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Film Studies For Dummies by James Cateridge

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Chapter 14

Praising Great Directors: Auteur Theory

In This Chapter

arrow Evolving from directors to auteurs

arrow Debating the pros and cons of the auteur theory

arrow Evaluating the careers of some major auteurs

Before auteur theory emerged in the 1950s, so-called serious art critics considered movies as rubbish. Now they’re often thought of as great works of art. How did this happen?

Well, many people argue that before you can talk about art, you need to have an artist, someone whose personal stamp you can detect on everything that they produce. Poets, authors, composers and painters all create the more ‘respectable’ art forms. In cinema, auteur theory places creative responsibility with the director.

After I define, dissect and debate auteur theory, in this chapter I also explore some good examples of individual auteurs of film history and of today. For ease of reference I have roughly grouped these film-makers chronologically: firstly, those who worked in the classical period of 1930 to 1960; secondly, those who emerged throughout the 1960s to the 1990s (most of whom are still active today); and, finally, some contemporary 21st century examples. In serving up these profiles, I had room to include ...

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