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How Does Baz Luhrmann Create Atmosphere and Develop Character in the party and meeting scenes in Romeo and Juliet

Baz Luhrmann uses a combination of lighting, props, costumes, facial expressions, sound, music and a variety of camera shots, in the film Romeo and Juliet, to create atmosphere and develop character. These techniques can influence audiences who may interpret it in different ways. Focusing on the environment of the scenes and the costuming helped me in my interpretation because I found hidden symbolism. My essay will be mainly based on the two scenes, the party and meeting scenes.

An exhilarating explosion of fireworks in the sky helped recapture an intense party scene. Beautiful colours were reflected throughout the scene, with the noise created from the fireworks adding energy and electricity. These different rays of colours were reflected in the faces of the actors and actresses. The fireworks in the sky could have been interpreted as an explosion of lust that would occur later on between Romeo and Juliet.

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With the camera constantly changing its angle and view, it made it feel vibrant and lively. When Romeo first arrives at the party, a close-up camera angle is used to display that he is under the influence of drugs, as he stumbles past the bouncer. It also identifies how he is feeling, as it is clearly displaying his facial expression and body language in detail. However, his mask also could be seen as a camouflage in the crowd and how he didn’t want anyone to see who he really was. His colouring also might have been a representation of blending in with all of the other people.

The first time Romeo and Juliet saw each other was when Juliet was preoccupied with a traditional dance involving many people. The environment was set in a medieval-style with dull colours in the background. Torches were lit in the windows, and some white candles were lit near the dance floor. The background colours weren’t emphasized but were dull coloured stone walls. The camera angle used here is a high angle tilt. Romeo and Juliet didn’t gaze at each other very long the first time their eyes met across the ballroom floor. This scene seemed to focus on the crowd of people attending the party and less on Romeo and Juliet.

Music was also used to intensify the party scene. The song “Young Hearts Run Free” was appropriate, because it produced an irony of how Romeo and Juliet would meet that night. This however was not the only sound being added. The diegetic sound was included prior to, “Young Hearts Run Free”. The sounds such as screaming and a lion roaring made it seem as if it was all spinning out of control and there is utter madness occurring.

Water was the main focus of the scene when Romeo and Juliet saw each other at the fish tank, creating an unusual array of lust. The first time they saw each other, their gaze went across a beautiful aquarium of fish. Yet again we experienced a close up shot being used. Perhaps to display the emotions they were experiencing at that time. The different colours and types of fish swam by as they stared deeply into each others’ eyes. This scene looked as if it were filmed underwater, and gave the effect of being in a world under the sea, a great use of camera technique. Again, the choice of music in the background, “Kissing You,” helped create a romantic atmosphere. The actual tune and pace of the song were slow enough and went well with the fish floating slowly across the aquarium. The song used almost made it feel like everything was in slow motion, a contrast to the previous mayhem in the party scene

The choice in having a scene in the lift occur conveyed a lust for wanting to be close, and being away from everyone else. The camera was very close up, indicating high intensity and passion. I think the representation of this scene shows the lovers engaging in a rather rebellious act at that time. The reason I see this as a rebellious act is because if they were caught, this would not have been seen as very acceptable to Juliet’s mother or father, as the Montague’s and Capulet’s are practically at war with each other.

The story of Romeo and Juliet is unique because it was presented in these two very different forms, and created different feelings. Camera angles were effectively used to deliver several vital messages. They also helped the film achieve things that the writer for the play, Shakespeare could not. The film would not be the same without the variety in camera angles. Without the use of background in these movies, a lot of symbolism would be lost.

It is beneficial to be able to see these scenes visually because it helps to enhance how one’s viewpoints are affected. A character’s personality analysis is also grasped by the director’s choices of costuming. The audience benefits from this because they not only observe one’s personality by their acting, but are helped to understand it more by the costuming which helps create the overall individual. This great piece of literature has proven that environment, camera angles, sound and costuming can help to portray different viewpoints and interpretations.

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How Does Baz Luhrmann Create Atmosphere and Develop Character in the party and meeting scenes in Romeo and Juliet. (2021, Apr 07). Retrieved April 15, 2021, from