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 Theory” • 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.