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Engaging Dialogue

Cinematic Verbalism in American Independent Cinema

Jennifer O'Meara

Hardback (Preorder)
£75.00

Explores how American directors engage audiences through dialogue that is creatively designed and executed

Examining the centrality of dialogue to American independent cinema, Jennifer O’Meara argues that it is impossible to separate small budgets from the old adage that ‘talk is cheap’. Focusing on the 1980s until the present, in particular on the films of directors like Jim Jarmusch, Wes Anderson and Richard Linklater, this book demonstrates how what we think of as ‘dialogue’ is really its ability to engage audiences and bind together the narrative, aesthetic and performative elements of selected cinema. Questioning the association of dialogue-centred films with the ‘literary’ and the ‘un-cinematic’, O’Meara highlights how speech can be central to cinema without overshadowing its medium-specific components, and demonstrates how indie dialogue can instead hinge on an idea of cinematic verbalism.

Key Features

  • Provides a framework for analysing dialogue design and execution that can be readily applied to other films and filmmakers
  • Highlights how speech can be central to cinema without overshadowing its medium-specific components
  • Develops new connections between film dialogue, reception studies, independent cinema and auteur studies

Contents

Acknowledgements
Table of contents
Introduction
1. Measuring Engaging Dialogue
2. Verbal-Visual Style and Words Visualised
3. The Integrated Soundtrack and Lyrical Speech
4. Dialogue and Character Construction
5. Embodying Dialogue: Rich Voices, Expressive Mouths and Gesticulation
6. Gendered Verbal Dynamics: Sensitive Men and Explicit Women
7. Adapting Dialogue and Authorial Double Voicing
Conclusion: Verbal Extremes and Excess
Bibliography
Filmography

About the Author

Jennifer O’Meara lectures in Film Studies at the University of St Andrews, having joined the department in 2016 from Maynooth University. She has published on a range of film and media topics, in venues such as Cinema Journal, The New Soundtrack, Feminist Media Studies and The Soundtrack. She is currently writing a book on women’s voices in contemporary screen media.

Reviews

What a delight to see the study of filmic dialogue pushed forward by O'Meara! Incorporating the latest research and clear analysis, her engaging insights are applicable to a wider field than the six writer-directors she foregrounds. 

- Professor Sarah Kozloff, author of Overhearing Film Dialogue

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