#IAmNotADicitonary Word Of The Day: Auteur
Origin of AUTEUR
Auteur theory has influenced film criticism since 1954, when it was advocated by film director and critic François Truffaut. This method of film analysis was originally associated with the French New Wave and the film critics who wrote for the French film review periodical Cahiers du Cinéma. Auteur theory was developed a few years later in the United States through the writings of The Village Voice critic Andrew Sarris. Sarris used auteur theory as a way to further the analysis of what defines serious work through the study of respected directors and their films.
Auteur theory draws on the work of a group of cinema enthusiasts who wrote for Cahiers du Cinéma and argued that films should reflect a director’s personal vision. The championed filmmakers such as Akira Kurosawa, Satyajit Ray, Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, and Jean Renoir are known as absolute ‘auteurs’ of their films. Although André Bazin, co-founder of the Cahiers, provided a forum for Auteurism to flourish, he explained his concern about its excesses in his article “On the Auteur Theory” (Cahier # 70, 1957). Another element of Auteur theory comes from Alexandre Astruc‘s notion of the caméra-stylo or “camera-pen,” which encourages directors to wield cameras as writers use pens and to guard against the hindrances of traditional storytelling.
Truffaut and the members of the Cahiers recognized that movie-making was an industrial process. However, they proposed an ideal to strive for, encouraging the director to use the commercial apparatus as a writer uses a pen, and, through the mise en scène, imprint his or her vision on the work (minimizing the role of the screenwriter). Recognizing the difficulty of reaching this ideal, they valued the work of directors who came close.
The definition of an Auteur was debated upon since the 1940s. Andre Bazin and Roger Leenhardt presented the theory that it is the director that brings the film to life and uses the film to express their thoughts and feelings about the subject matter as well as a world view as an auteur. An auteur can use lighting, camerawork, staging and editing to add to their vision.