The Opening of Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

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The Opening of Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

The opening of a film can make or break it - it is a vital factor determining whether or not the audience will want to watch the rest of the film. It must capture the audience's attention and imagination, be striking and introduce main characters and plotlines in an interesting way. The opening of Baz Luhrmann's 'William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet' certainly captures the attention of the audience, and is in my opinion incredibly effective. As there is so much material in the prologue, I have chosen only to concentrate of this part of the opening.

First, it is interesting that Luhrmann should choose to include Shakespeare
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She is also dressed in red - a colour symbolising blood, death and passion, some of the themes around which the play centres. Also, by using the modern concepts of television and news bulletins, and by dressing the newsreader in modern clothes, the time frame of the film is set straight away.

As the bulletin ends, the camera comes closer and closer to the screen of the TV, eventually giving the effect that the audience are sucked into the screen, again adding to the feeling of immediacy and proximity to the action. The camera then rushes along a street, with the Montague building on one side and the Capulet building on the other. In the middle is a statue of Jesus. This theme is continued slightly later, when they show the two family trees, again with Montagues on one side, Capulets on the other and a picture of Jesus in the middle. This shows that religion is the one mutual aspect of the lives of the two families, and that Friar Lawrence is the link between them. Another important thing to note is that the two towers (Montague and Capulet) are of equal size, symbolizing the equal social status of the two families.

What follows is a montage of scenes from later in the film with Pete Postlethwaite (Friar Lawrence) reading the prologue over the top of it. Certain lines in the prologue are picked out, either in flashing words onscreen or in newspaper

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