Auteur Theory Essay

433 Words2 Pages
Auteur is the French word for author. An author is the director in the film industry. The director or Auteur is one of the main people in charge of making a movie. Auteur theory is that a director’s film reflects their personal creative vision. Auteurism is the method of analyzing films based on the director’s work. A key element of Auteur theory is the notion of the “camera-pen”. This is the idea that directors should wield their cameras like writers use their pens and not be hindered by traditional storytelling. Truffaut and the members of the Cahiers recognized that moviemaking was an industrial process. However, they proposed an ideal to strive for, the director should use the commercial apparatus the way a writer uses a pen and, through the mise en scene, imprint their vision on the work. While recognizing that not all directors reached this ideal, they valued the work of those who neared it. Auteur theory was used by directors of the new wave movement of French cinema in the 1960’s as justification for their intensely personal and idiosyncratic films. One of the ironies of Auteur theory is that, at that very moment Truffaut was writing, the breakup of the Hollywood studio system during the 1950’s was ushering in a period of uncertainty and conservatism in American cinema, with the result that fewer of the sort of films Truffaut admired were actually being made. Starting in the 1960s, some film critics began criticizing Auteur theory's focus on the authorial role of the director. Pauline Kael and Sarris feuded in the pages of The New Yorker and various film magazines. One reason for the backlash is the collaborative aspect of shooting a film, and in the theory's privileging of the role of the director (whose name, at times, has become more important than the movie itself). In Kael's review of Citizen Kane, a classic
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