Romeo and Juliet (Film 1996)

Media Sensationalism in Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet

"You're television incarnate, Diana: indifferent to suffering; insensitive to joy. All of life is reduced to the common rubble of banality. War, murder, death are all the same to you as bottles of beer. And the daily business of life is a corrupt comedy. You even shatter the sensations of time and space into split seconds and instant replays. You're madness, Diana. Virulent madness. And everything you touch dies with you. But not me. Not as long as I can feel pleasure, and pain, and love."

- Max Schumacher, from Network

From the very first shot to the very last, the world of news media in Baz Luhrmann's 1996 film William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet encapsulates and informs this modern adaptation, which transposes Shakespeare's original dialogue into the radically altered setting of present day "Verona Beach." Even though television news reports and print media appear only sporadically in the film, the manner in which they appear as well as their specific roles within the context of the story make them a constant, looming presence. Specifically, the depiction of television in Romeo, which enjoys a close precedent in the 1976 film Network, not only updates Shakespeare's text, but...

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