The Directors and the Subjects

This is an interesting French example of cinéma vérité. It begins with a discussion between directors Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin about whether it is possible to be truthful before the camera. They decide to begin with the topic of “how do you live?” when starting to talk with their subjects. The discussions begin with life and work, but soon are turned towards the war in Algeria and other political affairs. At the end of the film, the directors sit with the subjects and have them view the footage that was shot, inviting them to comment. Then we get a short discussion between the directors about the results of their work.

Their isn’t anything particularly profound in any of the discussions. The film is interesting because of the way it is structured and how that may or may not allow for a more truthful cinema. It’s also interesting for Canadian cinematographer/director Michel Brault’s handheld camerawork that at times creates intimate discussions and other times helps to create the cliche of having subjects go about their day while the audio of the interview plays over the images. Here are a few examples:

This is a film that is only interesting for it’s historical importance. For that reason, it’s worth a look.