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Cinema Verite

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Cinema Verite

In 1973, the Loud family became a television sensation of a new kind. It was long before a metal rock star showed his eccentric family on the small screen and decades before housewives had screaming matches with each other on camera in public. CINEMA VERITE tells the behind-the-scenes story of the groundbreaking documentary "An American Family," which chronicled the lives of the Louds in the early 1970s and catapulted the Santa Barbara family to notoriety while creating a new television genre: the reality TV series.

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Release : 2011
Rating : 6.5
Studio :
Crew : Production Design,  Set Decoration, 
Cast : Tim Robbins Diane Lane James Gandolfini Kathleen Quinlan Patrick Fugit
Genre : Drama

Cast List





Just what I expected


Am i the only one who thinks........Average?

Melanie Bouvet

The movie's not perfect, but it sticks the landing of its message. It was engaging - thrilling at times - and I personally thought it was a great time.


The movie examines the filming of a ground-breaking PBS documentary called, "An American Family," in 1971, which was the first time a family allowed cameras into their home life and would become the first "reality show." Pat and Bill Loud (Diane Lane, Tim Robbins), have a troubled marriage but agree to be filmed because their family seems so ideal; they're rich, the kids are lively, and they live the good life. Little did they know that their life would unravel under the scrutiny of the camera lens.This movie would probably be appreciated most for fans of the original series. I was glued to the screen when "An American Family" first aired and was absolutely fascinated by it. The Louds became instant celebrities and everyone knew their names as viewers were privy to their most intimate moments. Lane and Robbins look and act a lot like the real couple and it was great to relive the train wreck that was their marriage. James Gandolfini is excellent as the producer who convinces the Louds to sign on, befriends Pat, and then reveals his true motives.The original series was absolutely shocking in its day; the movie isn't memorable, but it is quite fun and nostalgic to revisit the Louds.

Tony Heck

"One must never let the public behind the scenes for they are easily disillusioned and then they are angry with you, for it is the illusion they love." The first successful reality show was on PBS and it was about the Loud family. The show followed around Pat (Lane) and Bill (Robbins) Loud and their family. It was the first of it's kind and this movie about how it started, what it was like while it was going on and the aftermath. I was actually pretty excited about watching this because of the cast. I have to say I was not disappointed at all. The acting was great in this and the movie itself was very entertaining. I have never been a fan of reality TV but it was very interesting to see how the genre began and the immediate impact that the show had. I do have to say though that as great as this movie is and how interesting it was to see the family problems come to the surface I still have no interest to watch the real "American Family" show. That in no way means that I did not enjoy watching the Loud family in this movie though. Overall, an excellent movie that should be watched. Very, very interesting and makes me wonder how accurate it is. I give it an A-.


Modest, minor cable-made docudrama from directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini chronicles the would-be sturm and drang behind-the-scenes of PBS's "American Family", an eleven-hour series from 1971 which chronicled the lives of The Louds of Santa Barbara, CA. Justifiably famous as the first "reality TV" family, this bunch (mom, dad, and their amiable teenage kids) brought in big ratings for 'the education network', even though their lives were fairly typical and ordinary. Picked out of a society column by an ambitious producer, the Louds were followed around by a small camera-crew for some 78 days--to fill eleven hours of air-time--yet high drama was hard to come by (patriarch Bill Loud had the wandering eye; eldest son Lance Loud was a flamboyant singer who had already moved to New York City when production began; while spouse Pat Loud, strong and confident, was the glue who kept kids and husband together). There wasn't much happening behind--nor in front of!--the lens, except for some mild flirting between Pat and the crafty, cunning producer, and Pat's discovery that her husband had been carrying on affairs with a number of different women. The editors of the actual show had a tough time piecing together enough watchable product, while this rendering of events, penned by the estimable David Seltzer, suffers the same fate. The groovy production-design is spot-on, and Diane Lane has several strong moments portraying Pat...yet this American family simply wasn't cliffhanger material. It all seems much ado about nothing.


"Cinema Verite" may be a new art form: a drama shot in semi-documentary style about a documentary series (shot in 1971, televised nationally in 1973) which itself hovered between the spontaneous and the rehearsed. This 90-minute effort takes about a third of its running time time to get off the ground, but when it does it becomes fascinating as both sociology and drama. At first it seems as if there is no point in re-enacting the back story to the famous series that followed the ups and downs of the upper-middle-class Loud family of Santa Barbara. Nothing particularly interesting happens as a producer (James Gandolfini) talks a married couple (Diane Lane and Tim Robbins) into allowing cameras into their lives for an unprecedentedly close look at the perfect American family. The real drama begins only when the participants are forced to grapple with the big choices (what and what not to film, what and what not to do when the camera is rolling, how to handle the fact that their lives have decisively changed once the cameras entered). The actors here give themselves totally to this multi-leveled process and come out with flying colors. We see the actual Loud family in snippets from the original series juxtaposed with their contemporary impersonators who seamlessly fill their shoes, sometimes in mid- conversation. The casting is very good; the resemblances are striking. (But as close a match as Diane Lane is to Pat Loud, Demi Moore would have been even closer.) Some clever member of the creative team even decided to frame the whole enterprise with Mama Cass's 1969 song hit "Dream a Little Dream of Me" (originally a hit in 1931, about 40 years before "An American Family"'s time), allowing the song to surface again, 40 more years down the road, as underscoring to an examination of "the first reality show." A neat touch.One thing they got wrong was the performance of the underground play "Vain Victory" which the mother attends in the company of her gay son, Lance. The performers and venue for such ragtag productions were a lot funkier than depicted in this otherwise spot-on production. Of course, by 2011 cultural standards such drag acts are as tame and commonplace as Twinkies, but they were enough to drive Pat Loud out of the room back in '71.

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