Romeo and Juliet (1997)
Director – Baz Luhrmann
Title Design – Jill Bilcock, Tania Burkett, Catherine Martin
Faced with the challenge of bringing a centuries-old dialogue to a modern world in a way that could be quickly understood, the designers used media to “set the stage” for this Medieval tragedy by communicating the famous prologue not once, but twice, in order to acclimate the listener to the stylized language Shakespeare was famous for, used throughout the entirety of the film.
The first run of the prologue is delivered in the style of a breaking news story, the latter, voiced passionately over visual representations using newspaper headlines, pretend – but very realistic – stock footage of crime and violence, and the introductions of the supporting characters of our star-crossed lovers. The imagery is timed to an intense choral arrangement that builds throughout the introduction and sets the mood for a story we all know the ending to.
Baz Lurmann is no stranger to unique interpretations bursting with dramatic sequences, so if you are unfamiliar with his work, let this be the example of his talent that moves you in the right direction!