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In what ways does cinema verite differ from documentary film and what methods do film makers create realism in documentaries - Essay Example

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Documentaries and cinema verite, both specialize in bringing forth the realistic format of truth or real events that give validity to it for posterity. They have become highly relevant because they are able to capture the truth and expose hidden facts. Indeed, the boldness and authenticity are hugely compelling and often transform our vision and perspective of events…
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In what ways does cinema verite differ from documentary film and what methods do film makers create realism in documentaries
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Download file to see previous pages Documentary can broadly be described as cinematic expression that reveals ‘fullness and completion, knowledge and truth’ (Nichols, 1994:1). They focus on actual evidence of the events, using real people rather than actors of fictional films who portray other characters. As such, they have minimal editing, reflecting the unvarnished truth. Cinema verite, on the other hand, is a French expression that means ‘truthful cinema’ that records events as they are occurring, often prodding real people to reveal new information in order to showcase new dimension of issue or events (Black, 2002). Hence, it can be defined as documentaries with wide scope of capturing truth. The editing of film makes it more dramatic and, therefore, has greater impact than normal documentary films that are stark in their thematic reality. Documentary films are also accompanied by narratives that highlight events and often inform the public of its relevance by relating it to the history of events. The viewer is, therefore, updated with information about the events and can draw conclusion of truth as he/he sees the documentary. Cinema verite has no narrator and, therefore, the viewer has the freedom to interpret the film as he/she sees. The spontaneity of real characters makes it interesting because they are designed to reveal new aspects of their personality or issues which are often not intended for public. Nanook of the North, made in 1922, is a prime example of cinema verite which documents ethnographic study of Inuits. It has used photographic technics vis-a-vis fade out transition and editing to streamline and emphasize the issue (Renoy, 1993). This is very interesting and pertinent fact of cinema Verite that distinguishes it from normal documentary films. Another very important difference is that textual representation of live events in documentary films are seen as truthful expression of reality. There is little ambiguity because footage of events is not edited and voiceover is just to inform the audience about the issue which they see in the films. Cinema verite is proactive in its depiction of truth because while it captures the events as they occur, it actively provokes subjects in the event to provide new stance to the event. Mamber (1976) asserts that it is not just mutant offspring of documentary technique but tends to highlight the stance of the film maker. It tries to reveal new aspects of events rather than focusing on only one angle of the truth. Very often, the film maker uses editing techniques to showcase truth which could dramatize the events. Thus, it tends to expose paradoxical facets of the true events and makes them more intriguing and interesting. Facilitated by the technology advancements, the world of cinematic documentary has unfolded unprecedented way of unlocking truth and bringing them directly to the public. In the contemporary times, making documentary films has become very challenging because of the diversity of subjects and myriad formats of media tools can be easily exploited to divulge truth. Cinema verite of France, Direct Cinema of America and observatory films of the UK are all varying formats of documentary films that are based on true events. Popularly known as ‘voice’, the reconstructions and structuring tools used in documentary become the vital factor that shift the focus to spotlight and produce ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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