Essays · Movies

Pulp Fiction, a Silent Film by Quentin Tarantino

Cinemabreak’s new video series removes all dialogue from famous films.
Pulp Fiction
By  · Published on November 25th, 2016

Without a doubt, if you went out Family-Feud-style and asked 100 random people to name an attribute that distinguishes a film by Quentin Tarantino, at least 90 people would say: “dialogue.” After all, both of his Oscar wins and three of his five nominations are for writing. He’s got a style of language all his own, part-punk, part-thug, part-jive and part-geek, and his writing has a cadence and rhythm that has been often imitated but never equaled. Dialogue is Tarantino’s greatest strength as a writer, even over his ability to weave multiple plotlines and myriad characters into a single narrative.

So what then would QT movies look like without their dialogue? Would they still be as powerful, as entertaining? How much of his work is on the page and how much of it is on the screen? These are questions that Cinemabreak asked itself while creating A Silent Story #1: Pulp Fiction, the first in a planned series of short videos that remove all dialogue from famous films, leaving nothing but the ambient sound and the presence of the actors to convey the story, its themes and meanings. It’s a fascinating idea for a video series, and honestly I can’t think of a better film to start with, because I can’t think of another film of the last half-century whose dialogue is as iconic as what Tarantino (and Roger Avary) wrote for Pulp Fiction.

Several scenes have been selected for the silent treatment, and not only that, the violence has been removed as well, so what remains are the most stripped-down Tarantino scenes you can imagine, leaving the burden of storytelling to his capable actors’ emotions. I think Tarantino is a great director, but after watching this, I think he’s great in a way for which I never gave him credit. That innate understanding he has for character extends far beyond design and expression, and doesn’t just come from his award-winning writing, but his deft directorial style, as well. I’m not sure I would have ever seen this so clearly without this video, and I for one can’t wait to see what Cinemabreak goes with next.

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