From stage to screen.
(On Baz Luhrmann’s cinematic production)
As far as the cinematography came into being, attempts have been made to screen some of the Shakespeare’s plays. Within these screenings ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has always been a graceful and rewarding theme. Rewarding figuratively and literary, as the producers could in fact acquire a great income due to the popularity of the film. Such was the case with the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ directed by Baz Luhrmann and screened in 1996. It earned their creators 46 mln dollars in the first 12 weeks of screening and gained eight prestigious awards, among which were four BAFTA awards, and over a dozen other nominations. What was the secret of this phenomenal success and what would Shakespeare say if he had seen the production? It may be stated that he would be proud. No matter what critics say, Luhrmann’s film was a masterpiece. He was dared to make something new, whereas in this matter, as it seemed, everything has been told, seen and created. The film was an experiment which can be described as blending two substances, of which no one would have ever thought that they can go together this well. It was a kind of play with conventions, which was based on an assumption that if one takes a work of a great dramatist, a couple of talented actors, adds some modern set and seasons it with good music, the outcome must be delicious. And actually the assumption turned out to be right. The ‘modernisation of Shakespeare’ tends to be one of the few possible ways of popularisation of his plays within the contemporary society. The film is set in 90s of the 20th century in a city called ‘Verona Beach’, which reminds of some Californian resort, which creates a dissonance between the standardized imaginary vision of the place, where the two lovers lived, met and died. Every detail in this version of Shakespeare’s play is stylised in this way. The ‘modernity’ makes itself prominent in every single aspect. And so
Bibliography: 1. Romeo and Juliet, dir. by Baz Luhrmann, 1996. 2. Shakespeare W., Romeo and Juliet, J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, 1899. 3. http://www.filmweb.pl/film/Romeo+i+Julia-1996-550, date of access: 02.01.2012 4. Spectacular Shakespeare: Critical Theory and Popular Cinema, Courtney Lehmann and Lisa S. Starks eds., Rosemont Publishing and Printing Corp., Cranbury, 2002.