The Blanton Museum of Art
Speak Low If You Speak Love
Okay, Kim, as much as I hate to admit that you made a good point, I have to admit you made a good point. The gaudy materialism and ostentation of Luhrmann’s visual aesthetic does go a long way to communicating the moral vacancy in the lives of rich kids who are overindulged by their absent parents as a way of making up for their own waywardness and self-indulgence. Fair enough. (And screw you.) But then: It’s all well and good to use Shakespeare to make a point about societal dysfunction and adolescent immorality and to indulge in all sorts of hyperkinetic camera trickery and audio manipulation when you’re shooting a bunch of tattooed gang-boys shooting up neighborhoods and showing off their belt buckles. But what do you do when it comes time to shoot a scene that’s predicated on the more inward-facing, considered human emotions, the emotions that don’t change regardless of the prevailing cultural winds or the particular aesthetic whims of the day, emotions like love and despair? Do you, as a directorial practitioner of the antic arts, try to temper some of your more outlandish tendencies in service of the story and its characters, or do you just throw consideration to the wind, make no distinction between different emotional states in a screenplay, and crank everything up to the same frenetic pitch in the hopes that audiences will be swept away by the sheer overwhelming physicality of the experience?