Sunday, April 10, 2011

HBO's 'Cinema Verite' Explores 1973's 'An American Family'

While reality shows in the millennium are a dime a dozen and increasingly crass ("Pregnant In Heels," anyone?), PBS' 1973 "An American Family" was a fascinating three-month, 12-episode documentation of the Loud family from Santa Barbara, Calif. Producer Craig Gilbert believed at the time that TV shows like "The Brady Bunch" and "The Partridge Family" weren't exactly realistic portrayals of family life. Hey, really?

HBO's "Cinema Verite," which debuts Saturday, April 23 at 9 p.m., dramatizes the rocky behind-the-scenes action of the series, starring Diane Lane and Tim Robbins as parents Pat and Bill, Thomas Dekker as gay son Lance and James Gandolfini as producer Gilbert.

Following the HBO movie, World TV will air a 12-hour marathon of the original series immediately after the movie premiere, April 24, from midnight to noon. It has not been shown in its entirety in more than two decades. World is apparently shown in few markets; to find locals channels airing the marathon, click here. New Yorkers can tune into WNET/13 beginning at 11 p.m. April 23.

I can't wait. HBO does it again: having a blast with "Mildred Pierce," and now this. See the promo below!