symbolism Crosses everywhere and characters wear madonnas.Juliet’s angel cross – ironic, or family’s vision? (Angel and knight – saviours of families – future force? Reference to 60s attitudes and thus Zefirelli film. and portraying role they have been given in worldly legend.Man who provides drug for Juliet to pretend she’s dead is a drug grower with a cross tatooed on his back. In Z’s film he’s a friar. Ironic, cynical view of institutions
Paris Both films ignore the fact that Romeo kills Paris in the play.He is played ironically, made to look ridiculous. Rich boy supposed to marry Juliet.
Fish tank scene/WATER Seeing each other through waterSymbolic- lovers separated by invisible wall.Repeated later with balcony scene- falls into pool. Takes for granted you know the famous love scene and plays it for laughs.Again at end of film in imaginary way when dead.
Lives Zefirelli – R and J live in a bubble – protectedLehrmann – more modern – they don’t
Actors Z – 2 unknown actors. 1st time in history that they were played by people of ages they were supposed to be. Before – played by people with a lowest combined age of 76. Outrage – couldn’t be shown in America. Laws about girls under 21 being shown naked/kissing.L- lovers more mature and worldly. “Attractive jadedness”So which are more modern?Z- less adapted – groundbreaking and modern relative to time.L – more adapted so modern?

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