French Cinema-Verite Today
The bedlam started with a viral video of campaign speech from governor candidate several months past. Although it had been registered that the video was majorly cut, removed from its context, spiced with provocative nuance, the masses had moved beyond care: the said candidate only position is a jail candidate. These days, information embeded and spread in moving images no longer goes through fact verification. In moving images, the adage of seeing is believing blurs the lines of truth, disregarding further reading.
A similar thing can be seen in the medium of documentary. Factual information and veritable truth are common expectation when watching documentary films. Yet again, how truth is presented remains a continuous debate. At its starting point, direct cinema was claimed to be ideal as it minimized filmmaker’s roles in being seen. A different perspective, however, was offered by Jean Rouch in 1960s. Marked with by arrival of cinema-verite or “cinema of truth” in the film Chronique d’un Ete. This style views camera’s presence as an automatic intervention of the subject’s behavior. Instead of placing the subject and context as how “it should be”, in cinema-verite, filmmaker is an active provocateur in the explored ideas, subject is ever-engaged, often enough, the filmmakers even appear in their films. For filmmakers with a penchant for this style, documentary film is a construct and an intervention, and that process is intentionally included as the verification of truth from filmmakers to the audiences.
In the program “Docu Francais”, FFD 2017, four films of cinema-verite are presented. The process of filmmaking resulting in layers of unexpected narrations is the reason why this style is important to be discussed and observed. Film L’Autre Cotee (Isabelle Bourgueil, 2016), records irony that is ever-present in the construction building of a museum, while Ronde-bosse (Laurence Michel, 2014) shows how France citizens see women with bald heads. Film Conter Sa Vie (Heloise Deriaz, 2015) captures how myths of tradition being reproduced by immigrants in their destination countries. Meanwhile, a courage to provoke suppressed complaints in Louis Vuitton’s workers with naughty and comedic undertone presented in Merci Patron! (Francois Ruffin, 2017) is an ultimate expression in the exploration of cinema verita in France’s.
Curated by Aditya Rizki Pratama