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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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The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

$34.95 | 243 minutes

A small-time Los Angeles nightclub owner falls for a lavish invitation to gamble at a private club. After losing high stakes on extended credit, he is pressured by a gangster to eliminate his debt by killing a rival underworld power referred to only as "the Chinese bookie." Ben Gazzara is staggering in his performance as the proud Cosmo…

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Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back

$15.95 | 96 minutes

A raucous and intimate road movie of Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of England, DON'T LOOK BACK may be perhaps the most influential rock star documentary of all time. D.A. Pennebaker's trademark cinema verit approach, with its comprehensive perspective, captures the paradoxical Dylan in alternating moments of confrontational&hellip…

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Harlan County, USA

$34.95 | 104 minutes

Harlan County, USA Strike DVD is a Barbara Kopple had made no other film than this documentary account of the 1974 strike of Kentucky mine workers, arguably one of the finest documentaries ever made in the U.S. and possibly the best on the problems of organized labor, her place in film history would be assured. The strike began when the…

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National Film Board of Canada - A Scream From Silence

$14.95 | 95 minutes

This feature film documents the rape and eventual suicide of Suzanne, a nurse whose physical and emotional health deteriorates beyond repair as a result of the violence inflicted on her. Images of ritual and mass rape reinforce the horror of this act of domination. In this docudrama drawn from case histories, the filmmaker explores social&hellip…

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Primary

$19.95 | 53 minutes

In 1960, former Life magazine correspondent Robert Drew changed the face of documentary filmmaking when he introduced the first of his powerful films about President John F. Kennedy. Utilizing a small portable camera and sync sound recorder for the first time ever, Drew and his team of cameramen--nascent documentarians Richard Leacock…

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Faces

$34.95 | 130 minutes

John Cassavetes, frustrated with Hollywood after his films TOO LATE BLUES and A CHILD IS WAITING were watered down and mutilated, revisits the low-budget terrain of 1959's SHADOWS in this powerful drama that continues to influence new generations of filmmakers. FACES documents the disintegration of the upper-middle-class marriage of a…

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Shadows

$25.95 | 81 minutes

A tough-minded black jazz trumpeter slogs through a series of performances in ratty bars and strip clubs, while his lighter-skinned younger siblings enjoy--at least temporarily--the various privileges of "passing" in Manhattan's white power elite. This entirely improvised film marks independent pioneer John Cassavetes's (who had been…

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A Woman Under The Influence

$34.95 | 147 minutes

Writer-director-actor John Cassavetes delivers an extremely gritty, unsentimental portrait of a troubled human existence. Gena Rowlands is Mabel Longhetti, a slightly mad Italian-American housewife who has absolutely no understanding of herself, or her individuality, other than through her family. When her deep psychological unhappiness…

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