Published on March 6, 2014
Definitions, origins, examples and how to use both Auteur Theory and Genre Analysis to define meaning in a film text
Literally, Auteur is French for ‘Author’ and in film studies can refer to the following: The director, producer or studio as principal ‘creator’ of a film The filmmaker creates meaning/ideological message A filmmaker who demonstrates technical excellence A filmmaker who makes films of artistic merit rather than commercial value A filmmaker who makes films with an individual style and themes These individual styles and themes will often appear across a number of different films/genres, by the same director
Any filmmaker who has UNCONVENTIONAL ideas or CHALLENGES accepted genre conventions and breaks away from them
Reservoir Dogs (Crime/Heist) Pulp Fiction (Crime) Desperado (Western Producer/Actor) From Dusk ‘Till Dawn (Horror) Jackie Brown (Crime) Kill Bill (Action/Martial Arts) DeathProof (Action/Grindhouse) Inglorious Basterds (War)
Spartacus (Historical Drama) Dr Strangelove (Satirical Comedy) A Clockwork Orange (SciFi/Crime/Horror??) 2001: A Space Odyssey (SciFi) The Shining (Horror) Full Metal Jacket (War) Eyes Wide Shut (Psychological Thriller)_
Some Auteurs stick within one genre but employ distinctive new style and themes, for example Wes Craven re-invented the teen horror genre with a distinctive and original representation of dreams and reality, in films like: A Nightmare on Elm Street A New Nightmare The Serpent & The Rainbow And created the concept of ‘horror satire’ with Scream
Patton (War) The Godfather (Crime) Apocalypse Now (War) The Outsiders (Teen Drama) Peggy Sue Got Married (Comedy) Dracula (Gothic Horror) Tetro (Family Drama)
The vertically integrated (i.e. in complete control)Hollywood Studio system (1930s-1950s) key directors: Howard Hawkes, Orson Welles, John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, The age of auteur freedom (Hollywood allowed creative freedom late 1960s-1970s) Coppola, Scorsese, Cimono High concept and independent Hollywood (Hollywood went bust from giving directors too much money in the 70’s!! Consider the cost of the previous clip!! ) (1980’s on) Tarantino, Scott, Cameron, The Coen Brothers, The Waschowski Brothers
Francois Truffaut…..coined the term ‘Auteur’ in 1954 as a reaction against French cinema repeatedly recognizing the scriptwriter as ‘author’ of a film, not the director Andrew Saris….In 1962 popularised the idea of the Hollywood studio system as being responsible for producing key directors, such as Hitchcock, John Ford, therefore the film producer and even the studio itself could be considered part of the auteur process, not just the director Roland Barthes…In 1968 challenged all of the above and said there was no such thing as ‘the author of a film!! It was the ‘reader’, i.e. the cinema audience or ALL OF US which defines meaning from a film text, all a director, producer or studio does recycle conventions/narratives and characters…..
The GENRE ANALYST looks for patterns in a scientific, objective manner (codes/conventions etc…) The AUTEURIST looks for creative artistic quality in a subjective manner (breaking of conventions, artistic quality etc)
Choose ONE GENRE from the following slides. Choose a genre that you are familiar with and are comfortable to study Watch at least two examples of films (in full) which are conventional to the genre. Use your genre analysis sheets to make notes and my lists as a starting point Watch at least one example of a film (in full) of the same genre which breaks away from the genre conventions. Use your genre analysis sheet. Remember to consider whilst watching: what makes the director of the film an auteur?
Breakfast at Tiffany’s When Harry Met Sally 4 Weddings & A Funeral Bridget Jones Sex and The City Bride Wars Love and Other Drugs By Auteur….. Annie Hall (Woody Allen) Manhattan (Woody Allen) Punch Drunk Love (Paul Thomas Anderson)
The Breakfast Club About Last Night Mean Girls Election By Auteur Brick Elephant Donnie Darko The Virgin Suicides Juno
All Quiet on the Western Front Aces High The Battle of Britain The Longest Day The Green Berets By Auteur: The Deer Hunter (Michael Cimono) Apocalypse Now Francis Ford Coppola) Platoon (Oliver Stone) Full Metal Jacket (Stanley Kubrick) Schindler’s List (Steven Spielberg) Saving Private Ryan (Steven Speilberg) Battle for Haditha (Nick Broomfield) Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro) The Hurt Locker (Katherine Bigelow
Goldfinger Dirty Harry Enter the Dragon Die Hard First Blood Tomb Raider Quantum of Solace By Auteur: Nikita (Luc Besson) Leon (Luc Besson) Kill Bill (Quentin Tarantino)
• The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance • High Noon • Hang ‘em High! • Stagecoach • Rio Grande • The Magnificent Seven By Auteur… The Good the Bad and the Ugly (Sergio Leone) A Fistful of Dollars (Sergio Leone) The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah) Westworld (Western/Sci-Fi) Heaven’s Gate (Michael Cimono) The Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood)
Flash Gordon Buck Rogers Creature From The Black Lagoon The Incredible Shrinking Man War of The Worlds Independence Day Skyline Battle Los Angeles By Auteur Metropolis (Fritz Lang) The Day The Earth Stood Still (Robert Wise) Forbidden Planet (Fred Wilcox) Invasion of The Body Snatchers (Don Siegel) 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick) Westworld ( Michael Critchon) Dark Star (John Carpenter) Star Wars (George Lucas) Alien (Ridley Scott) Bladerunner (Ridley Scott) District 9 (Neill Blomkamp) Moon (Duncan Jones) Inception (Christopher Nolan)
Sub genres; The Heist movie, the gangster movie By Auteur: Scarface Angels with Dirty Faces The Thomas Crown Affair Oceans 11 The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola) Mean Streets (Martin Scorcese) Dog Day Afternoon (Sidney Lumet) Scarface (Brian De Palma) Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino) Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino)
Nosferatu Frankenstein Dracula Halloween Friday the 13th Fright Night Carrie Prom Night I Know What You Did Last Summer Wrong Turn Final Destination By Auteur Night of The Living Dead (George A Romero) The Exorcist (William Freidkin) Jaws (Steven Spielberg) The Shining (Stanley Kubrick) Alien (Ridley Scott) A Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven) Scream (Wes Craven) The Blair Witch Project (Daniel Mycrick) The Ring (Hideo Nakata) 28 Days Later (Danny Boyle) Rec (Jaume Balagueró)
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