William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, a classic tale of rebellious youth and a pair of star-crossed, doomed lovers from feuding families, is giving a new dimension under film director Baz Luhrmann. Luhrmann inventively updated it to the blighted wasteland of Verona Beach, where Shakespeare's tragedy is set against a background of contemporary teenage street gangs and violence. The link between the society then and as we know it today is effectively captured and enhanced in this modern-day appropriation by the use of settings, props, editing, characterisation and filmic techniques.
Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet opens and concludes with the camera slowly zooming in and out on a television featuring a female newsreader reading the prologue and epilogue as an introduction and conclusion to the film. This emphasises the modern context and currency of the setting. A sudden explosion of montage, accompanied by Mozart's Requiem, follows. The montage shows a collage of images featuring close-ups of the city of Verona, with the statue of Christ the central object.
The film borrows its imagery and narrative devices from television programs dealing with law and order issues. These include the news and current affairs used at the opening and closing of the film to show the realty and seriousness of the issues and consequences from the film.
The setting for the film is of California's Verona Beach but was filmed in Mexico. The Capulet House was a set stage at Churubusco Studios and also on the beaches of Veracruz. All of this became Verona Beach.
Luhrmann deliberately captures the ethnic mix and casual violence of these street gangs to illustrate the change society has undergone since Shakespeare's era. The sight of rowdy street-gangs reciting Shakespeare's words while brandishing modern automatic pistols provides the modern audience with better access and understanding...