Auteur Theory and Robert Altman

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Information about Auteur Theory and Robert Altman

Published on February 19, 2008

Author: Estelle



Exercise:  Exercise On your own, think of one of your favourite film directors or writers (could be a novelist, poet, playwright, etc.) Consider this artist’s body of work and what you appreciate about it Make a list of consistent traits of their films or writings (could be sense of humour, subject matter, editing style, etc.) You will be handing these in at the end of class Auteur Theory and Robert Altman:  Auteur Theory and Robert Altman Slide3:  “A true film auteur is someone who brings something genuinely personal to his subject instead of just producing a tasteful, accurate but lifeless rendering of the original material” Francois Truffaut Richard Gere in Dr. T. and the Women (2000) What is the Auteur Theory?:  What is the Auteur Theory? Andrew Sarris Mode of criticism that develops in France after WWII. The New Explosion of Hollywood films after German occupation Film critics, like Andrew Sarris, validating what was dismissed as Hollywood commercial aesthetic The Auteur:  The Auteur Auteur is the French word for author Just as a book has an author, so must a film The problem that occurs is that a book has a single author, while films tend to be a collaboration of many artists What are some examples of members of the collaborative team in film? Altman’s latest film The Company (2003) The Auteur Continued:  The Auteur Continued The auteur, then, was the person who left their personal mark on the film (camera stylo) During the Hollywood Studio System (and the Hayes Code), this was hard to find The auteur invariably became connected with the director – the only person who could exert any kind of control over a film Glenn Close in Cookie’s Fortune (1999) Post WWII France and Auteur Theory:  Post WWII France and Auteur Theory Cinema audiences in France did not have access to American Films during Nazi Occupation As a result, there was an influx of American films in the late 1940s and early 1950s Post WWII French audiences saw these films in cine-clubs, and the critics wrote in Cahiers du Cinema Lily Tomlin and Tom Waits in Short Cuts (1993) The Auteur Style:  The Auteur Style Rigid limitations on American Films (Studio and Hayes Code) Sarris suggests that style is more important than content Films by one director should show consistencies in theme, narrative, and visual style Tim Robbins in The Player (1992) The Auteur Critics’ Agenda:  The Auteur Critics’ Agenda These theorists were not interested in the historical context of a film Rather, the context of a film within a body of work by a single author Auteur Theory becomes a method of evaluation, a way of determining true art from Hollywood trash Altman directing Warren Beatty and Julie Christie in McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971) Qualities of the Auteur:  Qualities of the Auteur Repetition of Motifs / Themes Adultery Death Birth Distinctions of Class Distinctions of Race Distinctions of Gender What were some consistent motifs/themes in Blade Runner and Alien? (both by Ridley Scott) Scene from M*A*S*H (1970) Qualities of the Auteur:  Qualities of the Auteur Repetition of Imagery Locations Camera angles Camera shots Flashbacks Filters Tim Roth as Vincent Van Gogh in Vincent and Theo (1990) Against the Auteur:  Against the Auteur What would be some arguments people would have against the auteur theory? A method of evaluation which enabled people knowledgeable about film, to show their knowledge and superiority Elliot Gould in The Long Goodbye (1973) Robert Altman:  Robert Altman Ensemble casts Multiple storylines Overlapping dialogue Celebrities Political commentary Period settings Concerns about art and industry (The Company – Dance; The Player – film; Cookie’s Fortune – theatre; Vincent and Theo – visual art; Pret- a-Porter – fashion; Nashville – Music; ) Altman:  Altman "Somewhere along in there I saw my first movies at the old Brookside Theater. Those movies just seemed to happen--nobody made them, you know? And I guess that's the way I still see movies--I want them to be occurrences, to just seem to be happening." As you watch Nashville…

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