Start Encyclopedia69 Dictionary | Overview | Topics | Groups | Categories | Bookmark this page.
dictionary -  encyclopedia  
Full text search :        
   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   #   



Auteur Theory

  The auteur theory or principle has central importance in the critical analysis of cinema and film, and as such has been a contentious area of debate since the end of World War II. The term was coined by those French film critics who, deprived of Hollywood films during the occupation, enthusiastically embraced and re-evaluated them after the war had ended. Much of the debate was carried out in the pages of the journal Cahiers du Cinéma under the editorial guidance of André Bazin. The journal became a focus for a new generation of French critics, many of whom were, or later became, influential film-makers themselves (such as Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut and Claude Chabrol).

In 1954, Truffaut published a controversial article (‘Une certaine tendence du cinema français’) which damned traditional French cinema for its formal and stylistic conservatism, and especially for its over-reliance on literature as a source for its products. As part of this critique, previously disregarded Hollywood ‘B’ movies were given a new status and high praise. The basis of the auteuristes\' argument was the visual style, flair and inventiveness shown by some film directors, despite the many constraints and limitations placed on them by the Hollywood studio system. Thus, it came to be argued that the film\'s director, rather than the writer of the original material, was the source of a specifically visual form of creativity.

Cahiers du Cinéma became known for its politique des auteurs (‘the policy of authors’) during the 1960s, and for some years was responsible for debates hinging on the worth or otherwise of particular film-makers. The journal was famous for its idiosyncracies and for the way it favoured certain directors, claiming for example that some directors were genuine auteurs, while others were merely clever technicians (or metteurs). Its contributors were seemingly particularly keen on those directors working within established genres, on location, and with an original screenplay or shooting script rather than an adaptation from a novel or play.

The auteur theory later took root in American and British criticism, most notably in the US via the work of Andrew Sarris. The approach has been criticized on a number of levels, including the arbitrary nature of its assessments and its potential for élitism. Nevertheless, it continues to be of use to media analysts and critics, and has been especially appreciated as a means by which popular, commercial films can be re-evaluated. BC

See also criticism; new wave.



Bookmark this page:



<< former term
next term >>


Other Terms : Dharmic Religion | Obsession | Welfare Economics
Home |  Add new article  |  Your List |  Tools |  Become an Editor |  Tell a Friend |  Links |  Awards |  Testimonials |  Press |  News |  About |
Copyright ©2009 GeoDZ. All rights reserved.  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us