Evgenia Kalyabina

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Romeo and Juliet set in 1920s New Orleans. Research. Films watched.


Well, I didn’t really have time to write about how the actual project has been going for me during part few weeks because it was really intence.

So, Romeo and Juliet. I’ve started with watching some productions of Romeo and Juliet and I think I’ll start with those in this post.


Romeo and Juliet (1968). Directed by Franco Zeffirelli

I so far think that it is the best version of Romeo and Juliet that I’ve seen, to be honest. At least, it is my favourite. Everything is seems to be on it’s place and what is very important is that I believe the actors! which doesn’t really work in the other versions.

Romeo and Juliet: A Love Song (2013) 

This version of the same story can also be presented as my favourite one because this film is just so unexpected in terms of the storytelling. The idea is pretty much the idea of the project we are working on – Romeo and Juliet set anywhere anytime. This one is set in a trailer park ground called Verona with two families hating each other. The sets, music, character and scene adjustements work together very well, which is a big surprise because the whole production fills like one big student project. And it is a musical as well which makes the whole film even funnier. Some cinematography and set dressing are really good though.

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The best set and the greatest change in the story as I see it is the chirch set which is pretty much just a cave with some stuff in it. However, the lighting ans the general athmosphere are amazing and the set looks magical.

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West Side Story (1961). Directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins.

Before starting this project I didn’t have any idea what that film or the musical was about and I was really exited to watch it as I was told that it is a musical version of Romeo and Juliet. Well, I was a bit dissapointed because the pacing of the film was really slow and I really wished for it to end. The character adjustments were good though and I liked the idea of different cultures not tolerating each other.


Romeo and Juliet (2013). Directed by Carlo Carlei.

Well, I guess this is the film where everything and I mean EVERYTHING went completely wrong. The sets are pretty, the lighting is good, the actors are quite famous and not that bad in general but the whole thing just doesn’t work and this is the problem.
Of course, my biggest issue with the film was the period the thing was supposed to be set in. The costumes are deffenitely taken from middle ages so I would say – original Shakespeare time but the sets are so 18th century so the quiestion is – why?
The whole production is so Twighlight – like and it doesn’t look serious. There is too much drama and at the same time there is no drama at all, to much love and at the same time ot just looks funny, everything is too beautiful and, again, it just doesn’t work.


Romeo+Juliet (1996). Directed by Buz Lurman

This was the version that we all watched at BFI and the version I’ve been avoiding for years. I knew the story would be set nowadays but I didn’t know specifics. The really sad thing is that I thought that I wouldn’t like it and I didn’t. It’s not like it is the bad movie which is poorly made, but I just didn’t feel it. In terms of the time period – it feels so 90’s. This is perfect example for our project with all those details like guns marked “Swords” so it matches the lines, the marketplace for the into scene and things like this, but I just didn’t feel it, that’s it.

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