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(Redirected from Cinema verite)
This article is about a type of documentary. Cinéma Vérité is also an album by Dramarama.

Cinéma vérité is a form of documentary. The name is a French phrase meaning, literally "true film". 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. As a silent film, it was immune from a problem that would arise with the advent of sound: for many years it was impossible to record sound in an unstructured environment, requiring documentaries to rely on narration.

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, introduced by the Drew Associates. Incongruously in France and Quebec it is usually 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. The movement was fueled as much by technological as artistic developments. Cameras had become small enough to be portable and unbotrusive. Even more important cameras were now quiet so that natural sound could be recorded at the same time as filming. Technologies linking cameras and recorders made the clapboard obsolete, further freeing the filmmaker.

John Cassavetes is credited with developing an American style of cinéma vérité.

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.

A modern proponent of cinéma vérité is the U.S. film director Scott Shaw. The style of filmmaking he developed and titled Zen Filmmaking is foundationally based upon the concepts of cinéma vérité. He has created a number of films in this style.

Filmmakers generally associated with cinéma vérité include:

Cinéma vérité films

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.


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