auteur theory

(in film criticism) a theory that the director is the chief creator of a film and gives it an individual style that is evident in all aspects of the finished product.

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Theory that holds that a film's director is its "author" (French, auteur).

It originated in France in the 1950s and was promoted by François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard and the journal Cahiers du Cinéma. The director oversees and "writes" the film's audio and visual scenario and therefore is considered more responsible for its content than the screenwriter. Supporters maintain that the most successful films bear the distinctive imprint of their director.

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▪ French film
      theory of filmmaking in which the director is viewed as the major creative force in a motion picture. Arising in France in the late 1940s, the auteur theory—as it was dubbed by the American film critic Andrew Sarris—was an outgrowth of the cinematic theories of André Bazin and Alexandre Astruc. A foundation stone of the French cinematic movement known as the nouvelle vague, or New Wave, the theory of director-as-author was principally advanced in Bazin's periodical Cahiers du cinéma (founded in 1951). Two of its theoreticians—François Truffaut (Truffaut, François) and Jean-Luc Godard—later became major directors of the French New Wave.

      The auteur theory, which was derived largely from Astruc's elucidation of the concept of caméra-stylo (“camera-pen”), holds that the director, who oversees all audio and visual elements of the motion picture, is more to be considered the “author” of the movie than is the writer of the screenplay. In other words, such fundamental visual elements as camera placement, blocking, lighting, and scene length, rather than plot line, convey the message of the film. Supporters of the auteur theory further contend that the most cinematically successful films will bear the unmistakable personal stamp of the director.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Auteur theory — In film criticism, the 1950s era Auteur theory holds that a director s films reflect that director s personal creative vision, as if he or she were the primary Auteur (the French word for author ). In some cases, film producers are considered to… …   Wikipedia

  • auteur theory — auteur′ the ory n. sbz the theory that the director is the chief creator of a film and thereby gives it a distinctive individual style • Etymology: 1960–65 …   From formal English to slang

  • auteur theory — noun : a view of film making in which the director is considered the primary creative force in a motion picture * * * (in film criticism) a theory that the director is the chief creator of a film and gives it an individual style that is evident… …   Useful english dictionary

  • auteur theory — noun Date: 1962 a view of filmmaking in which the director is considered the primary creative force in a motion picture …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Auteur-Theorie — Die Auteur Theorie (von frz. „Auteur“ = Autor) ist eine Filmtheorie und die theoretische Grundlage für den Autorenfilm – insbesondere den französischen – in den 1950er Jahren, der sich vom „Produzenten Kino“ abgrenzte. Auch heute noch… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • auteur — (or auteur theory)   literally the French word for author ; in film criticism, used in the terms auteurism or auteur theory, denoting a critical theory (originally known as la politique des auteurs or the policy of authors ) popular in France in… …   Glossary of cinematic terms

  • theory — /thee euh ree, thear ee/, n., pl. theories. 1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein s theory of relativity. 2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in… …   Universalium

  • auteur — noun Etymology: French, originator, author, from Old French autor, from Latin auctor more at author Date: 1967 1. a film director whose practice accords with the auteur theory; broadly director c 2. an artist (as a musician or writer) whose sty …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • auteur — au•teur [[t]oʊˈtɜr[/t]] n. sbz a filmmaker whose films accord with the auteur theory • Etymology: 1960–65; < F: lit., author, originator < L auctor. See author au•teur′ism, n. au•teur′ist, adj. n …   From formal English to slang

  • auteur — /oʊˈtɜ/ (say oh ter) noun 1. a film director whose films reflect his or her personal artistic vision to such a degree that he or she may be regarded as their author, and whose films collectively may be regarded as a body of work sharing… …   Australian English dictionary

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