Quiet places: Nine more movies with little or no dialogue
A Quiet Place – spring’s surprise horror hit – is making waves and racking up the dollars due in no small part to its unconventional production that’s almost free of audible dialogue. While we are not sure if A Quiet Place lives entirely up to the hype, we do love a good silent movie. If you are desperate for some peace and quiet and are looking for a break from things that go boom on your screen, check out these peaceful gems.
The Artist (2011)
2011’s Best Picture winner anticipated a wave of nostalgia for the silent film era that never quite came. Michel Hazanavicius’s love to Old Hollywood takes the form of a story about a successful 1920s actor (Jean Dujardin) made destitute by the advent of “talkies”. The only audible dialogue comes at the very end of the movie.
Quest For Fire (1981)
Set in Stone-Age Europe, Quest For Fire tells the story of three cavemen tasked with finding and bringing back fire to their tribe. Most of the audible dialogue is composed of grunts, shrieks, and single-word utterances in a “primitive” language invented for the film by author Anthony Burgess.
The Bear (1988)
This adventure film set in the wilderness of British Columbia is notable for having trained animals in almost all the principal roles. It features an orphaned bear cub teamed up with an adult male (veteran animal actor Bart the Bear) as both are pursued by trophy hunters. The film drew acclaim for its masterful use of setting and theme, as well as its unconventional narrative.
The Thief (1952)
Billed as “the only motion picture of its kind,” this spy thriller – released at the height of the Red Scare – features Ray Milland (Dial M for Murder) as a physicist and double agent who steals secret documents from the US, only to be embroiled in a deadly cat-and-mouse chase when the theft is discovered. The film’s lack of dialogue greatly contributed to its sizzling atmosphere of paranoia and menace.
All Is Lost (2013)
Hollywood legend Robert Redford (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) turns in a lauded solo performance as an aged sailor who must fight to survive after his boat is hit by a storm. Critics hailed his ability to command the screen while saying almost nothing.
In this indescribable, hallucinatory horror flick from South Korean auteur Ki-duk Kim (Pieta), a husband’s infidelity plunges his dysfunctional family into a series of perverse misadventures including castration, incest, and cannibalism. Kim chose a dialogue-free production in order to portray the mute anxieties and primal urges at the film’s heart.
The Triplets of Belleville (2003)
In this 2003 animated feature, the titular opera-singing sisters must help a woman find her bicycle-racing son who has been kidnapped by the mob. Much of the plot is conveyed through pantomime, and what dialogue exists is muted and indistinct, lending an air of dreamlike fantasy to the proceedings.
The Naked Island (1960)
A landmark of Japanese cinema, this austere black & white production depicts struggling farmers in the Seto Inland Sea whose son falls ill while they are away gathering water. Writer-director Kaneto Shindô (A Last Note) chose an entirely dialogue-free production to underscore the bleakness of his characters’ living conditions.
Le Bal (1983)
The fifth French entry on this list proves that the land of romance has the word-free film market cornered. This lush, visually captivating picture chronicles fifty years’ worth of French cultural history from a sumptuous ballroom where ordinary people dance their cares away.