Narrator and filmmaker Les McLaren speaks about filming in other cultures not being contentious in the 1970s. Filmmakers like Gary Kildea were influenced by the cinéma vérité techniques of the time and learning new ways of making films. Dennis O’Rourke recalls that when people in PNG saw themselves on film for the first time, the films caused them to redefine their identity.
This clip is near the beginning of the film and sets the scene and style of what is to come. As a result of more portable camera and sound recording equipment, the cinéma vérité style of filmmaking was born in France. In the United States it was called ‘direct cinema’, in Canada ‘candid eye’, and in England ‘free cinema’. These styles of filmmaking differed in small ways but all tended to film ‘life as it is’ and completely reject the instructional-style documentaries of the past with their heavy-laden narration tracks. Canadian filmmaker Peter Wintonick (who made Cinema Vérité: Defining the Moment, 1999), believes that ‘vérité is a crucial defining moment of movie history, on a par with the invention of the medium and the year when films began to speak’.
As well, times were a-changin’ in the Western world. Demands for civil rights, grassroots democracy, feminism, peace and non-violence were soon accompanied by colonised countries like PNG starting to call for independence.