Auteur Theory

While there is little dispute regarding the fact that filmmaking is a collaborative effort, when it comes to labeling one director as the sole author of a production many eyebrows are raised and controversies arise.

On page ten of Understanding Film Theory, a quote from British director Richard Curtis states “A film is made at least four times. Once in the writing. Then in shooting, which is the second film. Then in the editing, which is the third film. Then there might be a fourth film” In order for a director to be considered the single author of film, I believe they must impose a heavy presence in each of the different aspects of the filmmaking procedure. The lines that clarify the requisites for an auteur feel blurred and strictly based on a case-by-case scenario. Regardless, it is obvious that most directors don’t enter the film industry with the mindset that they are striving for the label of authorship. In the fame obsessive culture we live in, it is arguable that the title of auteur generates a feeling of accomplishment and praise however from an analytical perspective there is a greater meaning behind this title.

One existing benefit derived from the Auteur theory is the ability to draw common characteristics and style used by the director in a variety of their films. Big name directors have specific qualities they are known for in their works, which provides a unifying aspect to their films; however, this is not to say that a director can only produce one style or genre of film. Contrastingly, one downside from believing that directors have a single style that they incorporate in every film is that it might persuade the audience to stretch the meaning of certain aspects to fit the mold of the style used in previous films.

Auteur theory presents an interesting question and a new influence to think about when watching films.

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