Friday, November 21, 2003

In college I took an American Documentary class. I was drawn immediately to the filmmaking style of Robert Drew. Drew had been a photographer/editor for Life magazine; I had probably seen some of his work in the magazine at my aunt’s house. We spent a lot of time that semester on three of Drew’s early films that defined what would become known as Cinema Verite, or American Direct Cinema: "Primary,” considered the first American Cinema Verite film, “Crisis” and “Faces of November.” These films resonated with me as they were not only the kind of "truthful" filmmaking I hoped at the time to emulate, but the subject was one that had woven itself in images throughout my life: the Kennedys.

Though I was only 5 when JFK was assassinated, the Kennedys represented all the potential of the American Family to me, and all the ways that my own family was lacking. I'm not talking about their money, or political aspirations, or the lives they led built around public service. When one member had a goal, they all worked toward it. When one member got into trouble, they all rallied around. When tragedy struck them again and again, they went to each other for comfort, and they found it there. I could see something in the photographs of them together, something true; they loved each other, they were a family, the way my family was not.

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