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OCR A2 Film Sec B Critical Engagement with Film & Cinema: Authorship in Contemporary Cinema

Rob Miller | Tuesday September 15, 2015

Categories: A Level, OCR A Level, OCR A2, Analysis, Film Analysis

2. How far do you agree with the statement that the director is the true author of the filmmaking process? (50)

An auteur implies someone with overall control and also someone with their own recognisable style. Audiences with cultural capital who watch a Hitchcock film may see immediately that it is directed by him because of the cinematography, mise-en-scene and visual style, sound but also importantly editing. It is the ‘look’ of the film that identifies his role and this is the primary role of the director. A film can have a number of authors that go beyond the artistic control of the director: the influence of a producer is often more pertinent and the writer of the film has a pivotal role in the origination of the narrative. In truth, however, most films are collaborative in nature in terms of key roles with the true auteur or author of a film arguably an individual who is responsible for writing, directing and even producing.

There are a number of iconic directors like Stanley Kubrick, Tim Burton, JJ Abrams, Christopher Nolan, Jane Campion, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino, for example, who have achieved the status of auteur because their films are so instantly recognisable as ‘belonging’ to them, regardless of producer or writer. The director controls the thematic meaning of a film through particular stylistic choices that bring the script to life from a piece of writing on a page to a movie. Genre can restrict this complete artistic control up to a point in the straightjacket that conventions and audience expectations bring to bear. Directors are frequently compromised by studios who wish to maximize profit and ensure a film is a commercial success and while the ideas of a director may be his or her own there may be a budget cap or a narrative intervention for a number of reasons.

For British directors like Danny Boyle this can commonly occur if your film is being distributed by a major Hollywood studio like...

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