Tag Archives: maysles
Audience of One (2007)
If you follow my posts at all, you’ve probably noticed that I’m fascinated by cinema vérité. In fact, someone once told me that I used the word ‘vérité’ too many times in one of my pieces. Well fuck that. What else are you supposed to call it? Anyway, the concept is interesting to me: you tell a story by just filming people in their daily lives. How do you know when to stop shooting? Or start, even? How much does your observation have an effect on what’s happening? (I have a theory that Mark Borchardt finished Coven BECAUSE he was being followed by Chris Smith’s camera in American Movie).
Vérité is one of the most naked modes of storytelling. You’re out there without a script or even an outline, you shoot on instinct and rely on your wits and intuition to build the story in your head, only to stitch it together later in your editing suite.
I was fortunate to sit down with Mike Jacobs, whose documentary, Audience of One, is one of the most fluid, interesting, and hilarious examples of cinema vérité ever made. It’s about a pentecostal pastor, Richard Gazowsky, who receives a message from God that he has to make the biggest science fiction epic of all time, telling the story of Joseph. He then embarks on this lofty pursuit with the help of his congregation, and of course, their donations. As one might assume, they run into many, many ups and downs along the way.