Since the beginning of Documentary Filmmaking, films have shown the eternal search for truth. Exposing reality as it is to the world through Film became a goal to Documentary Filmmakers. For a period of time Filmmakers lost their path along the way and became promoters who manipulated the audience around the world into believing what they wanted. During the 1960’s two special movements began to emerge in different parts of the world. Direct Cinema in North America and Cinema Vérité in Fance. These two movements brought back the notion of revealing the true through their Films. The new movements encourage Filmmakers to take the position of observers. Direct Cinema and Cinema Vérité are often confused and classify as one movement. This is not a surprise since their principle is to capture the authenticity of life as it is lived, and to break through the veneer between the audience and the subject. But in reality Direct Cinema and Cinema Vérité are different and should not be classified as one since their practitians take different approaches in the filmmaking process, Direct Cinema takes an objective aproach, while Cinema Vérité takes a reflective aproach.
Is important to point out that Cinema Vérité and Direct Cinema films aesthetic and philosophy was not first thought of during the 1960’s. The father of Documentary Robert Flaherty foreshadows key elements of Cinema Vérité and Direct Cinema. For example, the interest in studying real people in their actual environment. In Nanook of the North (1922) Flaherty Follows Nanook and his family for moths, to show the world Nanook’s background life style and culture. Another example is that Flaherty saw the Filmmaking process as and art of observation and afterward selection. Which relates to Direct Cinema whose proponents aimed to shoot first and find the story later in the editing room.
But, the real pioneer of the “film truth” is Dziga Vertov who created a movement widely known as “Kinopravda”. Acording to his philosophy it was not a filmmaker job to create a story, but to recognize one out of real life events. His film “Man with a Movie Camera” (1929) anticipated some of the key concepts that Direct Cinema and Cinema Vérité Filmmakers had. Vertov’s goal was to reveal truth by observing and recording everyday life. This shows that Dziga Vertov, Cinema Vérité and Direct Cinema all share the same objective. Another similarity would be that as well as Direct Cinema and Cinema Vérité practitioners, Vertov opposed to the use of actors. One of the reasons that makes easy to mistake to Cinema Vérité and Direct Cinema with each other is their goal to uncover the truth with objectivity, since both movements were influenced by a visionary methods ans techniques from Vertov and Flaherty.
Vertov anticipated the necessity for synchronize sound and the necessity of a camera that could go anywhere. After a long quest, thanks to the Drew unit and their tests, Filmmakers were finally able to achieve synchronized...