How Does Baz Luhrmaun Use Presentational Devices to Reveal the Qualities of the Rival Montague and Capulet Gangs in the Opening Scene of "Romeo and Juliet"?

Topics: Family, Romeo and Juliet, Romeo + Juliet Pages: 5 (2022 words) Published: January 1, 2006
In the opening scene of the modern adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet", the qualities of the feuding families: The Montagues and The Capulets are successfully exposed to the audience by the use of presentational devices. The director, Baz Luhrmann, has paid deliberate attention to these areas, which successfully portray the rival family member's temperaments. The use of different lighting, colour, music, sound effects, costume and make up are applied to represent the different families to show the distinction of the two. Areas such as framing, location, camera angle and movement help to express the diversity of the two families, making it apparent to the audience the existence of the two families resentment towards each other. This essay will explore and reveal how the use of presentational devices has provided a successful interpretation for the audience, so that the two families similarities and differences are evident apparent. The film, directed by Baz Luhrmann, has deliberately been set in modern time, rather than in the 1600's, when it was originally set. This has been done so that it appeals to the modern-day audience. To successfully portray that the film is set at present time, Luhrmann has set the location of the film at Verona Beach, USA, rather than the original setting of Verona, in Italy. The setting, of Verona Beach, is a city where aspects, such as gun crime and gang warfare are prolific. The setting there lends itself to conflict and power, which is demonstrated by the tall buildings, displaying the rival family's names on. The images of the tall buildings, which dominate the city skyline, show how the two families divide the city. Luhrmann has purposely situated the scene here, as it uses the audience's cultural knowledge to display the effects that Luhrmann has aimed to achieve. The opening scene is set in a petrol station. This setting allows for the audience an indication of the hostility that is to follow. Props such as saloon like doors and swinging signs are reminiscent of those in saloons. Typically, western films, in such settings, contain fights; subsequently saloon settings are associated with violence. There is a sign that displays the message, "Add more fuel to your fire". This message becomes very relevant to the scene. There are continuous references to fire, for example, when the Capulets light their cigars. This has built up tension throughout the scene. The fire is a symbolic image of power, and so has been used to represent the importance and dominance of the two families in the city. At the end the audience finally view the fire that has been the crescendo throughout the scene. Luhrmann uses freeze frames with the character in the frame, and their role in the story. This is so that the audience can recognise the character, as the story progresses. Baz Luhrmann has created a very evident dissimilarity between the two families, by deliberately contrasting the skin colours. The Montagues are fair with naturally pale skin and blond hair, although some members have dyed pink hair. The Capulets, contrastingly, have dark olive skin with dark hair, with a look suited to an Italian. These vivid differences allow for the audience to recognise the characters easily. The first family encountered in the film are the Montagues. The Montagues enter the scene driving in a yellow car. The music used is upbeat hip-hop and this type of music is typically associated with adolescents. Luhrmann has amplified the lyrical content in parts of the music, for example the lyrics, "The boys! The boys!" are used for the effect to affirm the carefree and ruffian attitudes of the Montague boys. From this, the audience can already establish the youth like approach of the characters. The Montagues are a display of bright, bold, and garish colours. This advocates that the Montagues are young, carefree and unreserved. Luhrmann's use of costume: brightly coloured Hawaiian style clothing is an implication of their...
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