Cinema Verite

917 Words2 Pages

The nineteenth-century was an explosion of industry and technology. Evidence of how these advances made an impact on people's lives and how they viewed the world was prevalent in the art of the time. The influence of the Freudian revolution, having given artists insight into the human psyche, would give birth to movements in art such as Expressionism and Surrealism. As the nineteenth-century came to a close, an entirely novel mixture of art and technology found its inception, cinema. Beginning with French filmmaker Georges Melies' fourteen-minute silent film, A Trip to the Moon, released to the public in 1902 and based on a Jules Verne novel, the art of motion pictures would become the epitome of modern medium. As new technology continued to emerge, artists in this field would make of it a revolutionary industry deeply rooted in modern culture.
Cinema began as short, silent films, spinning away on cellulose. Audiences would follow the plot through mime and title cards in cramped theaters, projectors clanking loudly. It wasn't until the late 1920's that sound would be introduced to the motion picture experience. With the release of The Jazz Singer in 1927and the new Vitaphone system, “talkies” would replace the silent film. Actors and directors of the Silent Era had to adapt quickly to the new technology but would literally find a voice in their art and use it to speak directly to their audience.
As “talkies”, or film with spoken dialogue, made their debut, Americans were struggling through the Great Depression. Being a relatively inexpensive form of entertainment, many people across the nation would attempt to escape into the fictional worlds that movies provided. In the 1934 film, It Happened One Night, the audience embarks o...

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... is given insight into this stark reality as a soldier looks directly into the camera and says, “We're not ready for this.”
The statement Junger and Heatherington made with their film Restrepo was a powerful one. This is exactly the purpose of Cinema Verite, to give voice to the truth. Many argue that the verite style presents a manipulative version of reality because the editing is used to influence the audience, dramatizing the events on screen, focused on eliciting a certain emotional response. It is also often criticized for being more reportage that artistic expression. However, as with all modern art, especially that in the film industry because of its wide audience and influence, Cinema Verite reflects the zeitgeist in which it was produced. There is a thirst for the truth, even in the harshest of realities. Artists, no matter their medium, strive for this.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the nineteenth-century was an explosion of industry and technology. the freudian revolution gave rise to expressionism and surrealism.
  • Explains that cinema began as short, silent films spinning away on cellulose. with the release of the jazz singer in 1927 and the new vitaphone system, "talkies" replaced the silent film experience.
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