Judge a film by its trailer: Cinema Verite

Friday February 18th 2011


The first trailer for upcoming HBO movie Cinema Verite is only 47 seconds long, but that doesn’t stop it from telling you LITERALLY EVERYTHING there is to know about Cinema Verite.

The film tells the story of the troubled marriage between Tim Robbins and Diane Lane who, despite their picturesque American lifestyle, struggle with deep-set emotional demons. [Sorry, did I say Tim Robbins and Diane Lane? I meant tim ROBBINS and diane LANE.] When a ruthless TV producer chooses their family to star in a new 10-part reality show, they initially have trouble understanding the concept. It’s almost as if no one has ever done this before. Wouldn’t it be incredible if no one had ever done this before? I think I would literally sprint to the cinema right now and buy a ticket for Cinema Verite if no one had ever done this before.

So it turns out no one has ever done this before, which might be because this is a film set IN PAST. The trailer doesn’t mention any dates or decades, which makes it hard to work out exactly when it’s set. If only there was some kind of incredibly blatant production design we could rely on to clear up such issues.

90s maybe?

At first, work on the show goes swimmingly, with the family happily showing off their apparently perfect lives, but before long cracks start to appear in their careful constructed public facade. Themes of voyeurism and exploitation are plumbed to their very depths as the show itself begins to have a damaging effect on the family, and the crew are forced to decide whether or not to continue when things get RILLY RILLY SERIUS.

In the end, both the couple and the film crew are forced to confront their ethical sacrifices, and accept that both groups played a role in the family’s collapse. The show’s final episode offers a surprisingly poignant portrait of a life lived in public and receives universal critical acclaim. We fade to black on Tim and Diane sat watching the show, clasping hands and silently promising each other that they’ll never let it happen again. To round it all off, we get a few facts about how reality TV ended up being responsible for Vietnam, 9/11 and knife crime, presented in a beautiful and inherently trustworthy serif font.

We have all learnt a valuable lesson.