The first film to coin the term “Cinéma vérité”, Chronicle of a Summer is a French experimental documentary where the filmmakers have different Parisians talk on camera about a myriad of subjects - class oppression, racial divides, the future, the hopes, their memories.
We hear stories coming from a worker at the Renault car factory, a black student in Paris, a young psychotic Italian woman with existential dilemmas, a young Jewish woman showing here labour camp tattoo and thinking about her lost parents, while trying to be comforted by a younger chap, who whats to start a family with her.
Novelty comes from the filmmakers’ intrusion into their own film. The participants are invited to a screening of the film edited so far, at the end of which they’re invited to express opinions. This brings a post-modern touch to our experience of the film, as we witness its subjects disagree on what they feel was authentic or not, staged or not, until somehow, in the end, we can witness the scene being split between reactionaries and progressives. Quite authentic, at least from the viewer’s vantage point.