Presentation Art Cinema and Auteurs

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					Art Cinema and Auteurs
      Conditions for Art Cinema
• Have previously discussed conditions that allowed
  international art cinema to become viable
  economically after WWII.
• Paramount Decision increased opportunities for
  booking non-Hollywood films in theaters.
• Increased emphasis on individual films;
  development of market (audience) segments.
• While Hollywood pushes big-budget blockbusters,
  safe content, & lack of experimentation,
• Development of art-oriented & auteurist views
  among urban film viewers, film buffs, & critics.
     Art Cinema and the Auteur
• These conditions also allowed a view of cinema
  as more than just entertainment to become more
  broadly accepted.
• Crucial to this acceptance of cinema's role as art
  and/or social statement was the notion of the
  Auteur or Author.
• As Thompson & Bordwell observe, notions of film
  authorship had existed before WWII . . .
• But in 1950s, the rise of auteurist ideas (mainly at
  the Cahiers du cinéma) gave an intellectual
  argument for notion of film director as similar to a
  literary author.
              Fellini and 8 1/2
• Few directors could better illustrate this idea of the
  auteur-director with a distinctive personal style
  than Federico Fellini.
• Style so distinctive that "Fellini-esque" became a
  term for an exuberant, circus-like style.
• 8 1/2 gives a powerful vision of a film director and
  contributes to contemporary idea of what an
  auteur-director is like.
• But Guido is not Federico, and 8 1/2 is not simply
  about Fellini's life.
• Indeed, it is very much about the fact that films are
  not reality, but fictions, or as Fellini says, "lies."
               Fellini and 8 1/2
• Note difference of 8 1/2 from Neorealist films, where
  Fellini began his career.
• Fellini: “there is no objective reality in my films, any
  more than there is in life.”
• Real & Imaginary, Truth & Lies, Past, Present, &
  Future, become increasingly confused in 8 1/2, until
  difficult to tell which is which.
• Guido's life, imagination, memories, his film--all
  become intermixed. And how related to Fellini's life,
  imagination, memories, and to film we’re watching?
• Like mirrors facing one another, reflections multiply
  (what is known as mise-en-abyme-- "placing into
  the abyss”) until we can’t tell “real” from reflection.
                 Fellini and 8 1/2
• As Ravetto-Biagioli notes, drawing from famous reading of
  8 1/2 by philosopher Gilles Deleuze, flow of time (&
  narrative) becomes confused.
• No longer linear movement from Past to Future ("Gallop"),
  but instead emphasizes repetitions & returns, as in a
  musical refrain ("Ritornello"). Folds back on itself.
• Guido, like Fellini, continually returns to past/memory,
  replaying and re-envisioning his childhood, mixing it with his
  fantasies (the "harem" sequence), wh/ don’t always remain
  under his control.
• Everything becomes part of “the show” (the film): what’s
  real here?
• Ravetto-Biagioli: It is "impossible to establish one
  conclusive way of reading the film. Instead, 8 1/2 offers
  multiple, even contradictory ways to read the film."
                 The Auteur
• Despite Thompson and Bordwell's linkage of art
  cinema and auteurism, the policy of authors [la
  politique des auteurs] was not, however, based
  simply on idea of "art cinema."
• Although the Cahiers critics admired major
  directors of Neorealism and of other art-oriented
  films, such as Robert Bresson, Luis Buñuel,
  Ingmar Bergman, and Satyajit Ray, they also
  loved many Hollywood films/directors.
• Indeed, the younger Cahiers critics loved many
  low-budget "B” & genre films, not just art films.
                 The Auteur
• Thus, while Auteurs were intially seen as
  directors who wrote/controlled their own scripts
• What came to distinguish Auteurs was their
  ability to "write" cinematically, to use the formal
  and stylistic resources of cinema to impart their
  personal vision.
• Based on Truffaut’s distinction of Auteurs from
  metteurs-en-scene (stagers), who merely
  staged a film (“add pictures”), without imparting
  a distinctive cinematic style or personal vision.
  Auteur Theory and Cinematic Form

• Thus, Cahiers critics came to see Hwd
  directors such as Ford, Hawks, Hitchcock as
  auteurs because those directors imprinted
  their style on films without writing own scripts,
  and while working within Hollywood system.
• This notion of the directors as auteurs
  because of mastery of cinematic style/vision,
  not just because they wrote their own scripts,
  would become known in English as “Auteur
• Popularized in English by Andrew Sarris and
  critics of Movie magazine.
  Auteur Theory and The New Wave

• The young Cahiers critics, who championed
  auteurism as based on director’s ability to
  make use of cinematic form, would put these
  ideas into practice in their own formally
  inventive films.
• François Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Eric
  Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, and Claude
  Chabrol: all film critics who would become
  major filmmakers of the French New Wave.
           International Auteurs
• Auteurism, with its emphasis on the director's
  use of cinematic form, helped to open the way,
  especially in the U.S., for different, more
  personal kinds of films.
• Although many of these films were European,
  directors from India, Brazil, and Japan also
  became internationally known at this time.
• Example: Akira Kurosawa, who had been
  making films in Japan for some time, but burst
  onto the international scene with Rashomon,
  which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film
  Festival in 1951.

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