Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet Transformation
A hugely successful transformation of the complex written version to the action packed film took place when accredited writer Baz Luhrmann redefined the classic tale of Shakespeare’s Romeo And Juliet. Luhrmann and co-writer Craig Pearce were tenacious in deciding "to stick absolutely to the Shakespearean text, to keep as many of the Elizabethan customs as possible, such as a highly evolved code of etiquette and honor, even in the use of violence" in the context of a created world, based on twentieth century icon. They discovered that one of this century's most powerful and effective icons, the movies, best exemplify the notion. "There are textual facts in Romeo and Juliet, having to do with Elizabethan society, which exist in Mexico," Luhrmann explains. "For instance, during Shakespeare's time religion was very involved in politics; there was a very small percentage of great wealth and a large population of poor; it was violent; and people were openly armed. We've interpreted all of these Elizabethan things in the context of the modern, created world. In fact, much of this occurs in modern-day Mexico, in varying degrees. You could actually set the piece in Mexico City itself and just play it. It has mysticism about it and, for me it's exotic. It has a music and magic to it. It's not Verona Beach, but it certainly had a lot of the elements to it." The costume party was a fabulous pretext for the romantic quality of the film; Romeo being the knight in shining armour, Juliet the angel that comes into his life, completely absorbing him like some fantastical being, driving his obsession with love. There were also a few clever imageries Luhrmann used to further show exactly what the situation was-which, to be honest is challenging for many younger readers of the Shakespeare novel, both in terms of the language used and the fact that it somewhat lacks in the nature of popular entertainment). These were: the fish tank which...
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