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Discuss the ways in which love and romance are portrayed in the party scene from Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and the party scene from the 1978 BBC production of the play.In these two very different portrayals of the same scene, made two decades apart, we see how different techniques and presentations can completely change the atmosphere while still maintaining the same genres and ideas of the movie. Although the same scenes from the two movies are analysed, they still give the overall difference in the oral and the visual techniques throughout the whole movie.Baz Luhrmann’s version attempts to make Shakespeare more interesting and accessible to a more modern generation by using mainly symbolism and signifiers. For example, the use of costumes, props, lighting and colours appeal much more to a “Tarantino generation”, than the BBC version which has been said to stay “loyal to the text.” The signifiers are discreet and subtle and they require far more thought and consideration than Baz Luhrmann’s version. However, despite the completely contrasting styles in which the two movies were filmed and presented in, they can both be traced back to Shakespeare very easily so therefore do not lose any of the original phrases or overall ideas of the play.Firstly, the mise-en-scene of both of the versions differ greatly; Baz Luhrmann’s is loud and bright to attract the more modern generation whilst the BBC’s version is subtle and reserved to mirror the society at the time of the film. Baz Luhrmann’s take on the scene was loud, wild and unrestrained; the sexual atmosphere could not go unnoticed and was much indulged in by all but one of the party-goers. Romeo, despite the jovial aura of the people surrounding him, separates himself by standing on the side and eventually leaving the main hall to collect his thoughts. By the sudden change in music from loud and raunchy to soft, dreamlike and melodic, it immediately sets the audience up for the scene that is about to unfold.The licentiousness of the scene before is counterbalanced against Romeo and Juliet’s romantic meeting. However, the fish tank between them hints that, although all seems well now, their love isn’t actually meant to be. The first time their eyes meet, they share a carefree smile that shows their naivety and obliviousness to the gravity of the situation. They reach out, as if to touch one and other, but are stopped by the glass; a symbol of something that is very real and visible but also unattainable. The colourful fish swimming inside the barrier that separates the two lovers symbolise their blithe spirits and wild, unrestrained imaginations. Also, we notice that Romeo is dressed as a typical brave knight and Juliet as an angel in white; even in their costumes we can see that they were perfect for each other, despite this, in the end we find out that they were never really meant to be together. When Juliet is pulled away by the nurse, Romeo wastes no time in finding and reclaiming her. The extent to which he is willing to go to, just to talk to a girl he had barely met shows the audience of their fast-growing, young love that is both informal and placid.The BBC’s version of their meeting is both similar and extremely different. First of all, the party is toned down in volume and exhibitionism. The raunchy, inhibited dancing that we saw in Baz Luhrmann’s version is replaced by formal, structured dances to represent the society at the time. Juliet’s cousin had already set her up to dance with a man that he deemed acceptable but, although it did not show in her actions, the audience could still somehow tell she was dissatisfied with his choice by her nonchalant expression.Romeo is stood on the edge of the hall where the dancing ends, this could link to how unwilling he was to conform to the society and follow its rules; he made this clear by declaring his love for Juliet, despite her heritage. He took his time watching her from the sidelines before he finally made his move. Unlike the modernised ‘Romeo and Juliet’, they did not meet in a secluded area; however, this did not really take away the romance in their interaction. Whilst sticking to the formal practices at the time, they share the same dialogue as we hear in all the other versions of Romeo and Juliet, yet this time, Juliet seems a lot less willing to accept what Romeo has to say as she is very aware of the tight boundaries that have been enforced on her life.As in the Baz Luhrmann version, Romeo eventually has to pull Juliet away from the crowd and separate them both from what society wants them to do. Romeo wears a mask as this is the only way he is allowed to attend; he only takes it off when he is revealing himself to Juliet. They move even further into the shadows when they kiss to show how forbidden it is and they speak in hushed whispers and glance around nervously when confessing their love to one and other. Love shown very clearly in their eyes when they kiss as, despite the dangers it could entail, they still only look straight at one and other.In Baz Luhrmann’s version, Romeo’s love for Juliet is obvious as, even when it is revealed to him that she is beyond his reach, it does not dampen his hopes or affect how much he wants her as he rushes outside and looks desperately around for her, however, she is already gone. Right from the beginning of the movie when Romeo and Juliet’s love was just budding, we could tell that there was a great danger than came with it. For example, after Romeo has revealed his feelings to Juliet, he then has to pull her into the lift that comes just in time to take them away. When in the lift, they are bathed in light through barred glass windows: the light symbolising the purity of their love but the bars symbolising the entrapment of it.When they reach their destination on the lift, they stumble out laughing, probably presuming that they were free of the restrictions. However, they can still see the party going on downstairs and they can all still see them, meaning that, however far they go and however hard they try, they will never truly be free of the world’s condemnation. In one of the last scenes of the party when she is at the top of the stairs and she is at the bottom, the rich red decorations and material around her symbolised the underlying danger or loving Romeo.It tells of danger in the near future but, as red could also symbolise love, the strong bond between the two young, forbidden lovers. We can see that, at the very end of the movie, there are very strong feelings of love and loss between them as Romeo lies beside Juliet’s ‘dead’ body and strokes her face affectionately. Candles surround them in the dimly lit church, this makes the atmosphere seem very romantic but also quite sad.

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