Romeo and Juliet (Film 1996)

Romeo and Juliet: A Film Study

Romeo and Juliet - as characters, as symbols of love, and as symbols of innocence torn apart by a hardheaded society - are cultural icons so ingrained in society that they are often synonymous with the very concepts they represent. After centuries of study and countless productions around the globe, Romeo and Juliet remains, line by line, exactly as it was recorded in the quartos and folios of Shakespeare's players themselves. Although the text itself is unchanging, different visions of the work offer a wealth of interpretations of this single, 3006-line play. This study will focus on two cinematic representations of the play: Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 work, and Baz Luhrmann's 1996 production. In each of these films, the final scene of the play serves as the ultimate expression of each filmmaker's intended message. Zeffirelli, holding true to the text, reveals that despite their attempts to ignore it, the lovers in their final scene remain a part of the suffocating society that rules the rest of their lives, as revealed by the omnipresence of the outside world in their most intimate moments. Luhrmann's adaptation of the final scene, however, suggests that Romeo and Juliet have created an idealized world...

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