Cinema: The Drawbacks of Reality

Cinema verite is one of those flexible French phrases, like piece de resistance; it covers a multitude of meanings. Back in the early '60s, the technique was its own justification, as film makers with new lightweight sound cameras trailed anyone from condemned convicts to standup comics. The idea was to produce a picture as exciting as drama but as honest as a snapshot. Now that methods and audiences are more sophisticated, pure documentary footage is no longer enough. As two new and wildly different cinema verite movies suggest, it is necessary to do...

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