Categories 21st Century Media Practice, Adventures, Film Making

Cinema Verite- Film truth

Cinéma vérité- ‘film truth’, also known as ‘Direct Cinema’?

A style of film concerned with representing truth and reality, not overtly using filmic artifice or complete directoral control.

What is Cinéma Vérité? –

Cinéma Vérité? often gets misinterpreted. It should provoke its own kind of truth and is not meant in the literal form. It’s an exploration of what the truth “may be” and all the different avenues that the narrative may explore for the audience member personally.

This video describes how Rouch believed that people were just revealing a “truer” version of themselves, not because they were performing, but it was more a reflection of Rouch and his presences as a filmmaker.


There, is a lot more to Cinema Verite that this short video and filmmakers like Jean Rouch have clearly demonstrated the theory through their work. However how I felt by the end of the lecture was a sense of identity. My formal training on my BSc, focused on the science of film-making and quite often I have been happy to grab a camera and shoot what is happening around me. Such as a piece I am working on currently ” The Monks of Wat Bo”. I’ve never been able to apply or identify the style I am naturally drawn to, so to be able to leave the session, with a sense of identity in my own work, lead me onto to think what type of film do I want to create?


For my project, I want to use Roach’s quote actually in a literal approach. In the sense of art and science is an exploration of one another. For myself, I want the film to be about a subject matter I am interested in and a process that may people do not see or experience anymore, with living in the digital age. I have chosen to go back to the photographic dark room.


The Zero object was a Kodak Brownie dating back to early photography, the camera itself originates from Canadia and dates from 1921. It’s the mechanical process of taking an image with this camera that is removed from the usual process. There is no auto-focus or standard focus as we know it. A good judge of distance or a tape measure is useful. Instantaneous images that we are so used to with our phones is removed and the magic of processing the image with chemicals begins.

I inherited a camera recently, from one of my grandfathers friends, Dr. Doug a retired Industrial Glass Lecturer from Sunderland University. Dr. Doug had trained with my grandfather at University. My grandfather was himself a photographer, who enjoyed this process of working with light and revealing what he had taken, through this chemical process. He was himself a chemical engineer, who understood the chemical and physical reaction of the photography process. I even found out that my grandfather had converted a 60’s caravan into a mobile darkroom in the Lake District during his earlier years.

I would often hear stories of him banishing his daughters from the bathroom for hours, when he was processing his images, and would leave them in the bath to render through. He would work in there for hours processing each negative through a process of precise chemical mixing, timing and using the physics of light to develop his pictures. Light, was not just part of the process when taking the image, but it was the whole part of the workflow.

Jon Legge my colleague is a fountain of knowledge for all analogue cameras. It was him I went to when Dr Dougs parcel arrived. Jon and I say cameras like this are a sheer delight for a photographer. It is not just what the camera does, it’s the mechanics, the stories, it’s playing with light, and the energy that mechanical eye has captured.

A Teacher…

This is a process that only now photographers, photography students, and people with a genuine interest practice this technique and craft. My Media production students do not do this process and being digital filmmakers, they miss this process in understanding and developing their own cinematography practice.


I hope that from making this film, it will give the truthful example of the process in developing film. Jon has an energy and presence that knowledgeable even when being his truthful self. I hope that my presence when filming doesn’t alter his state in being himself and how he works. This is an exciting project and to be continued…..

Interactive Blog Post- 



Your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.