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Imagining reality

Should cinema tell the truth?

By Mark Cousins   June 2002

Viewed from the outside, the film world seems permanently enslaved to fashion. One minute, it’s all romantic comedies in the multiplexes, then westerns come back, then science-fiction. But the style of movies follows technical trends too. In the 1980s, editing speeded up. In the 1990s, widescreen and shallow focus were all the rage. Today, a survey of the movie map shows that cinematic realism is in vogue.

In Cannes this year, more movies than ever were documentaries. The best-reviewed film of recent months was Time Out, an understated French realist masterpiece about a man pretending that he has a job.…

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