IndiePix, Celebrating Independent Film

Cinema Verite

Revolutionary for its use of lightweight, portable equipment and developments in synchronized sound ("sync sound" for short), Cinéma Verité allowed filmmakers to get up close and personal with their subjects and put the audience right in the middle of the action in ways they never could have before.

Cinéma Verité arose out of Russian film pioneer Dziga Vertov's Kino-Pravda (Cinema of Truth) in which he used montage, superimposed images and changing film speeds to convey the frenetic energy of city life (see Man With A Movie Camera). In the 1960's, a young filmmaker named Richard Leacock (The Louisiana Story, Primary) developed a way to record sound and image separately while keeping them in sync. (Previously, cameras and sound recording had to be tethered to each other.) This allowed filmmakers to go out into the world and capture life "as it happens." Whether you call it Direct Cinema (USA), Free Cinema (UK), Cinéma Verité (France), this technological liberation launched the careers of such film luminaries as D.A. Pennebaker, Barbara Kopple, Albert and David Maysles, and John Cassavetes.

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