Watch Cinema Verite
- 1 hr 30 min
Cinema Verite is a film that delves into the making of the groundbreaking 1973 PBS documentary series, An American Family. The movie is directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, and stars Diane Lane, Tim Robbins, and the late James Gandolfini. The movie takes place in the 1970s, at a time when reality TV was unheard of. An American Family was a documentary series that followed the daily lives of the Loud family, a middle-class family from Santa Barbara, California. The show was a cultural phenomenon, and it is widely regarded as the first reality TV show. The series captured more than just the daily routines of the Loud family, as it also showed their breakdowns, their struggles, and their triumphs.
The film focuses on the making of the series, and the film follows Craig Gilbert (played by James Gandolfini) as he convinces the Loud family to participate in the series. Gilbert is a documentary filmmaker who wants to make a revolutionary TV show that breaks away from the cookie-cutter programming of the time.
As the film progresses, it becomes clear that the making of An American Family isn't as smooth as Gilbert initially thought. The Loud family begins to unravel under the pressure of being in the spotlight, and tensions arise between them. Pat Loud (played by Diane Lane) is seen as the matriarch of the family, but her marriage to Bill Loud (played by Tim Robbins) is strained. The cameras capture their fights and arguments as their marriage falls apart, and it is difficult to watch.
There are so many layers to this movie. Firstly, there is the exploration of the birth of reality TV. The making of the series is a stark contrast to the highly-produced and staged reality shows of today, as the cameras are simply capturing moments as they happen. It is fascinating to see how this concept was approached and executed in an era where reality TV was non-existent.
Secondly, there is the Loud family themselves. The Louds were a typical American family, but they were living their lives with an added level of exposed vulnerability. Their personal struggles and failings were there for the world to see, as they were captured on camera for the show. The film captures the breakdown of the family unit, and it is both heart-warming and heart-breaking to watch.
The third layer is the exploration of the documentary-making process itself. Gilbert is seen as a visionary, who is willing to push the boundaries of what is deemed acceptable TV content. However, as the Loud family begin to struggle with being in the spotlight, he is forced to face the reality that the documentary he is making is having a negative impact on their lives.
The acting in this movie is top-notch. Gandolfini, in one of his final roles, gives a commanding performance as Craig Gilbert, the documentary filmmaker who wants to make history. Lane is equally as impressive as Pat Loud, the matriarch of the family who is grappling with her marriage falling apart. Robbins rounds out the trio with his portrayal of Bill Loud, the patriarch of the family who is struggling with his own identity and the pressures of being on the show.
In conclusion, Cinema Verite is a compelling movie that explores the birth of reality TV through the groundbreaking series, An American Family. The film is a masterclass in acting, and it captures the real-life struggles of the Loud family with sensitivity and respect. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in the history of reality TV, and for those who appreciate a well-made drama.
Cinema Verite is a 2011 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.5.