The Construction of Documented Reality in "Chronique d'un été": an Analysis of the Film and its Rushes
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This thesis deals with cinéma vérité documentary, CHRONIQUE D’UN ÉTÉ (1961), by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin. It aims to gain a better understanding of the documented reality in CHRONIQUE D’UN ÉTÉ and its rushes. The aspects of reality, objectivity and authenticity in documentary films are of great interest within media studies and film studies. There are numerous theories and studies on the subject. Over time, filmmakers have tried different techniques and approaches, how to represent reality as truthfully as possible in their documentaries. However, this aspect continues to be contested in documentary theory. In that regard, this thesis approaches the concept of reality in CHRONIQUE D’UN ÉTÉ, however, it discusses the question of “construction of documented reality”, in order to avoid a misinterpretation of general concepts such as “reality”, “objectivity” or “truth”. CHRONIQUE D’UN ÉTÉ, which follows the lives of a group of people in Paris in the summer of 1960, is famous for its self-reflexivity and its cinéma vérité practice. Both filmmakers are in front of the camera; interact with the other social actors, do acts of provocation, and openly address concepts of their film. Even with this degree of self- reflexivity, the film has been often criticized, especially with respect to its truth-claim. In that intent, this thesis aims to analyze how documented reality is constructed in the movie. Therefore, providing answers to how specific scenes were constructed; how the conversations came to life; how the social actors performed in front of the camera. In order to do so, I have closely worked with the rushes of the film. The rushes enabled to view a “behind-the-scenes”-mode of CHRONIQUE D’UN ÉTÉ and assisted in the understanding of how scenes came to life. Notably, the rushes have revealed important aspects of mise-en-scène, construction of conversation, and multiple takes, otherwise not visible in the film. The textual analysis of the film and its rushes will bring to light different aspects about documented reality in CHRONIQUE D’UN ÉTÉ.