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Cinéma vérité

Related: French cinema - realism in film - truth

Inspired: French new wave (cinematic genre)

Similar: Italian neorealism (film movement) - Russian kino pravda (film movement) - documentary film (film format)


Cinéma vérité is a French phrase meaning, literally "film truth". The term comes from the literal translation of Dziga Vertov's Kino-Pravda series of the 1920s. While Vertov's announced intention in coining the word was to use film as a means of getting at "hidden" truth, largely through juxtapostions of scenes, the French term refers more to a technique influenced by Vertov than to his specific intentions.

Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North (1922) is also often seen as an ancestor to cinéma vérité, in that it was a partially scripted film that used the techniques of documentary filmmaking.

The aesthetic of the movement, which began in the 1950s and flourished in the 1960s was essentially the same as that of the mid-1950s "free cinema" in the UK and the "direct cinema" movement in the United States and Quebec (where it is called "cinéma direct").

Borrowing techniques from documentary film (but eschewing the use of voiceovers) cinéma vérite aims for an extreme naturalism, using non-professional actors, nonintrusive filming techniques, frequent use of hand-held camera, the use of genuine locations rather than sound stages, and naturalistic sound without post-production. In principle, the film movement Dogme 95 features similar tenets, but in practice most Dogme 95 films show far more indications of the scripting and direction than is typical for cinéma vérité.

Filmmakers generally associated with cinéma vérité include:

The techniques (if not always the spirit) of cinéma vérite can also be seen in such films as the Blair Witch Project and in mockumentaries such as A Hard Day's Night and This Is Spinal Tap. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinema_verite [Oct 2004]

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