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Akira Kurosawa and Robert Zemeckis

Powerful Essays
Akira Kurosawa and Robert Zemeckis

“As the term suggests, an auteur is an author, someone whose aesthetic sensibilities and impact are most important in the creation of a text. With literary texts, discerning authorship is usually no problem. But with collaborative art forms, such as film, deciding on authorship is much more complicated. Generally speaking, film theorists have concluded that it is the director of a film who is the auteur, the most important creative figure.

But auteur theory is concerned with more that one film; it is concerned with the work of a director – with his or her whole corpus of films, and with certain dominant themes and stylistic aspects of these films. The text in auteur criticism is not one film, but the body of work of the director.”

Although both Akira Kurosawa and Robert Zemeckis have made many successful films there is a distinct difference in the filmmakers works. The authorship of the film is what creates the distinction between Kurosawa and Zemeckis films. Examining authorship is a challenge; critics and writers have been attempting to do it for years. The most comprehensive definition that I have found is the one quoted above from Berger’s Cultural Criticism. In non-technical language, authorship is looked upon as an unknown distinct element that one of the film’s cast or crew brings to it. Always changing, this unknown element may be derived from, an actor, director, editor or even a cinematographer.

In the past there have been two distinctions made by critics regarding authorship. There is the claim that there is an elitist group of filmmakers who have a distinct definable quality to all of their films regardless of whether they are considered good or bad quality films. In essence, the caliber of the film itself seems to be irrelevant to the theory. This group is categorized under the much sought after term of auteur. This said, a bad film made by an auteur is alleged to better than the best film made by a metteur en scene. This brings us to the idea of what can be considered when examining a metteur en scene. The definition seems to take on exactly the opposite quality than that of an auteur. A metteur en scene may make decent or even good films, but there seems to be a link missing when comparing all their works as a whole.

When regarding the works of an Auteur, we must examine their films as a...

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...e is how he creates his film; much of this is the level of control that a director exercises upon his body of work.

Throughout Kurosawa's career, he worked hard to repeatedly present the themes, which were important to him. This is not always the case in Zemeckis' films, as we do not see Zemeckis using the same themes consistently throughout his works. Using subjectivity, Kurosawa was able to bring the audience into the minds and hearts of the characters involved. Thus, Akira Kurosawa's work is clearly superior to directors who presented their stories more objectively. Bibliography:

Works Cited:

Berger, Arthur Asa. Cultural Criticism: A Primer of Key Concepts. London: SAGE Publications, 1995

Mackinnon, Gillies. “Haunting visions.” Sight & Sound ns 4 (1994): 61

Peary, Gerald. “Akira Kurosawa; Japan's existential cowboy looks West and thinks East” American Film v. 14 (1989): 80-82

Ritchie, Donald. The Films Of Akira Kurosawa: Third Edition. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1998

Saynor, James. “Accidental Auteur,” Sight & Sound v.3 (1993): 4-8

Seltzer, Alex. “Akira Kurosawa: seeing through the eyes of the audience.” Film Comment v. 29 (1993): 72-77
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