Shakespeare’s drama about two lovers turned out to be very attractive for filmmakers. During the XX century. on its basis, several films were shot. At the same time, attempts were repeatedly made to modernize the content of the play. For example, in R. Wise’s film “West Side Story”, the feud between the houses of Montague and Capulets was represented as a war between two Manhattan gangs; in the tape A. Ferrara “Chinese girl” Shakespeare’s story turned into a story about forbidden love between a girl from the Chinatown and the young men from Little Italy; and in the film adaptation of B. Luhrmann “Romeo + Juliet” the participants and events were California gangs of punks.
To date, the leader of the screen versions of “Romeo and Juliet” is the eponymous film, shot by Franco Zeffirelli in 1968. In this picture, the atmosphere of the Shakespearean tragedy is artistically recreated.
The main roles in it were sixteen-year-old Anglo-Argentinean Olivia Hussey and seventeen-year-old Briton Leonard Whiting. The success of the picture was promoted by the costumes created by Danilo Donati: the nurse appears on the screen wrapped in rolls of heavy fabrics, and Mercutio flirts with a handkerchief, which he also uses as a banner, mask and shroud.
The idea of the film F. Zeffirelli was characterized as follows: “The history of Romeo and Juliet, their tragedy, their love, the beauty of their feelings, exists beyond time.” Of course, when Shakespeare tells this story, he recreates the external signs of his era. remains eternal… Of course, when we are going to stage a performance, it is desirable to stick to the era when the work was written. It is desirable, but not necessary. More important is to understand why the feelings of the characters are still alive and disturb the viewer… “.