Silent Films Today

June 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Am starting a new series today about silent films made today. The list is there, and I’ll be adding titles as I find more information. I’d love to have you people contribute too, so we can make this an exhaustive resource of films made today as silent movies. The goal would be, indeed, to understand what silent film aesthetics are, what they are understood to be today, and whether there’s more that could be done with it.

I’d define a silent film as a film that has no limit on the world it represents, but that does not offer spoken dialogues. Music, foley, sound effects can be recorded or not, what matters is the absence of spoken dialogues, with or without intertitles.

I’ve included on that list films that are either in full, or in part, silent as per the above definition, made in the last 30 years or so.

I will post my reviews and analyses of those films here as I get to see them and have the time to write about them. Hypotheses to be confirmed :

  • modern silents tend to be about the past, as if silent cinema could only represent the world of the 1910s/1920s — the anachronistic effect of taking away spoken dialogues being overwhelming, aesthetically speaking, and forcing those films towards a nostalgic representation;
  • modern silents tend to be about slapstick, either because the medium is identified today with slapstick comedians, or because the medium is best adapted to visual jokes.
  • modern silents are heavy on the paranormal stuff, à la Expressionism. This because the overwhelming sense is that taking sound away is today perceived as un-natural.
Yes, the line of inquiry here is : is it possible today to have silent film aesthetics as a possible aesthetic alternative to filmically speak about the world around us — an alternative just as modern and vibrant and complex as sound color film ?
To be continued…

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