Explain why the auteurist theory has become so important to film analysis. What are some arguments against auteurist theory? How does auteurist theory affect the way that films are marketed? How does it affect the way that films are analyzed by critics and audiences? Please use an actual film/director/marketing campaign to illustrate your points. The auteur theory, when applied to directing a film, infers that the director is indeed the author of the film, imprinting it with his personal vision (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011, 7.
In fact, “an auteurist approach may concentrate on either cinematic techniques or ideological thematic material, or both, but always within the context of the director’s other films” (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011, 10. 3). The auteur theory has become important to film analysis because it gives critics a specific guideline to judge a film. Allowing them to analyze the movie based on the director’s personal style. While the auteur theory of criticism gives the director creative credit for their films and at the same time can grant them stardom, it’s not a guarantee (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011, 7. ). Some directors that make superb films and are considered to be an auteur may never have their name mentioned for promotion of their film and sometimes one might find it hard to find promotions for their films at all ( Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011, 7. 3). “It is clear that turning directors into stars has a clear monetary advantage for some, while others worthy of such attention toil in near–anonymity” (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011, 7. 3).
In essence, ticket purchasers are more likely to buy a ticket to a movie that has a director that they are familiar with and have liked all previous films that they have directed. Obviously the auteur theory isn’t perfect. The biggest argument surrounding it is the fact that some feel that the importance of who the director is shouldn’t be placed above that of the screenwriter or the actors in terms of influencing the outcome of the movie (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011, 7. 3).
When deciding whether a director is an auteur or not one must take the guidelines of film critic Andrew Sarris into consideration. Sarris organized the auteur theory into three categories, Technical Competence (movies must be well made), Distinguishable Personality (movies must have a recognizable style and attitude), and Interior Meaning (body of work should express consistent world outlook) (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011, 7. 3). A director, coming to my mind, which fits into Sarris’s block of guidelines, is Tim Burton.
All of his movies are almost seamlessly well-made, apparent from one of his earlier works Beetlejuice to his newer movie Alice In Wonderland. He also has a distinguished personality. There is a list I have compiled of elements that can be witnessed in the majority of Tim Burton’s work: there is almost always a flashback, same actors are used (example Johnny Depp), a monster and/or witch (an intimidating woman that possess the power to get what she wants), a damsel or innocent (normally blonde), an always quirky, less than mentally stable character.
He is probably best known for his dark, slightly gothic movies that maintain a slightly quirky theme. When audiences witness a promotion for a film with Tim Burton’s name on it they know what they are getting, a beautiful built piece of work that is guaranteed to excite them with ample intrigue all the while maintaining a whimsical, slightly funny nature to the theme(at least I do). Tim Burton in all aspects is a auteur. References Goodykoontz, B. & Jacobs, C. (2011). Film: From Watching to Seeing. 7. 3 Auteur Theory & 10. 3 Approaches to Analysis and Interpretation.
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