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A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound, especially with no spoken dialogue. In silent films for entertainment the dialogue is transmitted through muted gestures, mime and title cards.
Many early silent films were either dramas, epics, romances, or comedies (often slapstick). Calling them silent films is something of a misnomer - movie theatres and other dream palaces provided pianists, wurlitzers, and other sound machines, and some films were produced with complete musical scores. Most early silents were accompanied with a full-fledged orchestra, organist or pianist to provide musical background and to underscore the narrative on the screen. Some even had live actors or narrators. (Source)
Here follow a few observations about Silent Film (Source):
- Body Language is a vital medium of communication.
- Story can make or break any film, but this is especially true with silent movies. With silent films, no room exists for dull expositions. Spend as much time as possible creating a story that can be told well, or even told best, through visuals (such as actions, appearances and behaviours).
- Choose actors with an interesting appearance or diverse look. Speech is not as important as physical expressivity; look for actors who tell the story with their bodies, emoting with gestures and faces.
- Although sound in a silent movie may seem like an oxymoron, scores almost always accompanied early silent films... instrumental or wordless vocal music can add to the mood of the movie.
As always with my challenges, I have no fixed idea how one could turn the idea of Silent Movies into poetry. I might suggest a perusal of Title Cards, which certainly offer a wealth of inspiration. There are also several movie clips available on Youtube, among them a "love scene" and the little tramp's iconic battle with a fold-up bed. Alternatively, you could consider the elements of the genre and incorporate them into a narrative of your own - or mix it all up. I have every confidence that we will have some amazing poems to read before the day is out.