Literacy for Work and Community life
Text Analysis: Romeo and Juliet Film Response
In 1996, Australian director Baz Luhrmann decided to adapt Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet into his own style as a modern film. Romeo and Juliet is a story of how they met and fell in love with each other, but both tragically ended their lives due to their feuding families, the Montagues and the Capulets. In the prologue, it starts off with a newsreader on a TV, acting as Shakespeare’s narrator. The prologue and opening scene were significant because it showed the audience, right from the beginning, how deep the hatred was between the Montagues and Capulets, which focuses on the themes family feud and hubris.
Luhrmann uses a wide shot of skyscrapers, one belonging to the Montagues on one side of the street and the Capulets on the other side. This gives the audience a hint of what might be rivalry, hatred, and battle, which highlights the theme family ...view middle of the document...
This extreme close up repeated a few times going back and forth from Tybalt and Benvolio which increased the intensity between them due to their hatred which also highlights the film family feud.
Romeo attended the party at the Montague’s mansion which was a masked ball. This is an extremely significant scene because it was when Romeo and Juliet officially met and fell in love with each other. When they first met, it was through an aquarium while gazing at the fishes in which water was represented as a motif, a film technique. It symbolised the purity and innocence of their love, and is represented as a common element that Romeo and Juliet both share. It also symbolized rebirth, and a new beginning of their love which highlights the theme of passionate love. Another film technique used to highlight that same theme is the use of diegetic sound. As Romeo and Juliet encounter through the aquarium, in the background there is a woman singing for an audience. Baz Luhrmann made the film so that when the couple meet for the first time, all chaotic noises seem to stop and angelic singing can be heard at the same time which makes the scene seem magical and romantic.
Baz Luhrmann used costumes as a film technique which is very significant in this scene as it is a masked ball, where everyone dresses up which can show foreshadowing and parts of their personality. Juliet is portrayed as a simple, pure, and innocent person with her white angel costume and wings. Her hair was put into what seems like a shape of a halo and Romeo was dressed as a knight, traditionally a symbol of loyalty, purity, honesty, and morality. Both Juliet and Romeo’s costumes represent that they have a pure soul, but it could also be seen as a foreshadowing for their death as knights were associated with violence and angels do not belong on the Earth. These costumes highlighted the theme passionate love because it showed how Romeo and Juliet’s character suit well for each other. Overall, Baz Luhrmann uses a variety of film techniques to highlight a theme, in the first scene it focused on the theme family feud, and in the second passionate love.
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