What is an auteur? Answer this question with detailed reference to one film director: Alfred Hitchcock
The auteur theory is a view on filmmaking that consists of three equally important premises: technical competence, interior meaning, and personal signature of the director. Auteur is a French word for author. The auteur theory was developed by Andrew Sarris, a well-known American film critic. Technical competence of the Auteur deals with how the director films the movie in their own style. Personal signature includes recurring themes that are present within the director’s line of work with characteristics of style, which serve as a signature. The third and ultimate premise of the Auteur theory is the interior meaning which is basically the main theme behind the film.
Auteur theory holds that, ‘a director’s films reflect that director’s personal creative vision, as if he/she were the primary author. From the earliest silent films to contemporary times motion pictures have crossed over and both entertained and educated the viewing audience.
In the film industry, there are directors who merely take someone else’s vision and express it in their own way on film, then there are those who take their own visions and use any means necessary to express their visions on film. The latter of these two types of directors are called auteurs. Not only do auteurs write the scripts from elements that they know and love in life, but they direct, produce, and sometimes act in their films as well. Three prime examples of these auteurs are: Kevin Smith, Spike Lee and Alfred Hitchcock.
There are no rules and regulations when it comes to creativity. The imagination of the artist and the creator determine what guidelines to follow, but that freedom consequently creates controversy when the piece needs to be evaluated for its true value. When French film director Francois Truffaut advocated the Auteur theory in 1954, it greatly influenced film criticism. The Auteur theory states that the director of a motion picture is the primary author of the film and that all elements reflect their personal creative vision. Theorists John Caughie and Andrew Sarris both express their concerns about the specifications of what makes a director an “auteur”, believing it to be an undefined and obscure theory.
The theory of authorship as applied to film directors is a subject that is argued extensively throughout the film world. The auteur theory was first introduced in the French film journal Cahiers du Cinema. Andrew Sarris who suggested that there are a group of filmmakers who fit into this category brought the theory to America. It states that in order for a director to be considered an auteur, there must be a consistency of style and theme across a number of films. Very few contemporary filmmakers fit into this category. One filmmaker, however, expanded his filmography over four and a half decades, and created a consistent theme and style. That director was Stanley Kubrick.
It is no doubt that Martin Scorsese has heavily influenced the emulating of American film making from European influences. He is a prime example of a ‘New Hollywood Cinema’ director, not only from his ethnicity and background, but from his sheer interest in this form
Arnheim’s body of theory suggests that the necessity of human intervention to implement plot, tropes, and culturally legible symbols raises a film to a higher level than a mere copy of reality, and that this interpretation and expression of meaning is “a question of feeling” or intuition on the part of the filmmaker. (“Film Theory and Criticism” 283) One consequence of effective directorial intervention is that differences in speed, stops and starts, and what would otherwise be jarring gaps in continuity can be accepted by viewers, because if the essentials of reality are present, th...
In Hollywood today, most films can be categorized according to the genre system. There are action films, horror flicks, Westerns, comedies and the likes. On a broader scope, films are often separated into two categories: Hollywood films, and independent or foreign ‘art house’ films. Yet, this outlook, albeit superficial, was how many viewed films. Celebrity-packed blockbusters filled with action and drama, with the use of seamless top-of-the-line digital editing and special effects were considered ‘Hollywood films’. Films where unconventional themes like existentialism or paranoia, often with excessive violence or sex or a combination of both, with obvious attempts to displace its audiences from the film were often attributed with the generic label of ‘foreign’ or ‘art house’ cinema.
Films were a great form of entertainment from their debut in the early 1900’s and continued to grow more popular over the years. The film making business hit a growth period in the 1920’s. In Hollywood, the assembly line “studio” system of producing a movie was changed and refined, and the famous studious that dominate Hollywood production today, such as Universal Studious, were being put together. Censorship regulations were being formulated for the first time, and Wall Street began to take a more prominent, powerful role in film making. It was the era of short silent films that were backed by organists who could play a variety of famous composers such as Beethoven, and Sousa, and who mastered other sound affects for further enhancement of the movie. It was a time when movies came and went quickly and films that had no pretense of being art were made in mass. Nobody ever expected a movie to have an afterlife. They were made only for entertainment and to make money, and were considered disposable back then. It took decades to develop movies as a concept of art. During this time of rapid change in the film making business, a certain aspiring director began his dream of working with cinema. Eventually, the talented and mysterious director, Alfred Hitchcock, played a huge part in establishing his and others’ masterpieces as an art.