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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: February ::
Re: Baz Luhrmann's R + J
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0575  Wednesday, 27 February 2002

[1]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Feb 2002 18:16:26 -0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0561 Re: Baz Luhrmann's R + J

[2]     From:   Mike Jensen <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 26 Feb 2002 10:48:16 -0800
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0561 Re: Baz Luhrmann's R + J

[3]     From:   Rainbow Saari <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 08:45:33 +1300
        Subj:   Baz Luhrman's R & J


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Tuesday, 26 Feb 2002 18:16:26 -0000
Subject: 13.0561 Re: Baz Luhrmann's R + J
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0561 Re: Baz Luhrmann's R + J

Janet Costa's post on Baz Luhrmann was mostly cogent and well-argued.
Above all it demonstrated an immersion in the director's films which far
exceeds my own - which is, indeed, a little bit frightening. Still, I'd
appreciate some clarification on these points:

Orson Welles "did not employ his cinematography to 'service' his
narrative.  In Citizen Kane, the camera is a complicit narrator as well
as being the recorder and observer". This reads like a non-sequitur to
me. The camera does indeed act as a complicit narrator (sometimes
Thompson, sometimes, mysteriously, not-Thompson) - and so THEREFORE it
services the film's narrative... To deny this is a bit like saying that
Stephen Daedalus's voice contributes nothing to the narrative of A
Portrait of the Artist. I agree that "Luhrmann too has used the
came[ra]s, comedically in the opening, and especially in the
'pool/balcony' scene" of Romeo + Juliet. As I have repeatedly written, I
LIKE that film, precisely for these reasons. That was why I was so
disappointed with Moulin Rouge - it seemed like a film by a different
director, who had learned nothing from the experience gained on R+J.
Anyway, Janet continues, "To imply that Luhrmann does not know his craft
or that he does not take risks to the same degree as Welles is
ludicrous. I am almost sure that if Welles had had access to computer
graphics, he would have found a novel way to use them." This is exactly
my point - Welles (or Toland, depending on your opinion of the division
of responsibility/credit) would have found a NOVEL and interesting and
relevant way to use them; and if he could not think of one, he would not
have bothered. This is what makes him an artist - knowing what to leave
out. What I would like Janet to try and do (with all due respect, for it
will be obvious to anyone who read her previous post that her opinion on
this will be more than commonly insightful) is to answer my criticism
that Luhrmann (in Moulin Rouge) does not use his computer-generated
"crane shots" constructively, and that his narrative scenes are filmed
in a dull way.  Also, I would be interested to know if Janet felt she
could reproduce a couple of lines of dialogue from the film which she
honestly considered to be "good".

I conclude with a pretty please cos I know this is a lot to ask.

m

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Mike Jensen <
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Date:           Tuesday, 26 Feb 2002 10:48:16 -0800
Subject: 13.0561 Re: Baz Luhrmann's R + J
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0561 Re: Baz Luhrmann's R + J

I typoed when quoting Baz Luhrmann in Tuesday's post.  The sentence
should have read:

>*One of [Shakespeare's] greatest assets was an incredibly resonant, clever
>use of of language.*

I was the ungrammatical slob, not Mr. Luhrmann.

Mike Jensen

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Rainbow Saari <
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Date:           Wednesday, 27 Feb 2002 08:45:33 +1300
Subject:        Baz Luhrman's R & J

The second time I saw Luhrmann's R & J  on the big screen  I took along
a reluctant friend, a sixty-something year old man who, like me, loves
Shakespeare's plays. We were both delighted and seduced by the sheer
energy and visual  humor of the film. But neither of us anticipated that
we would we would find  the audience's reaction a delight.

In front of us sat five teenagers, girls and boys, who I'd judge to have
been 14 to 16 yr olds. As R & J progressed, my friend and I were
frequently treated to the myriad depths of emotion that can be
expressed  by the use of the word " Fuuuuuuck! ".  Far from being
offensive, their comment seemed utterly in keeping with the overall
zaniness of the movie.  I watched their faces when they left. They had
all been crying. One of the boys said 

 

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