The phrase cinéma vérité (French for "truthful cinema" or "cinema of truth") refers to a documentary filmmaking trend that started in France in the 1960s with the release of Chronicle of a Summer (Chronique dun Été, 1961).
What Is Cinéma Vérité, and Why Is It Important?
The terms "cinema vérité" and "direct cinema" are sometimes interchanged to denote a documentary-type observational filming method that feels "genuine" and follows unplanned rather than scheduled activity.
This method of filmmaking entails immersing yourself in a community for several months (or more), developing trust, and following characters as their lives unfold. Unlike a standard Hollywood film, the vérité filmmaker does not edit the events captured on camera; instead, the story is "found" afterwards in the editing room, when a narrative is built from vérité material (no sit-down interviews). The screenplay is more of a transcript in this scenario, rather than a formative text to guide and shape editing.
What Is Cinéma Vérit's Background?
Cinéma Vérité arose from the 1950s French New Wave movement. Documentaries were in desperate need of change in the 1960s, but film and audio equipment were either too large or too expensive to transport outside of the studio, limiting filmmakers' options. Beginning in the early 1960s, new hand-held camera technology allowed filmmakers to follow real-life events more intimately and unobtrusively than had previously been possible.
Cinéma vérité evolved as a result of this experiment. Richard Leacock and Robert Drew brought the method to the United States and Canada, where it became known as "direct cinema." Direct cinema emphasizes non-intervention even more than cinéma vérité, aiming for a 'fly on the wall' observing approach via the camera.
Cinéma Vérité's Six Key Elements
The following are the qualities of vérité films in general:
1. Non-actors are used in the filming.
2. Loose, handheld shots on 16mm film were common in the past.
on commonplace events.
4. Are shot with unscripted action and dialogue as well as continuous action.
5. Frequently explores social and political problems.
6. Make use of natural light.
Film Exercize: Do-It-Yourself Vérité Cinéma
One important takeaway from the cinéma vérité style is that anyone, regardless of their budget, can make genuine, emotionally honest films. In this case, budget This is the way it works.
1. Utilize the resources available to you
It's wonderful to have professional film equipment, but it's not required. Searching for Sugarman and Tangerine, two critically acclaimed feature films were shot entirely on iPhones. Even if it's on your phone, use the greatest, most portable, and least expensive camera you can find.
2. Choose a topic that piques your curiosity and connects to the larger themes you want to investigate
Rather than chasing a specific image, look around to see if an emotional truth may be found, whether it's in a doctor's office waiting room or at your local library's children's storytime.
3. Make a plan, but leave room for spontaneity
What is the objective you wish to get out of this experience? To whom do you intend to converse? Consider how you'd like to capture the subject on camera. Do you like the rosy tint of the late afternoon sun or the sweet morning light? In the evening, what kind of sounds do you hear? Make the most of the natural setting to capture the scene as realistically and cinematically as possible.
The availability of handheld cameras meant that filmmakers could leave the studs out of cinéma vérité, which set it different from traditional documentary film genres. They weren't confined to a little space, and you shouldn't be either. Keep in mind that if your person is rushing to catch a bus, it's important to stay calm. up!
5. Get in touch with your inner self
Try to engage with the topic in a meaningful way, even if it's difficult for someone who is used to being behind the camera. Keep the camera rolling for as long as possible to capture the essence of the moment. Instead of striving for technical perfection, concentrate on capturing the heart, tension, and emotion of the moment.
Cinéma Véri'te's 9 Best Examples:
While the vérité style is most commonly associated with documentaries, it has been used in a variety of non-fiction films. There are a few films related to the direct cinema movement that are listed below.
1. Chronicles of Summer (1961)
French filmmakers Edgar Morin and Jean Rouch pioneered the cinéma vérité genre with their experimental film Chronicle of a Summer. Morin and Rouch utilized their camera and their presence to elicit responses, in this example, by stopping individuals on the streets of Paris and asking, "Are you happy?"
2. Grey Gardens is a fictionalized account of the fictional (1976)
Albert and David Maysles used an unscripted cinéma vérité technique to portray Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edie's lives, with no interviews and no predefined plot. The Maysles brothers have built a rapport with their subjects, which allows them to film in an unedited and unrestricted manner.
3. Frederick Wiseman's film Titicut Follies (1967)
Depicts the Bridgewater State Hospital for the Criminally Insane in Massachusetts in a frightening manner. The horrific treatment of detainees by those who were supposed to look after them is documented in this film.
4. Don't Look Back (1967)
Follows Bob Dylan on tour as he transitions from folk to rock music. The opening scene of D.A. Pennebaker's film, in which Dylan performs "Subterranean Homesick Blues," has become a pop-culture classic.
5. Chris Marker's La Jetée (1962)
Combines science fiction and documentary techniques. The short video consists of a montage of still pictures that depict the protagonist's memories as he journeys through time.
6. An American Family (1973)
Is a PBS television series about the Louds, a wealthy Santa Barbara family. Originally meant to be a daily diary of a typical family, the series ended up chronicling Bill and Pat Loud's separation and later divorce.
7. The Place of Business (2005).
The iconic mockumentary series about a paper company in Scranton, Pennsylvania, popularized the technique of combining "talking heads" with action for hilarious effect.
8. The Blair Witch Project
Is a film based on the novel by Blair (1999). The idea of this surprising smash is simple: three student filmmakers vanish in the woods, and their footage is discovered a year later. What follows is what occurs when cinéma vérité meets horror, with masterful use of wobbly cameras and skewed viewpoints to inspire terror and despair in the audience.
9. Salaam, Bombay! (1980)
Mira Nair's vérité roots shine through in her debut feature film, which was shot on location with natural sound and dialogue written in Bombay slang. ay. She wanted more control over gesture, light, and storytelling, so she turned to fiction.