So I agreed to sub for a friend tomorrow which means I have to fill an hour of lecture time. I picked Off-screen Conflict for my subject but I only have a handful of examples so far and I could use a couple more good ones.
These are just scenes where a character is hearing some kind of argument or dispute from another room.
I’ve got scenes from Welcome to the Dollhouse, The Witch, About Schmidt, and Junebug lined up. But I need some more examples. Any good ones come to mind?
Three Colors: Blue has a great scene with Juliette Binoche emoting in reaction to seeing a fight outside her window, and then then the events coming into her building and hearing it outside her door. Looking for a clip now…
Couldn’t find a clip online. In my DVD copy it starts about 34:18 to about 36:10 when she steps outside to see if anyone is still there and is locked out.
Yeah, those are a little too plot-oriented when it’s a stakeout or something.
Mystery Train is my JAMMMMM. I screen it every semester. But you kinda need the whole movie to get the effect of that gunshot.
I’m looking more for dialogue happening elsewhere while characters listen and react. The classic example is a kid in bed hearing his or her parents fighting downstairs.
It’s played for awkward comedy in About Schmidt as Warren sits in the living room while Kathy Bates and Howard Hesseman argue in the other room. “Robertaaa… Roberta! I can’t make this goddamn thing work. I mean, somebody really screwed it up… I’m not a mind reader!”
Can’t believe I’ve never seen Blue.
Barton Fink might have something… all those hotel rooms and the pipes and the solitude.
What about the Fury Road scene with Max going back to take out the Bulletfarmers? Not tons of dialogue from Furiousa et al as he wanders off, but it seems an interesting one for a title protagonist taking part in off-screen conflict for the benefit of the ‘support’ cast story. It’s nicely subversive that way.
I kinda remember this… How far into the movie? Do we stay on Furiosa?
There are probably a bunch of action movie fight scenes like this where a character confidently walks off-screen to dispatch a whole room full of henchmen while we “wait outside” with some other character.
That’s really good. I think I’ll use it at the start of the lecture A) because it’s Fury Road and kids love Fury Road and B) because it’s a really strong example of how it uses offscreen space and the choice of POV to build Furiosa’s relationship with Max without any dialogue. That explosion through the fog is terrific. Thanks, Shara!
How about the infamous football quiz scene from Diner, when Eddie’s insecurity about getting married manifests itself by him requiring his betrothed to answer a football quiz before the wedding?
(How great was this cast, at least in this, btw?) (Also, the offscreen stuff happens in two directions, when Elyse’s mother calls on the phone and Eddie’s mom asks to see how it’s going and seems not at all perturbed by the answer “It could go either way.”)
Spoiler: Eddie and Elyse do end up getting married. “I figure she’d have gotten the Alan Ameche question.”