Within Dialogue (Silence)

The film Within Dialogue (Silence) By Susan Rynard and coauthored by Helen Humphreys is a film which holds very little dialogue but manages to say many things. The film begins with two people, a woman and a man, fading into a restaurant setting. Then numerous shots of objects on the table are show, with their sounds of movement almost amplified for attention. A lemon being dropped into a drink filled cup, a plate being pushed across the table, a glass mug being repositioned on its saucer, and some other objects which are on the table. No dialogue is shared between the two people; the only noise heard is what the objects on the table make when they are moved.

The movie then uses a swipe across the screen pushed by a plate to show a very white, and very empty of any people, apartment. The camera slowly moves along the apartment while stopping for moments to signify a stove or other apartment appliances. While this happens shots of a woman, the one at the restaurant, walking around are shown. Then through a window the movie moves to a highway type road where the woman once again walks on screen for a bit and then stops on the side of the highway and drops her purse on the ground, removes her jacket and places it on the purse then proceeds to remove her earrings and shoes while clearly being in some state of sadness. The camera zooms in on her blue nylon which fades the movie to a blue cup at the restaurant setting. The woman and the man back at the restaurant table where they exchange the following words, and I quote,
Woman: "Pale green."
Man: "I ran 10K this morning."
Woman: "It was on sale."
Man: "I'm in line for a promotion."
Woman: "Mexico -- I wanna travel."
Man: "Would you like some more coffee?"

And after they exchange those words the man crosses his hands together and the movie ends, the credits roll.

In my opinion this movie was about the lack of things actually said in conversation, and how much can truly be said by just the absence of dialogue and the ambient noise filling the ear. The movie begins with the sounds of the objects of the table being moved about amplified a bit so the audience pays attention. This may be to show how little conversation truly matters where just moving the cups around or dropping a lemon in a drink could say things. To me, it gave off a sense of aggravation between the couple, as they did minor things but with a bit of force. The woman repositioned the handle of the mug with speedy force and later pushes her plate across the table at the man. The woman seems to be a bit aggravated at the man for some reason, and no words where needed to show us.

Then the apartment, in its vacancy of anything beyond the bare essentials, tells more of the aggravation, or now loneliness of the woman. Slowly moving along the apartment with slow fades on certain objects may give a sense of forlorn sadness, of loneliness that wonÕt be admitted to either member of the relationship.

The shot of the woman on the highway clearly shows her sense of sadness and/or loneliness. She wanders onto a busy highway and removes a few articles of clothing with a clear look of sadness on her face, of disappointment even. She may be giving up on the relationship, and these objects say too many things about the soon-to-be failure of a relationship, thus she removes them far from the places that hold unspoken memories and on an ever moving, but always saying the same thing with its repeated sounds.

Then the move goes back to the restaurant where actual dialogue is spoken, but it is pretty incoherent. Its just a small selection of sentences selected from what may have been a conversation had between the man and the woman, and in a somewhat ironic way it shows how little is actually said in a whole conversation while the absence of words says so much more.

Showing the audience a five minute film titled Within Dialogue and only having about 30 seconds of incoherent yet meaningful dialogue shows just how much is said without any actual words being said. It shows the stories ambient noise can make while the lack of anything substantial a conversation between two people can have; how paying attention to the obvious story behind the spoken words gives away so much more than a blind leap into a conversation which never really had much to say in the first place.

--Scott Holcomb

Susan Rynard