Auteur Theory

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Translated from the French word author, auteur theory was first introduced in the French film journal Cahiers du Cinema. The theory holds that a director is the primary person responsible for the creation of a motion picture and instills it with his or her distinctive style. It is a medium for the personal artistic expression of the director. In order for a director to be considered an auteur, there must be a consistency of style and theme across a number of films. The film theoretician and founder of Cahiers du Cinema, explained that; ‘Auteur Theory was a way of choosing the personal factor in artistic creation as a standard of reference and then assuming that it continues or even progresses to the next.” (André Bazin).

However there are some problems in relation to the theory as some feel that the theory diminishes the roles others play in the creation of a film. The focus lies on the authorial role of the director. Screenwriters especially, have balked at the idea that a director is more authorial than the screenwriter. Essentially the theory is saying that the director dominates the film making process, therefore privileging the role of the director. With this and other problems there was a lot of backlash against the theory. Some critics also argue that critics made an intentional fallacy when they tried to interpret works of art by speculating what the author meant based on the authors personality or life experiences.

Personally I disagree with the backlash. The director gives the film its distinctive quality, and therefore should be considered the film’s author. Understanding a films auteur affects the audience’s relationship with the film, especially in regards to the interior meaning. It is particularly useful as a starting point for the interpretation of some films. When given a script it is the director’s duty to deliver a film with depth to the story. In order for the audience to relate and emotionally connect, you need to not only see the ‘what’ but also understand the ‘why’ in their actions. It is the creative vision of the director that gives films a distinctive quality, transforming it into a work of art. They bear their maker’s signature by displaying evidence of their own personalities within their work. “An auteur, at least in film study, is nearly always a director. And auteur director is one who brings to a film signs of their own individuality – perhaps in the way the narrative is constructed, the way certain themes are explored or in the visual style." Pg. 195

In other words a director creates a personal stamp on a film by using a distinctive, memorable style. For this essay I plan to analysis the film ‘Requiem for a Dream’, directed by Darren Aronofsky. Unordinary, highly stylized, Requiem for a Dream is a film paralleling the lives of Sara Goldfarb, a lonely, TV obsessed widow, and her son Harry, his girlfriend Marion, and his best friend Tyrone. I chose this film to represent my understanding of Auteur theory as I feel Aronofsky is a prime example of everything I have discussed so far. He is a very stylistic filmmaker and pays great attention to detail in every aspect of his movies. I believe he is a master of using his own personal style to create a series of works, all with very similar themes. He revisits the idea of obsession and addiction again and again in each of his films. The main characters are usually faced with difficult conflicts within themselves. Another aspect of Aronofsky's style is his use of music to evoke emotion, tension, or a sense of discomfort. He also uses a lot of fast-cutting editing techniques and stylish camera angles that allows you to enter the minds of the characters. These are some of the elements ill be looking at in my essay that I believe makes Aronofsky a true Auteur.

Over the years Aronofsky has crafted consistent themes, and honed a highly personalized style, which has woven into each of the films he makes. Addiction and obsession. This can be...
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