I saw The Artist last week. Ben's lecture today was all about visual storytelling.
One of the things that crossed my mind when I saw The Artist was how useless words actually are. Through pure acting I felt more empathy for the characters in the film than I have felt for any characters (fact or fiction) in a terribly long time.
Michel Hazanavicius beautiful piece of work has reminded all filmmakers of the true art of their craft...and how far we've moved away from it.
Ben showed us several short clips from various films today to illustrate how big themes and big stories can be told simply through what you see, without dialogue or narration.
I won't put them all on here. The one that I found incredibly profound and clever was a scene from Volker Schlöndorff's The Tin Drum.
As Ben said, this scene takes the immense question, "Why did the average German citizen simply fall unquestioningly into line with Hitler's regime?" and answers it with the simple metaphor of a little boy's tin drum.
About 3 years ago I was reading a great book called "Writing Short Films" by Linda Cogwill.
In it there was an exercise to create a character and make that character want something. The only rule was that there had to be something stopping the character getting what he/she wanted.
So I took inspiration from real life, cast my mum and dad and made this. No dialogue. It has many faults but it does tell a story without using words.