What is auteur
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What is auteur?. Questions of Auteurism A Case Study of Peter Weir . What is auteur?. 1 A director who make films which reflect his/her personal vision and preoccupations. 2 A director who has a distinctive style and consistent themes. SIGNATURE Vision SIGNATURE Style

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What is auteur

What is auteur?

Questions of Auteurism

A Case Study of Peter Weir

What is auteur1

What is auteur?

1 A director who make films which reflect

his/her personal vision and preoccupations.

2 A director who has a distinctive style and

consistent themes.



François Truffaut, ‘UneCertaine

tendence du cinémafrançaise’

(A Certain Tendency in the French

Cinema) 1954

What is auteur2

What is auteur?

  • Though film making is collaborative work

  • Directors called auteursoversee all narrative, visual and audio elements of motion pictures.

  • “The filmmaker/author writes with his camera

    as a writer writes with his pen.”

    ‘CaméraStylo’(camera-pen) Alexander Astruc, ‘Naissance d’une nouvelle avant-garde’, L’EcranFrançais, 30th March, 1948

What is auteur3

What is auteur?

  • Auteur or metteur-en-scène

  • Auteur - a director who expresses his/her unique preoccupation and holds on to his/her signature style

  • Metteur-en-scène (one who puts it in the scene - theatre director) - a (highly) competent film maker but lacks ‘the consistency that betrayed the profound involvement of personality’

Who are auteurs

Who Are Auteurs?

  • Directors who have a distinct visual style …

  • Directors who have a consistent theme … Jean Renoir (humanism), Douglas Sirk (melodrama) … Theo Angelopoulos (modern Greek history), Ken Loach (left-wing social consciousness)

Alfred hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

Orson welles

Orson Welles

Stanley kubrick

Stanley Kubrick

Wong kar wai

Wong KarWai

Jean renoir

Jean Renoir

Douglas sirk

Douglas Sirk

Theo angelopoulos

Theo Angelopoulos

Ken loach

Ken Loach

Auteur theory politique des auteurs

Auteur Theory (Politique des auteurs)

  • Auteur theory - a critical attitude to consider a film as a product of a single person - director - auteur

  • Andrew Sarris, ‘Notes on the Auteur Theory’, 1964

Auteur theory politique des auteurs1

Auteur Theory (Politique des auteurs)

Film criticism and film studies based on auteur theory:

(1) to analysea film as a work of a single author (auteur)


(2) to identify the characteristics of a director’s work which makes him a auteur


Criticism against auteur theory

Criticism against auteur theory

  • Filmmaking as collaborative and collective actions.

  • Making a film involves many other creative talents than director.

  • Scriptwriter, photographer, editor, art director, actor, etc.

Criticism against auteur theory1

Criticism against auteur theory

Figures other than directors, who played a prominent role include:

CesareZavattini (1902-1989)

Screenwriter for Vittorio De

Sica and Luchino Visconti

Shoeshines, Bicycle Thieves, Umberto D, Bellisima, etc.

Criticism against auteur theory2

Criticism against auteur theory

Ruth Prower Jhabvala (1927 - )

Screenwriter for James Ivory

Room with a View, Howard’s End, Remains of the Day

Criticism against auteur theory3

Criticism against auteur theory

Gordon Wills

Most important cinematographer in the 70s and 80s

The Godfather, Annie Hall, Manhattan, All the President’s Men

Gordon willis manhattan

Gordon Willis, Manhattan

Gordon willis the godfather

Gordon Willis, The Godfather

Gordon willis annie hall

Gordon Willis, Annie Hall

Gordon willis all the president s men

Gordon Willis, All the President’s Men

Criticism against auteur theory4

Criticism against auteur theory

  • Vittorio Storaro

  • Italian cinematographer who have worked for first Bernardo Bertolucci, and then Carlos Saura and Francis Ford Coppola

Vittorio storaro last tango in paris

Vittorio Storaro, Last Tango in Paris

Vittorio storaro goya

Vittorio Storaro, Goya

Criticism against auteur theory5

Criticism against auteur theory

  • Miyagawa Kazuo (1908-1999)

    Greatest Japanese photographer, operated the camera and shot for Mizoguchi Kenji, Kurosawa Akira, Ichikawa Kon and Shinoda Masahiro

    Rashomon, Ugetsu, Yojinbo, Tokyo Olympiad, McArthur’s Children

Kazuo miyagawa rashomon

Kazuo Miyagawa, Rashomon

Kazuo miyagawa ugetsu

Kazuo Miyagawa, Ugetsu

Kazuo miyazawa yojinbo

Kazuo Miyazawa, Yojinbo

Miyagawa kazuo tokyo olympiad

Miyagawa Kazuo, Tokyo Olympiad

Kazuo miyagawa floating world

Kazuo Miyagawa, Floating World

Miyagawa kazuo mcarthur s children

Miyagawa Kazuo, McArthur’s Children

Criticism against auteur theory6

Criticism against auteur theory

  • David Lean (1908-1991)

    British film director

    Established the classic editing techniques

    Edited for film directors such as Anthony Asquith and Michael Powell Pygmalion, Major Barbara, 49th Parallel

Criticism against auteur theory7

Criticism against auteur theory

  • Lean edited all his films

  • His editing techniques and methods influenced may film makers: notably Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.

Criticism against auteur theory8

Criticism against auteur theory

  • Alexandre Trauner


    French art and production designer

    Le Jour se léve, Les Enfants du paradis, Le Portes de la nuit, Kiss Me Stupid, Don Giovanni, Round Midnight, Subway

Alexandre trauner les enfants du paradis

AlexandreTrauner, Les Enfants du Paradis

Alexander trauner round midnight

Alexander Trauner, Round Midnight

Alexandre trauner don giovanni

AlexandreTrauner, Don Giovanni

Alexandre trauner subway

AlexandreTrauner, Subway

Auteur or anti auteur

Auteur or Anti-auteur

  • Positif, founded one year after Cahiers du cinema in 1952

  • Firm opposition to author theory

  • Film making is a collaborative and collective work.

  • A signed article naming the most overrated directors: Fritz Lang, Nicholas Ray, Howard Hawkes and Alfred Hitchcock

  • While Cahiers du cinema praised those auteurs to the skies.

Criticism against auteur theory9

Criticism against Auteur Theory

  • Legitimacy of privileging a director - can a director be more important than his film?

  • ‘There are no good or bad films, but there are only good or bad directors.’ François Truffaut

Mizoguchi kenji 1898 1956

Mizoguchi Kenji (1898-1956)

Irredeemable Suffering:

Images of Japanese Women

Mizoguchi s major works

Mizoguchi’sMajor Works

Mizoguchi Kenji (1898 Tokyo - 1956 Kyoto)

In the SILENT era

  • Resurrection of Love (1923)

  • Bridge of Japan (Nihonbashi, 1929)

  • Cascading White Threads (TakinoShiraito, 1933)

Mizoguchi s major works1

Mizoguchi’sMajor Works

In the PREWAR period

  • Osaka Elegy (Naniwa Elegy, 1936)

  • Sisters of Gion (Gion no Shimai, 1936)

  • The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (Zangiku Monogatari, 1939)

Mizoguchi s major works2

Mizoguchi’sMajor Works

POSTWAR masterpieces

  • The Life of Oharu (SaikakuIchidaiOnna, 1952)

  • Ugetsu(UgetsuMonogatari, 19553)

  • Sansho the Bailiff (SanshoDayu, 1954)

  • Crucified Lovers (ChikamatsuMonogatari, 1955)

  • The Tales of the Taira Clan (Shin Heike Monogatari, 1955)

  • Street of Shame (AkasenChitai, 1956)

Osaka elegy 1936

Osaka Elegy (1936)

  • Ayako becomes the mistress of her boss, so she can pay back her father’s debt and provides her brother with college fees. When she is abandoned by her benefactor, she turns to the street.

Sisters of gion 1936

Sisters of Gion (1936)

  • Umekichiand Omocha are geisha in Kyoto’s Gion district. The former feels obliged to help her bankrupt patron, but the latter believes her sister is wasting her time and money on a loser and coward. Omocha’s view is vindicated but her pragmatism does not bring her happiness either.

The story of the last chrysanthemum 1939

The Story of The Last Chrysanthemum (1939)

  • Kikunosuke, son of a master Kabuki actor, falls in love with Otoku, the wet-nurse of his brother. This provokes his father’s anger and he is expelled from his troupe. He is allowed to rejoin it on the condition that he separates from Otoku.

The life of o haru 1952

The Life of O-haru(1952)

  • Once a lady-in-waiting at the imperial court, Oharu falls in love with a man below her station. They are forced to be separated. Oharu is sent to the court as concubine for the lord who lacks a male heir. The lord’s infatuation and obsession with Oharu caused jealousy among his first wife and court ladies. After giving birth to a baby boy,

The life of o haru 19521

The Life of O-haru(1952)

she is sent back home. Oharu is then sold to Shimabara as a courtesan to pay off her father’s debt. After leaving Shimabara, she is betrayed by a man who fancies her and her employer. She ends up becoming a cheap street girl.

Ugetsu 1953

Ugetsu (1953)

  • A potter is seduced by a wealthy noble woman and abandons his wife. When he comes to his senses and returns to his home, he is kindly received by his wife, who is but her ghost.

Sansho the bailiff 1954

Sansho the Bailiff (1954)

  • A compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him, but they are separated in the journey. The mother is murdered and the children are sold as slaves. The sister sacrifices in order to liberate her brother.

Street of shame 1956

Street of Shame (1956)

  • About lives of prostitutes

    in the days before pro-

    stitution are banned.

    Yasumi, the most beautiful

    and successful, manipulates

    customers; Mickey is an unsentimental rebel;

    Michi’e supports her sick husband and a new-born

    baby; Yumeko supports her son but is ashamed of

    her profession; Yori’e hopes to settle into marriage

    but is betrayed by her ‘fiancée’.

Images of japanese women

Images of Japanese Women

  • Mizoguchi’sthematic concerns consistently found in his films

    His films reflect:

  • (Expected) roles of women in the feudal and traditional society

  • Exploitation and abuse of women – as the ‘second-class’ members of the society.

Images of japanese women1

Images of Japanese Women

  • Ugliness of men who prey on women

  • Beauty of women who resist the power of men but finally succumb to it.

  • Women’s self-sacrifice (or forced self-sacrifice) for their family (parents, brothers and sisters, husbands, children, and lovers)

  • Atonement brought for the sin committed by men by way of women’s self-sacrifice

Images of japanese women2

Images of Japanese Women

  • ‘… a commitment to feminism and progressive politics…’ Interpretation by Alexander Jacoby

  • Are Mizoguchi’s films feminist and do they take a progressive political stance on issues of women?

  • Comassion and sympathy towards suffering women; indictment against men’s cruelty, selfishness and violence

Images of japanese women3

Images of Japanese Women

  • Female perseverance and self-sacrifice are made to look as if they were beautiful and virtuous acts

  • Isn’t this the glorification of women’s suffering rather than denouncement.

  • Female masochism

  • Doesn’t this lead to a tacit affirmation of the position and role of women?

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