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Auteur Theory

Due to the fact that films require artistic and creative input from a handful of different individuals with different talents, the question over who are the overlying author and creator is still disputed. In the 1950s, French film was influential in creating the Auteur theory. The French film journal, Cahiers du Cinema, introduced Auteur theory in an attempt to liberate directors from the restricting nature of the system in which films were made and distributed. The journal also tried to introduce new film as an art form rather than purely entertainment. Cahiers Du Cinema was combatting the idea of la tradition de la qualitie which dominated French film in the early 1950s, which advocated that the writer was central to the creative process. French film critics such as Truffaut disagreed with this opinion and emphasized Mise en scene, which was the visual qualities of the film. The visual qualities of the film would be created by the director, thus meaning that Cahiers Du Cinema and Auteur theory emphasized the director as the creative force. Truffaut encouraged directors to imprint their own vision onto their work (minimising the role of the screenwriter). Truffaut even went on to say that "there are no good and bad movies, only good and bad directors". This shows us how strongly it was thought that the director fully controlled the creation of the film, and how little influence the French romantics thought the screenplay should have on the final piece of the film. Truffaut went further and drew a distinction between an auteur, which was a director with his or her own visual style and techniques, and paralleled this to Metteur en scene, which is a director who simply translates the screenplay into a film. From Truffauts opinions alone we can see how well supported unique and artistic films were. The writers behind Cahiers du film were aware of the industrial process behind a film but believed that any Auteur would have their artistic voice and style shine through all studio interferences that may attempt to hinder their own style of filmmaking. Despite agreeing with Truffaut, film theorist Andre Bazin criticized some of the ideas expressed from Truffaut and Cahiers du film, highlighting the fact that some of the conceptions behind auteur theory at this time were rather base and undeveloped. For example, Bazin criticised on: - The idea that the worst work of an auteur is better than the best work of a metteur en scene; - The fact that social and historical aspects are passed over in favour of personal signatures; Many directors influenced by auteur theory would disregard historical accuracy of a film in order to attempt to include their own style or mise en scene and create a visually powerful piece of work, rather than a compelling and accurate story. Ian Cameron, an editor for the English Movie magazine echoed Bazins more controlled and less radical thoughts of auteur theory. Cameron thought the

auteur approach of individual style was important but did not believe that the directors word was always final: when the director disagrees with the critics this does not mean the critics are wrong, for, after all, the value of a film depends on the film itself and not on the directors intentions, which may not be apparent from the finished work This idea highlights that the quality of a film is not solely due to the quality of the mise en scene within a film, and that despite the fact that a film may have brilliant visual characteristics it does not make it a brilliant film: other aspects that are needed in creating a film also need to be of good quality. Ian Camerons opinion tells us that it is not always the director who qualifies as the author of a film. Cameron identifies other candidates: the writer, the photographer, the composer, the producer and the star of the film. This idea then enforces the possible chance that authorship could be given to a group of people that collaborate together to create the film. For example, the producer could be considered the author as he or she is the person that chooses the creative minds that undertake the creation of a specific film. Overall, I believe that the original opinions of auteur theory expressed by the writers of Cahier du film were very extreme and undeveloped. This may be due to the fact that the theories presented by people such as Truffaut needed to be extreme in order to combat la tradition de la qualitie, which governed all French films at the time. I feel that the idea of mise en scene is very important in ensuring that directors that portray their own style and create their own techniques when filmmaking. Although, mise en scene should not be relied on to such an extent that the director will disregard the historical accuracy, acting talent and storyline of a film to simply create a stylistic and visually powerful piece of work. For example, I believe that director Baz Lurhman relies solely on the visual qualities of a film in order to create an aura that he is an innovative auteur. When in reality Lurhman will usually find a classical and well-known screenplay, such as Shakespeares Romeo & Juliette. Lurhman will do this because he has the knowledge that the story will be of good content and will then simply work on the mise en scene of his film. Moreover, I think that the authorship of a film has the ability to be credited to a group of people, but the Auteur will usually be the director, as he or she would have the final say in how the film is portrayed. Ryan Still, Signing out.