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century. It is a play of passion, lover and anger.
Both the Luhrmann and the Zeffirelli versions of the Shakespearian
play, “Romeo and Juliet”, have common scenes. The following essay will
compare and contrast one particular scene that from both the movies.
It will juxtapose many different relating features, from the diverse
aspects of film-making, to the different ways in which the play has
been altered to satisfy the tastes of different audiences.
Before these two films are discussed, it is necessary to give a
basic idea of the story of “Romeo and Juliet”, and also to give a
summary of what the two films are about.
"Romeo and Juliet" tells the tale of two "star-crossed" teenage
lovers, who secretly in love with each other and then marry. Their
families, the Montague’s and Capulets, have been fierce enemies for
decades, and, even as Romeo and Juliet say their wedding vows, new
violence breaks out between the clans. When Romeo mistakenly believes
Juliet is dead, he poisons himself. And, when Juliet discovers that he
is dead, she too commits suicide.
Franco Zeffirelli’s version of Romeo and Juliet was created in
close authenticity to the original play. It was directed by Franco
Zeffirelli, in 1968 by Paramount films. This traditional music helps
to assemble the 15th Century ambience and atmosphere that Zeffirelli
is attempting to place the audience into. The main aspects of
cinematography which are used in this film are close ups of Romeo and
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In the balcony scenes, they use close-ups when the characters are
intimate and talking to each other intensely. Extreme close-ups are
used along with slow music to increase the suspense. As Romeo & Juliet
walk, the camera follows them like a shadow.
Both versions use the trademark balcony scene for which the play is
known for and both use it in very similar ways. Juliet leans over the
balcony as Romeo climbs the tree to get up to Juliet; this is used to
show what lengths the two will go to see each other. Also, the trouble
they could get into if they got caught.
In Zafirrelli’s version Juliet is more protective over her body when
Romeo appears this gives an impression of the olden times while
luhrmann’s version she screams at his appearance and they both fall
into the pool but she does not separate herself from him like in
Although there are a lot of similarities there are also a lot of
differences. Zeffirelli’s version is all set on the balcony, whereas
in Luhrmann’s more modernized version the balcony, where the burse
appears to contrast the intention on Shakespeare to create humor, only
plays a small part because most of this scene takes place in a pool.
This makes the play take a sexual mood more than a classic love
The kiss is the essential element in the whole scene. In each version
the kiss is interpreted well but different. In zeffirelli’s kiss was a
more desperate kind and had a sensation of cant live without you and I
want us to be together while Luhrmanns was a passionate kiss but not
as desperate as the other.
In both you can tell that both Romeo and Juliet are madly in love, but
in Luhrmann’s version Romeo is given a necklace from Juliet. This
symbolizes in a big way the love they both share and shows how
strongly Juliet feels towards Romeo in only a short amount of time.
In the balcony scene, Zeffirelli focuses mainly on the two characters,
whilst Luhrmann’s balcony scene involves much more by filming the
surroundings using different camera angles. Also Luhrmann allows us to
see Romeo and Juliet as everyday people when he attempts to meet with
Juliet in the back garden by his stumbling and also his sneaking
Both versions use part of the script. One of the most important parts
missed out is where Juliet compares Romeo to a falcon which is missed
out because of its complex language and intense content which creates
difficulty at the time of understanding. Since the film is made for a
wide range of audience it is wise of both directors to miss this part
of the script out.
The interruption of the nurse in both versions is very important
because of the suspense it creates, and the prevention of Juliet of
seeing Romeo although she comes back a few times to make the audience
nervous and feel a tension.
Nearly at the end of the scene in Zeffirelli’s version they put their
hands together this gives and impression and a sensation that the
separation between them as Romeo leaves hurts a great deal and is hard
to manage. The hands are filmed close up to make it a clear symbol of
love they have for each other.
The environment in each version was completely different in each, in
the zaffirelli version the house was situated in a big garden crowded
with big trees and bushes whish gave a dark and sneaky feeling to it.
The luhrmann version was a more modern with an elevator and a pool,
which make it feel more like a today, everyday feeling.
The effect that Zeffirelli was trying to achieve was Romantic and
intimate and that the love they had was so deep that they would go
behind everyone’s back to see each other, basically putting their
lives on the line to do so.
The Luhrmann version incorporated all of the same but modernized it to
appeal to a younger audience and a different generation. He was also
able to add a small amount of comedy, which helped capture the younger
The actors which took part in Zefferelli’s version were “total
unknowns” this makes it feel like more realistic and a everyday love
story while in Luhrmann’s version they were famous actors which made
it look like a fantasy and more like a “ their lives not our lives”
The costumes each director chooses to use more or less corresponded to
the age which each director lived in. Zefferelli chose a more classic
costume, more dressy while Luhrmann choose more casual and “hip”
My preference as audience would be Luhrmann’s version for its modern
ways and because of the famous actors. In my opinion the famousness of
the actors attracts more attention then if they are not famous. I also
prefer this version because of how it is set it is not set in an old
fashioned way but in a very modern and original way. I also appreciate
the intervention of humor in some scenes which keeps the attention
going. As a teenage I prefer this version because the environment it
is set and the way the actor act.