Ch. 11 European Art Cinema and Auteur Approach
|GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM (1919-24)|| i. Films in this movement were also popular in France & the US.|
ii. They were often about insane or psychotic characters.
iii. They featured distorted mise-en-scène, painted shadows &
lighting effects, angular buildings, etc., & were shot almost entirely on sets.
|FRENCH IMPRESSIONISM (1917-30)||i. Unlike Expressionism, these films relied on exterior shooting|
& employed various photographic effects to alter the image.
ii. These films, influenced by the French Impressionist painters,
portray life as it is experienced, especially by common people.
iii. Unlike the German films, they were more often about emotions, sometimes erotic.
|Factors that established EAC in the US||1. The establishment of film studies in universities, where films were often|
studies as literature. This further promoted the idea of the director as the "author".
2. The rise of serious film criticism; Directors began to be considered as
artists & were interviewed. Their films were reviewed by "important" newspapers & magazines.
3. Film festivals were established that awarded prizes to directors.
4. The establishment of "art theaters" in major cities in the United States.
|Characteristics of Characters in EAC|| far more complex than in the CHC. We often do|
not know much about the characters.
1. They rarely have clearly defined goals.
2. Conflicts tend to be within a character (for example, trying to determine the "meaning of life"), rather than conflict between characters.
|EAC Form||The EAC was not subject to Hollywood's moral code of the 1950s.|
1. EAC films often contained nudity, sexual situations, & language that was
not allowed in the CHC until the 1960s.
Like the films of the CHC, the films of the EAC are narrative fiction films.
1. However, cause & effect are not as closely linked as they are in the CHC.
2. This has led some critics to describe the EAC as more realistic than the CHC, as life itself does not conform to cause & effect construction.
C. Characters in the EAC are far more complex than in the CHC. We often do not know much about the characters.
|Closure of EAC|| Because there are no clear goals, the EAC films tend to have a much smaller degree of CLOSURE than those of the CHC.|
2. Again, this is often seen as being more like real life than is the closure of the CHC.
|SELFREFLEXIVE||they call attention to the style & construction of the film|
|AUTEUR||means, literally, "author."|
|ALEXANDER ASTRUC||1. Film critic, wrote 1948 article on the "CAMERA-STYLO," or "camera-pen."|
2. In this article, he claimed that the camera should be to the filmmaker what the pen is to the writer, a means of personal & artistic expression.
3.he sought to give the filmmaker the prestige previously given to only
novelists, painters, etc.
|CAHIERS DU CINÉMA||journal of film criticism, influenced by Astruc, came about a few years later.|
|FRANÇOIS TRUFFAUT||wrote an article called "A Certain Tendency of the French Cinema" |
a. Attacked the current French cinema, which he considered very theatrical & literary; not cinematic, directors merely translated novels
& plays into films.
b. he felt that the director of a film should take complete control of the film making process.
(1) The director should express him/herself as an artist in cinematic, not theatrical or literary, ways.
(2) The director should use film to do what can be done only with & in cinema.
|"POLITIQUE DES AUTEURS," or auteur policy.||(1) Film should be a medium of personal expression.|
(2) The best films are those that bear the filmmaker's "PERSONAL SIGNATURE," or use of consistent style & themes.
(3) An artist's OEUVRE, or entire body of work, is more important than particular films.
(4) The worst film of an auteur is better than the best film of an nonauteur.
|most famous Auteurs|| ) Mostly American directors: John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, & Orson Welles.|
(2) Some European directors:
i. French directors such as Jacques Tati.
ii. French documentary filmmakers, such as Jacques Cousteau & Alain Resnais.
|ANDREW SARRIS||1. Critic for The Village Voice; taught at New York University; well respected.|
2. In 1962, he wrote an essay called "Notes on the Auteur Theory," in which he established his criteria for evaluating films.
. In 1968, he published The American Cinema, in which he evaluated
American directors according to these criteria.
|Sarris's criteria for evaluating films|| a. The technical competence of the director.|
b. The evidence of the personality & signature of the director (the use of consistent style & themes).
c. The "personal vision" of the director; Does he or she have something "significant" to say?
|Author as the SOURCE of the film|| Are biographical aspects evident in the films?|
b. What shaped the filmmaker's work? What were the artistic influences?
|Author as a BRAND NAME|| Product of the film industry, used in marketing a film.|
b. Can be the producer (Spielberg, Lucas) or even a company (especially Disney).
c. EAC uses the director as a brand name; used to sell movies; differentiate its product from that of Hollywood.
|Author as CRITICAL CONSTRUCT||. Deals more with analysis of the films themselves, not outside influences or marketing.|
b. The emphasis is on the body of films rather than on the director. The author's name is more of a way to identify the body of films.
c. Look for recurring themes, style, subject matter
d. Evolution or growth throughout the body of films is considered important.
|The 3 ways of using the auteur approach today||Author as the SOURCE of the film, Author as a BRAND NAME, Author as CRITICAL CONSTRUCT|
|Advantages of Auteur Approach|| 1. Provides insight into a body of work, gives a student a way of approaching & analyzing films.|
2. Has increased the status of many good Hollywood directors, especially those such as John Ford, who worked primarily in genre films.
|Disadvantages of Auteur Approach|| 1. Leads to the overrating of directors with consistent style (could be crummy style!)|
2. Underrates individual films that may be very good.
3. Discounts the contributions of other artists & technicians involved in the production of a film.