Saturday, January 10, 2015

Cinema Verite

In 1973 PBS released An American Family, a documentary series that followed the day-to-day ongoings of a middle class family which proved to be an early predecessor of reality TV. Cinema Verite tells the story of how producer Craig Gilbert (James Gandolfini) developed the idea for the show and convinced his friend (Diane Lane), her husband (Tim Robbins), and the rest of their family to participate in the landmark experiment and goes on to record the expected dramatic fallout that ensued. Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini's film tells an intriguing behind-the-scenes story which moves at too brisk a clip and does not spend enough time letting you get to know all of its players (while time spent on major characters is quite fascinating). Lane nails her highfalutin character and Gandolfini and Robbins both turn in equally strong performances.
*** out of ****