Dialogue as action, whatever the language: 'CODA'

Much of the dialogue within CODA is spoken through sign language and not verbally. Sign language is based on feeling and physical movement. The most poignant moment comes when Ruby and her father are sitting on the tailgate of the family truck after the school concert. Frank asks Ruby to sing. Frank’s ‘dialogue’ is sign language and his ‘listening’ to Ruby sing is feeling, also with his hands touching her neck to feel her voice. The spoken dialogue in the scene are the song lyrics which carry the emotional subtext about Ruby’s love for her family. The blend of verbal and signed dialogue is unique to the story. It comes directly from the scenes and the characters.



Heder, Sian. 2021. CODA [Film]

Dialogue as Action: Portraying dementia in 'The Father'

Anthony: “I feel as if I’m losing all my leaves, one after another.”  (The Father 2020)

Dialogue within The Father performs a unique function. It is through the film's dialogue, that we assume everyday pieces of life are happening in reality, only to be shown that they are not. We are put within Anthony’s mind, experience his confusion, and Anthony’s final speech twists the emotional knife within a film that has been constructed to confuse. Anthony remembers his mother and suddenly wants to go home, as tears overwhelm him, and he says “I feel as if I am losing all my leaves, one after another.” This is a great example of how a single poetic line of dialogue placed at the end of a film can bring the narrative to a powerful and emotional climax.



Zeller, Florian. 2020. The Father [Film]