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Romeo & Juliet (B.Luhrmann)

            How successful is Baz Luhrmann's film as an appropriation of Shakespeare's original text? Consider the differences between the different texts or Zeferelli's film, and discuss how the medium of film has been used to create a modern popular text.
             (Word limit: 800-1000 words).
             Romeo and Juliet is widely known as one of the artistic masterpieces of our time. Due to this the tragic love story has been adapted and remade several times. The original script was written for an audience found during the late 1500's and early 1600's. Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, however, was aimed at a typical 20th century audience- people who had completely different expectations to the people that would have been found during the 16th century. In order to make the play more accessible to the modern audience; Baz Luhrmann had to alter a considerable amount of the 'traditional' version of Romeo and Juliet. He produced Shakespeare's play as an appropriation, which meant that he moved the story four centuries into the future, adapting the key plot ideas in such a way as to remain faithful to the original plot and themes, but updating the story with modern issues that would be more relevant for this day and age. In order for the appropriation to work, many aspects of the original play had to be altered slightly. The actors and actresses that starred in the film were cast to appeal to the modern day audience's expectations. Characters have been altered, to make the storyline more believable and relevant. The setting of the scenes has also been changed to update the entire story to the 20th Century. Music has been added to great effect, both to enhance the modernistic feel to it, to allow the audience to sink deeper into the film; hearing music familiar to the 20th Century also helps make the transition through time a lot smoother. Of course, as society grows and develops, new trends, new issues that would be current within that day and age would arise.

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