By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 16, 2011 at 9:25AM
We're heading out of the winter blahs at the theaters and right into tentpole season, but if big-budget spectacles aren't your bag, HBO might provide some worthy distraction for you. The channel has the highly anticipated mini-series "Mildred Pierce" directed by Todd Haynes hitting in March, and in April, the cable outlet will unveil the intriguing "Cinema Verite" which judging by the brief teaser trailer, looks be a fascinating look at one of the first attempts at reality television.
Shari Springer Berman and her husband/directing partner Robert Pulcini (”American Splendor”) helmed the film and Berman told us last year, “The movie is on the making of the landmark PBS documentary ‘American Family,’ about the Loud family and it’s a narrative film starring Diane Lane, James Gandolfini and Tim Robbins, about this perfect American Family. It was before ‘American Experience’ and Margaret Mead is a part of it. It’s the first reality TV show, it’s like the next step of anthropology.”
It sounds like a particularly intriguing slice of American television history and Gandolfini looks particularly strong as filmmaker Craig Gilbert, tasked with capturing the Loud family -- head up by Lane and Robbins -- on camera. Synopsis and trailer below. [via /Film]
“An American Family” was a total departure from the television shows of the time when it aired in 1973, and brought public scrutiny to a family unprepared for the consequences. It put the Louds in the spotlight as the parents (Diane Lane, Tim Robbins) struggled with their marriage while raising their children. In particular, Pat was criticized for her support of her openly gay son Lance (Thomas Dekker) at a time when homosexuality was rarely represented on television.
Cinema Verite gives a behind-the-scenes look at how the original PBS series was created by filmmaker Craig Gilbert (James Gandolfini). While he aimed to have an impact on culture, he also felt that the family’s struggles were relatable to many Americans in a way that the Brady Bunch and the Partridge Family were not. The crew of Alan and Susan Raymond (Patrick Fugit, Shanna Collins) spent seven months filming the family in 1971 and were often at odds with Gilbert about what content was appropriate to film.