1. Ask students to work independently or in groups to research the set of terms below that are associated with filmmaking and video production. If you choose to divide the terms among students, make sure to assign each individual student or group the term "cinema vérité."
Once students have had time to research their assigned terms, have them report their findings and then have a class discussion.
Next, ask students to apply what they have learned by watching The Cutting Room Floor again to identify examples of cinema vérité.
2. You may choose to reinforce this understanding of cinema vérité by having students look for other examples in additional video segments. Here's one example:
Debate Begins Video
This video chronicles a 2007 experiment in Wuhan Province, China where the nation’s first school government election was held among a class of third graders competing to be class monitor. In the first part of the video, Cheng Cheng and Xu Xiaofei debate their strengths and weaknesses, followed by a second debate between Luo Li and Cheng Cheng in front of their classmates.
The Cutting Room Floor
BILL T. JONES [V.O.]: Look at this huge place. How do you pull an audience this size for a piece about Lincoln?
UNKNOWN PERFORMER [V.O.]: A house divided against itself cannot stand……………………..
GORDAN QUINN: Ravinia commissioned Bill T. Jones, probably the most important choreographer working today in America to do a major piece about Abraham Lincoln, and if you’re going to watch a work of art be made, you want to start right from the beginning.
BOB HERCULES: Shooting a vérité documentary, the methodology was we just never stopped rolling. That we never knew when lightening in the bottle would come.
MUSEUM DOCENT: This is his stove pipe hat.
GORDAN QUINN: To cut things down from that huge amount of footage to ninety minutes. It’s a tall challenge.
TITLE CARD: KARTEMQUIN FILM OFFICES
DAVID SIMPSON: I’ve got about a 49 minute stretch that we should watch as a chunk and see how it feels in terms of order and structure. It’s all from Act I.
DAVID SIMPSON: Okay ready
JAMYL DOBSON: Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. Let us begin.
LITTLE GIRL #1: A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half-slave and half free.
LITTLE GIRL #2: Each state is left perfectly to choose what it wants; so if I want to have snakes.
LITTLE GIRL #1: What? Snakes?
LITTLE GIRL #2: Yes, snakes. So if I want to have snakes in my bed with my children, I have the right to do so.
BILL T. JONES: And I could have said, “snakes” equal slavery which is what Lincoln was saying but in the work I’m making I wonder if they can suss that out for themselves.
LITTLE GIRL #2: So if I want to have snakes.
LITTLE GIRL #1: What?! Snakes?
GEORGE LEWIS, JR.: Clarissa, I sometimes think it’s better to leave things alone.
CLARISSA SINCENO: What are you talking about?
GEORGE LEWIS, JR.: Okay. Let me ask you a question……If you saw a venomous snake in the road what would you do?
GEORGE LEWIS, JR.: (Singing and Playing the Piano) Clarissa, I think sometimes it’s better to leave things alone.
CLARISSA SINCENO: (At Piano) Why are you talking to me?
GEORGE LEWIS, JR.: Okay. Let me ask you a question.
BILL T. JONES: Even before you know the lines, you’re already parodying the song?
BOB HERCULES: The end thing with the girls, why is it even in the piece? Just for us to make sure, you know…..
JOANNA RUDRICK: I................
BOB HERCULES ……………what’s it’s doing there?
JOANNA RUDRICK: I think it has to be more directly tied into something.
BOB HERCULES ….because, number one, it doesn’t connect to anything right now.
DAVID SIMPSON: I think there’s certain bits of content like snakes that have gone through so many permutations [that] he needs the content in there. Look at all the ways he’s tried to get this into the film.
JOANNA RUDRICK: I see what you’re saying but I think we need to make that come out.
JOANNA RUDRICK: We have no idea, I just want to put this out, what the performance is......that there’s an act structure, there’s an act one, act two. What the pieces of it….
GORDAN QUINN: Editing is very important to us. We tend to spend a long time on the editing. And it’s a very collaborative process. We have a lot of people coming in and out, looking at cuts, arguing over stuff.
DAVID SIMPSON: We had decided from the very beginning that this would not be a linear film so that presents a whole set of challenges.
GORDAN QUINN: So I think that the bits and pieces that you see of the performance of our film, we never let you see the performance really. We’re using those details to let you see how the people worked with a piece of footwork that maybe we saw earlier and that now has evolved through all these different stages.
DAVID SIMPSON: Part of what, what it’s about is that what are these little girls doing here?
BOB HERCULES: That’s the question.
DAVID SIMPSON: Right away you understand that I’ve heard of this, “snakes in the bed” before and he’s just trying every way to get at it.
JOANNA RUDRICK: You can make that a little bit more apparent, it’ll pay off.
BOB HERCULES: See I think…….
DAVID SIMPSON:: Unless I make a snake sequence……
JOANNA RUDRICK: Which I am not saying……………….
DAVID SIMPSON: Where we see all the different things, I think this is one of the things that could come out in the course of the film.
GORDAN QUINN: Where he’ll want it to pay off is…..sometimes when you watch a film…….
BOB HERCULES: You have to see the whole thing
GORDAN QUINN: You have to see the whole thing or you’re way into it and you realize, Oh my god all that stuff I was watching is gone away. Look at how many different pieces have been tried and people have been brought in…..
JOANNA RUDRICK: Sure
BOB HERCULES: Sure. In that case you should put in very early…….
JOANNA RUDRICK: At some point. Not right there…..
GORDAN QUINN: But I’m just saying
BOB HERCULES: Very early, the thing you did with Jumil. When Jumil is walking down a line……
DAVID SIMPSON: (Off screen) Right, right, right. I will, I will……
DAVID SIMPSON: And then you cut to the performance and you hear Clarissa say, ‘What about the snakes in the bed with the children.’LAUGHTER
JOANNA RUDRICK: That’ll pay off.
GORDAN QUINN: If you need it, that’s the way you want it to pay off.
CLARISSA SINCENO: What about the one about the snakes in bed with the children? About if I have the right to have snakes in bed with my children.
JAMYL DOBSON That was cut!
CLARISSA SINCENO: Oh yeah? Well when?
BOB HERCULES: You end up of course like with most of these films cutting out things that are very precious to you and that you think are very satisfying and are great little scenes.
GORDAN QUINN: You know we spend a lot of time putting together all these bits and pieces of all of the stuff that they used in Fondly that you know, never made it into the final show. And then ultimately the whole edit that we did to that part of the film, none of it is in the film either.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.