How does Baz Luhrmann transform gang warfare and love in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in to a contemporary context?
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I think personally that Baz Luhrmann's film version of this Shakespearian classic was incredibly effective in updating it for a modern audience, indicating the way in which the themes contained in the original play are actually timeless and can impact all of us, no matter which age we are a part of. His updating moved the action from Verona in Italy to a Hispanic-dominated section of the United States resembling Los Angeles, where the two Hispanic families rage against other in the form of gang warfare. The initial scene, for example, featuring the brawl between the Montagues and the Capulets, occurs at a gas station and features a shoot out between Benvolio and Tybalt. Gang warfare is a constant feature of this production, with violence and guns being omnipresent throughout the film.
The love between Romeo and Juliet is an aspect that does not have to be "modernised." The theme of two lovers loving against the will of their families is just as relevant today as it was in Shakespeare's time, and Luhrmann's version depicts the pressure that Juliet was facing to marry Paris and also the violence and anger of her father at her refusal.
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