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Word Count: 2,102
Paradoxically Baz Luhrmanns Romeo Juliet incorporates ideas which provide a wider variety of meanings whilst also making us aware that film can be a limiting factor The creation of new dimensions for principal characters opens up the text to a wider variety of meanings However by spending time developing central characters the Shakespearian text is drastically cut and many characters and themes are lost This film version does much to portray both Romeo and Juliet as different to and in a sense alienated from their own families Although the text requires the pair to choose between their family hatred and their own love Luhrmann chooses to promote a sense of otherness from the very start of his film This is highlighted by the contrasting physical appearance of the other characters For example in the opening scene 11 we are witness to a brawl at a gas station between The Montague Boys and the Capulets Rather than use costume to differentiate between the opposing families the characters are divided by race the Montagues portrayed as white skinheads whilst the Capulet counterparts are Hispanic with Lord and Lady Capulet Italian In contrast the characters of Romeo and Juliet are not so easily labeled by their physical appearance The Capulet party 15 provides another example of how physical appearance is used to set apart the characters of Romeo and Juliet whilst at the same time using costume to visually fix the characters Using the setting of a costume party allows an opportunity to dress the principal players in a way that simplistically embodies their supposed character As is evident throughout the film the majority of the characters are portrayed in garish and visually confronting costumes that seem to reflect aspects of their personality For example the portrayal of Paris as a space cadet reduces his character to a rather simple and idiotic representation looked upon as a figure of ridicule by both Romeo and
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