Contextual Influences In Luhrmann’s Romeo+Juliet

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How has context influenced the presentation of some of the main Themes and issues in Baz Luhrmann’s modern film version of “Romeo + Juliet”? Baz Luhrmann’s contemporary film interpretation of William Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy Romeo and Juliet, explores the resonating social and religious values inherent in both the Elizabethan era and the 20th century, allowing us to understand the significance of contextual differences in influencing the presentation of universal issues. Film techniques are utilised to emphasise the modernisation incorporated in Luhrmann’s re-exploration of the Shakespeare’s play, and enhances the audience’s understanding of religion in the texts as well as the conflict between love and hate amid social chaos, that presides within the 16th and 20th centuries. Baz Luhrmann establishes the 20th century context as a world of moral corruption that echoes the social disorder in Shakespeare's play, in which the feud between the rich and powerful Capulet and Montague families embodies a hate that fuels the ongoing social chaos within the appropriated contemporary setting, “Verona beach”. Influenced by the modern day context, Luhrmann adopts the indiscriminate usage of guns in place of sword fighting to depict violence and lack of social order caused by an “ancient grudge”. His construction of a pastiche that combines the Western film genre through the close up of Tybalt’s cowboy boot, with a series of car chase sequences, makes the film more accessible to his audience. As a result, modern viewers are able to comprehend the societal chaos intended in Shakespeare’s play and can understand the enmity that presides over the two families, ultimately allowing them to value the rare occurrence of untainted love that arises between Romeo and Juliet. Additionally, there is no black-and-white depiction of love in Baz Luhrmann’s film, as the influence

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