Starring: Kate Greenwood and Nadima Azeez, Directed by: David Millett
Premise: When life is unbearable and there is no love, death is attractive.
In this short film, I utilized modern digital cinema techniques such as layered compositing to create a slightly off-kilter expressionist world. The film’s three-dimensional world is intentionally slightly odd. Real and yet not quite so. This feel enhances the expressionist sentiment I strove for. And it enhances the mood of Shelley’s poem.
The story used in The Dialog is based on a poem by Percy Shelley. His poem explores our feelings towards death. Shelley captures the fear and attraction we all feel towards our inevitable end. The film tries to invoke the same spirit of Shelley’s poem by utilizing expressionist cinema techniques.
Percy Shelley (4 August 1792 – 8 July 1822) was one of the major English Romantic poets, and is regarded by critics as amongst the finest lyric poets in the English language. A radical in his poetry as well as his political and social views, Shelley did not achieve fame during his lifetime, but recognition for his poetry grew steadily following his death. Shelley was a key member of a close circle of visionary poets and writers that included Lord Byron; Leigh Hunt; Thomas Love Peacock; and his own second wife, Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein.
The idea behind The Dialog were the expressionist films: The Student of Prague (1913), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), From Morn to Midnight (1920), The Golem: How He Came into the World (1920), Destiny (1922), Nosferatu (1922), Phantom (1922), Schatten (1923), and The Last Laugh (1924).
These were highly symbolic and stylized films, filmed in what is now known as German Expressionism. The first Expressionist films made up for a lack of lavish budgets by using set designs with wildly non-realistic, geometrically absurd angles, along with designs painted on walls and floors to represent lights, shadows, and objects. The plots and stories of the Expressionist films often dealt with madness, insanity, betrayal and other "intellectual" topics triggered by the experiences of WWI (as opposed to standard action-adventure and romantic films). These were the ideas behind the film version of The Dialog.