Writing dialogues is one of the most challenging issues for beginners. Learning through examples is also another difficult task. Because the natural and organic appearance of successfully written dialogues could make it difficult to understand the creativity and intensive work underneath it. Most of the time, successful dialogues make us say ‘This so simply! I could write this, too!’ But in practice, it is an arduous task to reach that simplicity in writing dialogues. In this post, we will highlight identical features of successful dialogues and suggest a list of dialogue driven films that each has a different approach.
We already made an introduction to writing dialogues. Before continuing this post, it would be useful to take a look at it: How to write dialogue in scriptwriting?
Dialogue driven films
12 Angry Men (1957) focus on heated discussions between court jury members. While we witness the discussions of the jury members, we find the opportunity to get to know each member in a single place. Each member’s personality and social background are reflected skillfully through the way they speak and the words they use. One of the most common mistakes in dialogue writing is to make all characters speak in the same style. So, the words and phrases of different people often look as they are coming out of the same mouth. 12 Angry Men (1957) is among the dialogue driven films that should be examined to avoid this mistake.
Scenes from a Marriage (1974) which was broadcasted as a 6-part television series and was released as a feature movie the following year, is considered one of the masterpieces of Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. Focusing on 10 years of a marriage, the director leaves us with the characters’ dialogues in the moments of ups and downs of their relationship. Bergman manages to reveal his own marriage experiences in realistic dialogues. Scenes from a Marriage (1974) is an example that gives you ideas on how to turn your own experiences into dialogues.
Annie Hall (1977) is an autobiographical film that American director Woody Allen brought us to New York in the 70s. Based on his own life, Allen focuses on the romantic relationship between a middle-aged man and a woman. Woody Allen shows that it is not necessary to create a narrative with the help of dialogues, and it is possible to attract the audience’s attention when there are enough personal and character-specific speeches so that people pay attention not only to stories and events but also to personal facts. We guess this is one of the reasons why most people like gossiping.
My Dinner with Andre (1981) offers an interesting experience: We witness the dialogue of two old friends in the whole movie during dinner. Characters talk about each other’s experiences and worldviews, sometimes they agree and sometimes they conflict. As the conversation progresses, we become one of the people sitting at the table and witnessing the natural conversations of the two men. This film will give you a lot of ideas about how to develop organic dialogues.
Before Trilogy is completed in a period of 18 years with the same cast and focuses on a couple’s moments of meeting, reuniting and marriage. Films are completely based on dialogues, we witness not only romantic moments of a couple but also interesting conversations that include philosophical discussions. The Before Trilogy breaks the stereotype of screenwriting which is “shıw, don’t tell” and repeatedly make characters tell something. But in doing so, it focuses exclusively on the interactions of its characters, without actually aiming to tell the audience anything. Thus, despite the fact that nothing is told directly to the audience in the dialogues, a deep narrative about love and relationships emerges with the help of the film’s dialogues.
Metropolitan (1990) is a movie where you can witness the intellectual dialogues between rich young people living in New York in the 90s. Dialogues of the film create a sense of timelessness effect and seem not realistic as they look like taken from a novel, but they are very convincing in the film’s own world. Metropolitan (1990) shows how novel style dialogues could be performed as they are and it succeeded in transforming literary expressions into a masterful dialogue.
Quentin Tarantino, whom we all know very well, tells a story about the bloody and intricate struggle between 8 men, that takes place in limited venues in the mood of a theater play. Tarantino, with his unique style, constantly makes his characters speak during the movie, and in addition to everyday conversations, he presents a kind of conflict and struggle in the dialogues by revealing a constant discussion between the characters. This keeps the rhythm of the movie high and doesn’t allow the audience to lose their interest for a moment.
Sieranevada (2016) focuses on a family who gathers for a religious ceremony for a recently deceased relative. Romanian director Cristi Puiu includes ordinary daily talks and a number of political debates that are completely free of the art of drama and he creates a very realistic atmosphere. Sieranevada (2016) is one of the films that should be seen to experience realistic dialogues in cinema.
Previous post: Screenwriting myths: Debunk concepts that prevent creativity