A screenwriting professor once told me that if I couldn’t think of a valid reason for having my characters speak, or what the dialogue was communicating about the story, then maybe they shouldn’t be speaking at all. Seems like no-brainer, but I have actually lived by these words ever since. My first few short films were silent films; I simply couldn’t think of any satisfying way to have the characters speak, so I decided instead to embrace another widely-held maxim of cinema: show, don’t tell. This is not a full-proof method by any means, but it is a good example of turning a weakness into a tool for self-improvement, and a hell of a good way to train your filmmaking intellect. If you can communicate a story without saying a single word, you learn not to, for instance, waddle in exposition dialogue when you should be creating your story visually and aurally. You also learn to put more care into choosing your shots, your sounds, and begin to really appreciate dialogue as a component of film instead of contrived chatter. Silence can be often more powerful and poignant than any amount of witty banter or clever one-liners.
As a prime example of how compelling silence can be in a film, we propose the excellent independent film, Connected, Directed by Jens Raunkjær Christensen. It is not only a fantastic example of this aesthetic, but a great short film that achieves its goals in every way while also communicating a very profound message about society, selfishness and apathy.