cinéma vérité

cinéma vérité, a style of filmmaking that attempts to convey candid realism. Often employing lightweight, hand-held cameras and sound equipment, it shows people in everyday situations and uses authentic dialogue, naturalness of action, and a minimum of rearrangement for the camera. The style was pioneered in the late 1950s and early 60s by such French documentary filmmakers as Jean Rouch and Chris Marker and has been influential in the work of a number of directors, most notably Jean-Luc Godard. American filmmakers, who sometimes called the style “direct cinema,” were quick to adopt and refine the technique. Included among them are Robert Drew, Richard Leacock, D. A. Pennebaker, Albert and David Maysles (all of whom also helped to develop portable cameras and synchronous sound equipment), and Frederick Wiseman. More recently, such documentary makers as Ken (and Ric) Burns and Barbara Kopple have made cinéma vérité techniques central to their films.

See studies by M. A. Issari (1971 and 1979) and S. Mamber (1974); Cinéma Vérité: Defining the Moment (film, 1999).

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