cinéma vérité


cinéma vérité
/sin"euh meuh ver'i tay"/; Fr. /see nay mah vay rddee tay"/
1. a technique of documentary filmmaking in which the camera records actual persons and events without directorial control: introduced in France in the 1950s.
2. a film using this technique or a simulation of it.
[1960-65; < F cinéma-vérité lit., cinema-truth, coined as a trans. of Russ kinoprávda, a documentary technique developed by the Soviet filmmaker Dziga Vertov (1896-1954)]

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(French; : "truth cinema")

French film movement of the 1960s that strove for candid realism by showing people in everyday situations with authentic dialogue.

Influenced by documentary filmmaking and Italian Neorealism, the method produced such outstanding examples as Jean Rouch's Chronicle of a Summer (1961) and Chris Marker's Joli Mai (1962). A similar movement in the U.S., where it was called "direct cinema," captured the reality of a person or an event by using a handheld camera to record action without narration, as in Frederick Wiseman's Titicut Follies (1967) and the Maysles brothers' Salesman (1969).

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▪ French film movement
      (French: “truth cinema”), French film movement of the 1960s that showed people in everyday situations with authentic dialogue and naturalness of action. Rather than following the usual technique of shooting sound and pictures together, the film maker first tapes actual conversations, interviews, and opinions. After selecting the best material, he films the visual material to fit the sound, often using a hand-held camera. The film is then put together in the cutting room.

      British documentaries in the 20th century, the neorealist movement of post-World War II Italy, and the British “free” documentaries of the 1950s that dealt with the significance of ordinary situations influenced the development of the French cinéma vérité. The movement was criticized for too often degenerating into reportage rather than artistic expression. Nevertheless, it continued the movement toward greater realism in films and demonstrated a different approach to documentary film making. Outstanding examples of French cinéma vérité are Jean Rouch's Chronique d'un été (1961; Chronicle of a Summer) and Chris Marker's Le Joli Mai (1962).

      The invention of relatively inexpensive, portable, but thoroughly professional 16-millimetre equipment—and the synchronous sound recorder—facilitated the development of a similar movement in the United States at just about the same time. Sometimes called cinéma vérité, sometimes simply “direct cinema,” its goal was essentially the capturing of the reality of a person, a moment, or an event without any rearrangement for the camera. Leading American practitioners were Ricky Leacock (Primary, 1960), Frederick Wiseman (Titicut Follies, 1967), Donn Pennebaker (Monterey Pop, 1968), and the Maysles brothers (Salesman, 1969).

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Universalium. 2010.

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