Friday, January 20, 2006

Y10 Media assignment

These are my original teaching notes from when I was researching the project. You might find them useful although most of what you have here we've been through in class.

The Prologue

‘The truth’- Prologue functions to tell truth of the play. Function of the news?Signpost; modern mise-en-sceneThe gentle tracking-in shot, compared with montage of fast cuts of violent scenes and headlines in the establishing shots’.Signalling Action Adventure genre?

Male voice-over– male authority?Tracking shot of Veronese roofttops– romantic, dawn setting.Font of opening credits– archaic italic (which means Italian!) script– signpost for C12th Italian mise-en-scene.Signalling Historical Romance genre?

Establishing Shots

Fast cuts, montage technique: sensory overload of modern urban life?
Headlines / front pages: immediacy and ephemeral nature of newspapers–
emphasises pace of R&J plot (the play’s action lasts just three days)Christ statue and ‘Montague’ and ‘Capulet’ towers– church and state are one, money / power and religion integral to story.

Slow tracking shot, C12th Italian market, establishing mise-en-scene.Prosperity, peace of Verona– compare with atmosphere of Luhrmann’s ‘Verona Beach’.Historical accuracy of costume and setting in contrast to Luhrmann’s innovation and invention.

Opening dialogue

Gangster rap delivers macho boasts of Shakespeare’s original.Stylised challenge of Shakespeare’s original becomes a Western movie-influenced ‘goad the other guy to draw first’ situation.Innocence of young boy, nuns and Catholic iconography on clothes and guns contrasted with violence of the Capulet and Montague boys – Tybalt’s behaviour, Abra’s ‘Sin’ tooth-cap, Montague boy threatening nun with his pistol.

Much of Shakespeare’s dialogue cut– bare bones of challenge, none of the macho boasts.Extra lines given to other Veronese, eg. a disapproving, ‘look at them!’ Idea that Verona is tired of the feud.Lines delivered with emphasised iambic pentameter– a classic reading.Little primary or secondary movement– cinematography imitating theatre experience?

The fight

Visual: Hong Kong ‘Gun Fu’ cinema (John Woo movies, The Matrix– balletic, stylised, slow-motion gunplay); Flamenco dance; bullfighting arrogance (Hispanic gang so Spanish influence); Westerns, especially ‘spaghetti Westerns’ of Sergio Leone (Tybalt’s cowboy boots with ‘spurs’, his cheroot, his fancy gunplay).Soundtrack: Enio Morricone ‘whistles’ and jangly guitar; Mariachi (Mexican) brass; Flamenco guitar and castanets.General sense of the urban, the multicultural, the cosmopolitan.

More realistic than Luhrmann– swordplay gritty and chaotic, more people killed and injured (only one injury in Luhrmann, despite the close-range gunfight and explosions)Less glamorous, more visceral violence– in contrast to purity and romance of Romeo and Juliet’s love.Sense of Montagues and Capulets as two private armies, rather than mere youth gangs.

Entrance of Prince Escalus

Captain Prince helicopter entrance– sense of superior technology and organisation against the ferocity of the gangs.‘Three civil brawls’ speech in police station– separate from helicopter scene– change of pace, different from ‘set piece’ of the shoot-out.
Prince Escalus horseback entrance– again, superior technology (cavalry, armour) and organisation.

‘Three civil brawls’ speech delivered from horseback– sense of immediacy of justice, Prince maintaining order only through superior force of arms, no
police or legal resources behind him.


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