• The title screen of Jean Rouch’s verite masterpiece

Starting Sunday the Gene Siskel Film Center begins a partial retrospective of the films of Jean Rouch, the great French documentarian responsible for coining the term cinema verité and for inspiring the young filmmakers who would come to be identified as the French New Wave. The series begins with one of Rouch’s best works, the 1961 feature Chronicle of a Summer, codirected with the ethnographer Edgar Morin. The film is founded on a simple premise: the directors stop random Parisians on the street and ask them whether or not they’re happy. With this modest setup, Rouch and Morin initiate a probing sociological study of postwar France and a moving character study to boot. If you’ve never seen this before, do whatever you can to catch one of the two screenings.