Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) Troubled Western 'Jane Got a Gun' Rescued as Relativity Files for Bankruptcy (Updated) 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film 'The Witch' Won't Open Until 2016, But Its Sundance-Winning Director Has a New Film Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Showtime Chief on David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' Revival: "It's His Show" Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Toronto Film Festival Lineup: What Did They Get? Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Discover the Brothers Quay, Identical Twin Animators Who Inspired Christopher Nolan Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Richard Linklater's Untitled New Film Pushed to 2016, Might Direct Jennifer Lawrence Movie Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers Jill Soloway Says "There Is an All Out-Attack" on Female Filmmakers 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) 'Steve Jobs' Joins Fall Festival Contenders as NYFF Centerpiece Gala: What's Coming Up and What's Not (UPDATED) Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Arthouse Audit: Is 'Phoenix' This Year's 'Ida'? 'Mr. Holmes' Stays Strong Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Friday Box Office: Sandler's 'Pixels' Gets Mixed Response, 'Paper Towns,' 'Southpaw' Not Far Behind Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Scott Foundas Explains Why He's Leaving Film Criticism--Again--for Amazon Studios Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Congrats to Monica Bellucci: She's Making History Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Broad Green Dates 'Knight of Cups' and Two More Releases Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema Watch: The Secret Ingredient to David Lynch's Disorienting Cinema First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal First Look: 'No' Director Pablo Larraín Channels 'Neruda' with Gael García Bernal Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Is 'The Revenant' the Most Hellish Shoot of All Time? Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Gabriel García Márquez Documentary Coming Soon (Trailer) Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) Why I Can't Wait to See 'Crimson Peak,' Guillermo del Toro's Sumptuous Period Thriller (VIDEO) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991 Gabriel García Márquez and Akira Kurosawa Talk Film, Writing and 'Rhapsody in August' in 1991

Lane and Gandolfini Talk HBO's Cinema Verite, About An American Family's the Louds

Photo of Amy Dawes By Amy Dawes | Thompson on Hollywood January 9, 2011 at 1:41AM

At the Television Critics press tour in Pasadena, HBO screened footage from Cinema Verite, a new look at reality TV pioneers the Loud family, reports Amy Dawes:First-look footage from HBO’s Cinema Verite unveiled Friday in L.A. at the television press tour played as a punchy, potent and emotionally explosive look at what went on behind the scenes during the creation of a landmark television experience.
0
Thompson on Hollywood

At the Television Critics press tour in Pasadena, HBO screened footage from Cinema Verite, a new look at reality TV pioneers the Loud family, reports Amy Dawes:


First-look footage from HBO’s Cinema Verite unveiled Friday in L.A. at the television press tour played as a punchy, potent and emotionally explosive look at what went on behind the scenes during the creation of a landmark television experience.

Based on the PBS documentary An American Family, which aired in 1973, this feature film version stars Diane Lane and Tim Robbins as Pat and Bill Loud, the Santa Barbara couple who allowed filmmakers to spend seven months recording them and their five children in what HBO is positioning as a precursor of today’s reality television phenomenon. In the course of the filming, the Louds' marriage fell apart, and eldest son Lance revealed his homosexuality. The frank treatment of these topics came as a shock to television viewers of that era.

“There was no precedent for this,” said Robert Pulcini, who directed the movie with longtime collaborator Shari Springer Berman (American Splendor). “It was a big experiment, and it was enormously expensive. Imagine shooting a reality show on film for seven months.”

While the program drew huge ratings for PBS over the course of its 12-part airing, the Loud family became the subject of intense media scrutiny and public censure. They apparently declined any involvement in the HBO project. “We did reach out, as we normally do with films that are fact-based, to invite their participation, but they chose not to be a part of it,” said HBO Films President Len Amato.

Lane said she relied on Pat Loud’s 1974 book about the experience for insight into her motivations. “They were the first domino that fell,” said Lane of the Loud family. “Did they jump or were they pushed? When I read Pat’s book, she still wants to know why she did it. She’d undo it if she could. Because you can only be innocent once. And America was so angry.”

The movie depicts documentary producer Craig Gilbert (James Gandolfini) as attracted to Pat and perhaps motivated to prod her to discover her husband’s infidelity, which led her to seek a divorce.

The family’s growing agitation as the camera invades moments that are truly painful leads to emotional fireworks. “It’s hard to take 390 hours of footage, and reduce it to 12 without an agenda,” noted Pulcini about the original documentary. Events in the doc's 12 hours were compressed to less than two (along with added behind-the-scenes scenarios) for the script of the feature, which premieres on HBO in April.

Gandolfini described reality filmmaking as “an intellectual exercise at the beginning,” when Gilbert undertook it, and said that since that time, the format in general has “turned to such shit.”

Lane noted that in recent years, Bill and Pat Loud have reunited, and now live together in Los Angeles.

“Lance Loud said ‘television ate my family,’ and his wish on his deathbed was that his parents would get back together. They succeeded in overcoming what we saw them go through in our film,” Lane said.

This article is related to: TV, HBO


E-Mail Updates








Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.