Search DVDBeaver

S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r


H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Cinema Verité [Blu-ray]


(Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini, 2011)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: HBO Films

Video: HBO



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:30:11.864

Disc Size: 21,417,750,531 bytes

Feature Size: 20,077,522,944 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.51 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 24th, 2012



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3271 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3271 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS Audio French 1509 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB
DTS Audio Spanish 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit / DN -4dB

Commentary: DTS Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / 24-bit



English (SDH), French, Spanish, none



• Audio commentary from directors Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini and star Diane Lane
The Making of Cinema Verite behind-the-scenes featurette





Description: Decades before housewives had screaming matches with each other on camera in public, the Loud family became a television sensation of a new kind when they appeared on the groundbreaking 1973 PBS documentary series An American Family. Witness the birth of reality television as Diane Lane, Tim Robbins and James Gandolfini star in HBO Films' presentation of Cinema Verité.


A dramatization of the making of the controversial 1973 PBS documentary series An American Family, the brainchild of... filmmaker Craig Gilbert (James Gandolfini) that followed the everyday lives of Pat and Bill Loud (Diane Lane, Tim Robbins) and their children as the parents' marriage disintegrated and the entire family struggled under an unforgiving spotlight



The Film:

With co-directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini at the helm, Cinéma Vérité has precisely the right filmmakers steering the ship since they are the team who made the great and unusual biopic of Harvey Pekar, American Splendor. It also doesn't hurt that they're filming a sharp script by David Seltzer whose unusual resume of writing credits includes Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Omen, Lucas and many others I'll omit so as not to embarrass him. The directors' greatest assets though happen to be its talented cast led by Diane Lane, Tim Robbins and James Gandolfini.

Excerpt from Edward Copeland on Film located HERE

Directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini are no strangers to tackling everyday characters and people who are caught within somewhat unreal circumstances. There was Harvey Pekar in "American Splendor" whose own eccentricity made him a star; Kevin Kline's Henry Harrison in "The Extra Man" who as an escort for wealthy widows was an eye-opener for Paul Dano's Louis Ives and even Annie Braddock in "The Nanny Diaries" finds herself in the strange world of the well-heeled in New York City. Thus, with "Cinema Verite," the directors find themselves firmly -- if somewhat a little too comfortably -- in their wheelhouse. The film goes behind-the-scenes of the legendary and groundbreaking PBS documentary "An American Family" which chronicled the Loud brood, largely at their ugliest and most dramatic. Airing in 1973, the 12-part series was both a hit with ten million viewers and a scandal for tarnishing the wholesome image of the typical middle class American family.

Excerpt from Kevin Jagernauth at IndieWire located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Single-layered but an acceptable bitrate for the 1.5 hour film, Cinema Verite. This actually looks very good - originally shown in Video (HDTV) printed format about a year ago on HBO. Daylight scenes are impressive - very bright with the 70's art direction colors looking lively.  Detail is strong and there is no noise. This Blu-ray does its job very well with a clean, moderately glossy image. With the format - an easy replication, probably better - 1080P, of the original broadcast presentation.

















Audio :

The audio is transferred via a DTS-HD Master surround at 3271 kbps. It doesn't get much work as the production has minimal aggression - not that type of film. There is a fire and some other circumstances but the track handles any effects and required separation with ease. Nothing stands out as prominent aurally. There is original music by Rolfe Kent. There are optional lossless DUBs in French and Spanish - as well as optional subtitles in both as well as English.


Extras :

HBO offer an audio commentary from directors Shari Springer Berman & Robert Pulcini and star Diane Lane who discuss the production details with some interesting hidden information utilized to portraying the characters as accurately as possible. There is also a Making of Cinema Vérité as a behind-the-scenes featurette. The extras lean towards a historical viewpoint of the original - with obvious comparisons and pioneer references and the deluge long after of American viewers' fascination with reality-style television.



Cinema Verité was quite interesting but I was left wanting. Wanting what? I'm still unsure. I was impressed by the performances and the 70's art direction. I would think having a basic knowledge of An American Family - may benefit somewhat. The supplements bolster this appreciation. I wasn't bored - I just found it less than conclusive. Still, Diane Lane is always a treat and the Blu-ray does its job well in supporting a fine a/v presentation. I have no complaints. I just wasn't overly keen on the film's central focus. Cinema Verite both exposes the distasteful voyeuristic issue and then exploits it under the surface. To each his own. 

Gary Tooze

April 19th, 2012


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






Hit Counter












DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

 CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!