21 May 2013
Romeo and Juliet: Text vs. Films Comparison
From their representation of characters to their use of language, Zefirelli and Luhrmann take two very different approaches to Shakespeare’s second most famous theatrical work. The 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, is set to a more traditional idea. The historical architecture of these towns provides a somewhat more authentic feel to the film. The scenery as portrayed in the 1968 film is ‘correct,’ according to description provided within the text of Romeo and Juliet. The 1996 version, on the other hand, is a different story entirely. Set in a city that is made of different parts of Miami, Mexico City, and Veracruz, the story is given a modern feel. The use of modern clothing, as well as guns in place of swords, is also a definitive factor in the film. The gun, especially, seems to be a point of great interest in this more recent movie. Other factors play into this debate between traditional and modern setting, as well. It can be noted that both Luhrmann and Zeffirelli cast young, attractive actors in the roles of Romeo and Juliet. Another difference is the portrayal of characters. Zeffirelli’s Juliet is an active character, and great emphasis is placed upon her open expressions of desire. The setting in which she was placed at the Capulet ball only serves to reinforce this; displays of fruit and wine, lit archways, rich fabrics, and Juliet’s lavish red dress all point to Juliet’s sexuality. In fact, a good portion of the movie is devoted to the adolescent development in Juliet as she nears her fourteenth year. Luhrmann’s Juliet, however, is portrayed as a passive and rather inactive character. While she does take her place in the progression of the plotline, more attention is focused on Romeo and the roller coaster of his emotions. While the 1968 Romeo is displayed as a more romantic and sensual character, with his first shot being that of him...
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