2 Cinema Direct: Salesman

Cinema Direct: Salesman

Salesman follows four Bible salesmen as they walk from door to door. First making calls in and around Boston, where the company is based, then in Chicago at a sales conference, and finally in the promising new “territory” of Miami and vicinity. Their mission is simple: to convince people to buy what one of them calls “still the best seller in the world”. But although their customers are mostly middle and working-class Catholics recommended by the local church, the Bible is a hard sell.

By entering into the lives of these four men for six weeks we also get a glimpse into American everyday life in the end of the 1960s. Salesman could also be read as a film about the human condition in general in such a sensitive way. A film not led by drama and action, but asking the audience to absorb themselves into details.




This article will discuss the key similarities and differences between “cinéma vérité” and “direct cinema”, two new and one might add revolutionary cinematic practices that developed during the same historical period – the 1960s, the former in France, the latter in USA and Canada, as alternatives to fiction films and traditional documentary forms.