Memories of Romeo + Juliet

By Kristy Breneman

As I re-watch Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet in preparation for the upcoming Mascara Movie Night a sense of nostalgia quickly hits me and I am now watching the film with a connection to a past version of myself. It’s not often we can recreate those feelings that we felt so strongly when we were younger, but watching Romeo + Juliet brings me back to such a naïve and delicate age. I can only imagine what those who grew up in the '80s felt at our August screening of Heathers.



I could watch the scene where Romeo + Juliet see each other for the first time over and over again. Romeo is crashing a party at the Capulet’s house when he becomes overwhelmed with all the people and the effects of an ecstasy pill he took earlier (I don’t think my prude, 14 year old self picked up on this in '96.) He retreats to the bathroom and upon exiting examines a fish tank outside the door. The song Kissing You by Des’ree begins playing in the background, and through the fish tank he lays eyes on Juliet for the first time.  No words . . . just a glance . . . and the rest of the story is set into motion. It’s amazing how a movie and a scene could have such a strong presence in your memory and how those feelings can arise when seeing it again. I hope that all the films screened at Mascara Movie Night will strike some fond memory or connects us to our early self. For those who aren’t familiar with the titles, it’s an excuse to have a night out with the girls (or guys) while seeing some totally badass ‘chick flicks’.  And just like last screening, the pre-show will include music videos that dominated the top of the charts in 96’. I mean, I can’t remember how many times I listened to Nobody Knows by The Tony Rich Project or Sittin’ Up in My Room by Brandy . . . oh the humiliation!

 Kristy Breneman is a programmer of Features and Special Programmers at the Atlanta Film Festival.

Get tickets to Romeo + Juliet at the Plaza on Monday, August 26th