Articles On Auteur Theory Essays

Auteur Theory: Howard Hawks and Martin Scorsese Essay examples

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Use a range of auteur theories to examine the work of two significant directors you have studied on this module. One director should have produced the majority of their work prior to 1960 and the other should have produced it from the 1970s onwards.

Discuss the origins and main developments of auteur theory then examine the works of Howard Hawks and Martin Scorsese with relevance to their status as auteur directors.

In having their films examined as auteurs of the cinema, both Howard Hawks and Martin Scorsese have been described as great artists whose body of work demonstrates repeated themes and motifs, that put in context reveals a particular belief and world view that is held by the director. In fact, Hawks was among the first…show more content…

Astruc, along with Andre Bazin and the other reviewers of the Cahiers du Cinema developed these principles into what is known as the politique des auteurs. These critics wanted great film to be considered as an art form worthy of the attention given to great literature, music or art. The emphasis behind the politique des auteurs was to oppose the “established French film criticism with its support for a ‘quality’ cinema of serious social themes” (Cook and Bernink, 240). Though it also stressed that a director could transcend the industrial nature of filmmaking to stamp a unique vision and world view on their films and so deserve consideration comparable to an artist of the classical forms. This is highlighted by Jean-Luc Godard’s boast that “having it acknowledged that a film by Hitchcock, for example, is as important as a book by Aragon. Film authors, thanks to us, have finally entered the history of art” (Godard, 147). Godard was one of the critics who were known as the ‘young Turks’ which also included Francois Truffaut. A certain tendency of the French Cinema (1954) was the article that for many confirmed auteurism as a theory and gave the Cahiers a sense of direction that it was lacking.

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There will come a time when being an auteur filmmaker will be the norm, rather than the exception. But let’s pause for a second on that word “auteur.” Have you ever heard that word used and wondered what it meant? Or, more likely, have you ever thought about a director who had carved out his or her own particular style, which you noticed from film to film, and thought there must be a term for directors like that? This roughly-fifteen-minute video essay from Filmmaker IQ gives a resoundingly clear answer to the question “what is an auteur,” which should clear up any confusion on the matter. It also offers up a concise history of the term, which is rooted in French film history. The piece looks at the more conservative films being made in France before World War II, the transformations effected by Francois Truffaut and such critic-director colleagues as Jean-Luc Godard, who embraced and examined director Jean Renoir’s term auteur to support an elevation of the filmmaker-as-artist, and the fierce debate between American critics Andrew Sarris and Pauline Kael over the significance and relevance of the term itself. This piece is a great watch for anyone hoping to bolster their knowledge of film history or, as the case may be, resolve once and for all what the heck an “auteur” is.

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