Over on EL&U, we are mystified by a usage of an unknown word:


...as in

The Interventionists is a half-hour vrit documentary that follows the days and nights of a unique mental-health crisis team.


"Forty-five years later, it remains a high mark for employing vrit styles to construct something much more perverse and profound than your typical cautionary tale."


Frederick Wiseman's no-holds-barred look at the horrors inside a prison for the criminally insane set the standard for vrit indictments, and not even a 24-year ban on public screenings stopped Wiseman from forcing accountability.

Is this a corruption of Cinéma vérité? What does vrit mean in the film industry?

1 Answer 1


Yes, it's a corruption of vérité as in the french Cinéma vérité

Cinma Vrit / Direct Cinema

This style of documentary originated in the late 1950s and reached new heights of popularity in the 1960s. It was, much like the generation that pioneered it, a rebel with a cause. This style was spurred on with the advancement of film technology, including portable cameras with mobile sound.

Cinma Vrit, meaning True Cinema in French, aimed for an extreme naturalism, using non-professional actors, non-intrusive filming techniques, a hand-held camera, genuine locations rather than sound stages, and naturalistic sound without post-production or voice-overs. The camera was a fly on the wall and took in everything that went on before it. This broke all the rules put into practice by the classical tradition. Direct Cinema and Cinma Vrit are often used interchangeably, although there are opinions that make distinctions by the degree of camera involvement. The fundamentals of style, however, are very similar between the two.


  • 1
    So vrit doesn't mean anything, it's just "vérité" with the accented e's (é) dropped because of some technical problem?
    – Ross Ridge
    Jun 16, 2019 at 15:02

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