Cinema Verite in America
Studies in Uncontrolled Documentary
One of the first full-length critical studies of a documentary technique, it discusses the filmmakers who pioneered in this genre and the films they created.
Cinema verite might be defined as a filming method employing hand-held cameras and live, synchronous sound. This description is incomplete, however, in that it emphasizes technology at the expense of filmmaking philosophy. Beyond recording means, cinema verite indicates a position the filmmaker takes in regard to the world he films. In this book, cinema verite finds a place of its own, and is not simply regarded as a mutant offspring of documentary techniques. Lingering between documentary and fiction, cinema verite attempts to strip away the accumulative conventions of traditional cinema in the hope of rediscovering a reality that eludes other forms of filmmaking and reporting. Simple and direct, it tries to eliminate the barriers between subject and audience.Even though any kind of cinema is a process of selection, there is (or should be) all the difference in the world between the cinema verite aesthetic and the methods of fictional and traditional documentary film. "This is an important work because it draws together, well, for the first time, both a cogent and well-exemplified definition of cinema verite and a critical history of the flowering of this sub-genre of the documentary film.... Mamber is outstanding in his ability to describe cinema verite conventions as they appear on the screen, rather than just locating them in the abstract... The film-by-film methodological treatment is particularly helpful since it concentrates and makes concrete. The book is exceptionally well illustrated with sixty stills that invariably bring back to mind the films. The documentation is excellent as are the filmographies and the bibliography. A two-page suggested course schedule for classroom utilization, and an index included."—Film Library Quarterly