Culture

May 31, 2013

Film Friday: Romeo + Juliet

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Baz Luhrmann’s pomp and circumstance version of Shakespeare’s classic stormy romance, starring a red-headed wide-eyed Claire Danes (at the height of My So Called Life fame) and Leo Di Caprio (pre-Titanic mega-stardom). We all know the story, which in respect to the Bard doesn’t stray aside from relevant modern updates – Ecstasy, guns and Radiohead.

boysBaz Luhrmann’s kitsch isn’t always on pitch (re: The Great Gatsby), but shooting the young-romance film in Mexico City and Veracruz adds a sun-bleached authenticity that makes the tone feel like a Bunuelian telenovela (in a good way). Luhrmann’s penchant for the set piece (his back-ground was as a theatre director) is masterful with swirling allusions ranging from Catholicism to California Hispanic (think Jesus Christ Superstar circa ’73 x Madonna’s Like a Prayer circa ’89). But, Luhrmann prefers simplicity when it comes to his leads, framing baby-faced Claire and Leo’s naturalistic acting in close-ups that seem grounded and meaningful in a world that is camp and hyperactive. The difference between the two worlds amplify our emotional investment in what doesn’t feel artificial – their love.

romeo-juliet-dicaprio_lEmotions are heightened by an eerily-timeless 90’s soundtrack that includes The Cardigans and Radiohead.

Boys in OTT Reyn Spooner-type Aloha shirts (that conjure Nakahira’s Crazed Fruit more than Elvis’ Blue Hawaii) and girls in minimalist Miu Miu slip dresses. If you fancy yourself modern Baz Juliet, you might want to look towards Celine Spring 2013

 

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