Last night I watched the Ballet Boyz‘s film, Young Men. It is a film without dialogue, apart from some screaming, set in the First World War. A mixture of dance and music, the film brought out a different set of emotions than spoken word.
The music and the physical moves affect us in a different manner. Rather than telling the viewer what to feel, the lack of speech places alternative demands on the viewer.
CSI: New York did this with the Speak episode, although bottled it half way through by introducing speech. Before that the episode just had music and the acting. Its user experience was a bit different and some how the programme came a bit more to life.
I’ve never been a huge silent cinema fan but appreciate the changes required to show the dramatic work.
It is something to consider for audio displays and sonic interfaces. It is a qualitative feature and so harder to work out how to test, barring listening.