2011, Drama, 1h 30m41 Reviews 500+ Ratings
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Cinema Verite is a disappointingly incurious dive into the birth of reality television, but terrific performances and the inherent intrigue behind the making of An American Family keep this drama compelling. Read critic reviews
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Critic Reviews for Cinema Verite
The film's real fascination is with the documentary's maker, Craig Gilbert, played with wonderful faux innocence by James Gandolfini.
Like a history lesson in the genre that's taken over so much of cable and broadcast network programming. It's also the sort of intelligent drama that has to compete with the cheaper, flashier shows that An American Family eventually spawned.
Cinema Verite is smart and often moving, but unsatisfying overall. It compresses seven months of shooting, 3,000 hours of raw footage, and 12 hours' worth of televised story into a little over 90 minutes, losing complexity along the way.
Just as 12 hours probably wasn't enough time to establish the Louds as real people, not soap opera stick figures, two hours isn't quite enough to explain exactly what went wrong with An American Family, either.
They'd found good matches for the original participants, and there was a certain fascination in watching the segues between documentary artifice and artificial documentary. But the script was so clunky it virtually came with visible bullet points.
An informative but somewhat plodding re-creation of the 1970s PBS special, An American Family. James Gandolfini steals the show as the producer who persuades the naive parents to invite cameras into their soon-to-be shattered house.
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Cinema Verite Quotes
|Pat Loud:||The hardest thing that I cn think of in life is disappointing the people I love the most in the whole world.|
|Craig Gilbert:||No one has ever done this before. So if anyone should be asking what the point is, it should be me of having to beg to finance what could be the most grounding breaking ten hours of TV ever put on the air.|
|Pat Loud:||When Bill would go away, I was just left at home with my own worst fears. Finally, I decided what I needed to do was to keep Bill home, and show him and the world that his family was an indestructible thing.|