The English Language Centre in Kolkata held a blog contest on ‘The Shakespearean film/adaptation that has influenced me most and why’. Senjutee Mazumder was one of three winning entries. Read her blog below:
Of all Shakespeare’s adaptations I have watched till date, the one that has impressed me the most is the 1996 American romantic drama “Romeo + Juliet” directed by Baz Luhrmann starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes in the leading roles.
While there are several reasons to love this movie, the main reason is that it has successfully reproduced the ambience of romance as was done by Shakespeare in his original play. Set in the late 20th century, it has slight alterations in settings, characterisation and description of plot while retaining the original dialogues of the play.
The context of the play is perfectly put up. The exchange of contemptuous dialogues between the Capulet and Montague boys and their fights reflect the terrifying spirit of violence whereas the development of love between the two lovers amidst the hostility is truly admirable.
The portrayal of the ball dance in the party scene is simply marvellous and the fanciful costumes and familiar music delights the audience. The scene of Romeo and Juliet’s first acquaintance is mesmerising. Their subsequent falling in love, giving way to a secret proposal and marriage, also adds a pleasing note to the plot.
The tragic ending of the film evokes immense pathos and thus makes the film sensational and heart-touching. The tear-jerking scene of the lovers’ death also leaves a deep impact on the viewer’s mind. The background music is skilfully matched with the settings. Numerous references to pop culture add a new glamour to the plot.
This film teaches its audience the basic moral precepts inherent in the story. Replete with terror, romance, humour, pathos and glory, the movie seems to be the most fascinating interpretation of the classic Shakespearean play.