Robert Drew and the Development Cinema Verite in America

Robert Drew and the Development Cinema Verite in America

P.J. O'Connell

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 0809317796

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


P. J. O’Connell traces Robert Drew’s influence on cinema verite through extensive interviews with Drew and with some of the founding fathers of American cinema verite filmmaking—Donn Alan Pennebaker, Gregory Shuker, and Richard Leacock.

In a forty-minute magazine show, his first attempt at revolutionizing television journalism, Drew realized that his heavy equipment and the crew needed to carry it intruded too much into the real-life situations he was trying to capture. He persuaded Time-Life Broadcasting to sponsor the development of new, lightweight, portable synchronous sound equipment that freed documentary filmmakers from the bulky, tripod-mounted, AC-powered equipment of the past.

Drew formed a like-minded staff and, using the new technology to go beyond the interview-and-narration form of television journalism, filmed Primary, which documented the 1960 Wisconsin Democratic primary election. By capturing intense moments as they happened, this film fulfilled Drew’s dream of making an audience feel personally involved in the events he presented.

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and which you've gotten mostly, but some people that you quote in the book are dissonant or tone-deaf or even hostile.3 Before getting to questions of "music" and hostility, there are smaller details. Drew is quick to point out a poorly chosen word or phrase. An original sentence reads: "But [On the Pole] is certainly not high-level 'jour- Page 221 nalism'; there is no consideration of the economics of racingfor the drivers or for the city of Indianapolisthere is only passing

bait, limited time, limited energy, and we were always making these decisions about when to roll and not. The guy who got the other guy up to bat doesn't suddenly stop thinking! or being aware; he goes right on doing it. And in a way, the photographer is operating within his decision apparatus, not independently or without it." (Drew, 14 February 1988.) 3. Pennebaker, 25 October 1984. 4. Pennebaker, 25 October 1984. 5. Pennebaker, 25 October 1984. 6. Leacock, 22 September

Quarterly 17 (Summer 1964): 3640. 25. Breitrose, 39. 26. Breitrose, 40. 27. James C. Lipscomb, "Correspondence and Controversy," Film Quarterly 18 (Winter 1964/65): 62. 28. Lipscomb, 63. 29. Leacock, 22 September 1984. 30. Drew, 8 June 1984. 31. Drew, interview by Barbara Hogenson, 4 October 1979, p. 220. 32. Leacock, 22 September 1984. 33. Shuker, 23 November 1984. 20. Drew Associates, 3 1. Drew, interview by Barbara Hogenson, 5 January

attentive to the skepticisms his Page 4 actor-friend is now addressing. He may be hearing, an observer thinks, a comment that has become annoyingly familiar after years of proposing ideas that have never been done before. Robertson describes the initial reactions of many pilots to the plan: "There are friends of mine that just shook their heads and said, 'I hope you know what you're in for!'" Page 5 2 Beginnings Beginnings are important, perhaps, but it is hard to know

happens in front of the camera.12 But the central focus of Shivas's report is not on the improved means of recording uncontrolled human activity that had been presented to the conference but on how these new means can be adapted to more traditional ends. Shivas targets his strongest critical praise on a feature film, Jacques Rozier's Adieu Philippine, "the Nouvelle Vague's finest achievement to date." [Rozier] uses many of the methods used by other exponents of Cinema-Verite; like Rouch

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