TCF112/Auteur Theory

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France, post-WW II (1945-)

  • US films released in France, part of new explosion of film interest.
  • Three Godfathers of Auteur Theory
    1. Henri Langlois
      • Cinématheque Française
      • Film screenings provided film education
    2. Alexandre Astruc
      • Critic
      • Caméra Stylo (stylus)
      • "camera pen"
    3. André Bazin
      • Founder/editor of Cahiers du Cinéma
      • Realist theorist
      • Nurtured young Cahiers critics who would become directors in the New Wave (Nouvelle Vague)
        • Included: Jean-Luc Godard, Eric Rohmer (edited Cahiers), François Truffaut
      • Truffaut: "A Certain Tendency in the French Cinema" (1954)
        • Attacked "Tradition of Quality"
        • Proposed "politique des auteurs"
          • "policy of the authors"
          • director = auteur/author
      • 2 types of directors
        1. Auteur
        2. Metteur-en-scene

Auteurism in US

  • Andrew Sarris, "Notes on the Auteur Theory" (1962)
  • Two Principles of Auteurism
    1. Director = auteur of a film
    2. Film history should be seen as a history of auteurs.

Films by one director should show consistencies in theme/narrative/visual style.

  • Sarris, 'The American Cinema' (1968)
    • Index of films/directors
    • Analyses of directors

AmericanCinemaSmall.jpg

Alfred Hitchcock

  • Theme
    • "Master of Suspense"
    • Rational/order vs. Irrational/chaos
    • Wrong Man
      • Innocent appear guilty
      • Guilty appear innocent
      • Catholic guilt
    • Voyeurism
  • Narrative Structure
    • "Wrong man" on the run, linked to a woman
  • Style (visual/sound)
    • Extensive use of storyboards
    • High angle
    • National Landmarks
    • Promoted own image
      • E.g., In famous cameos