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Lecture 4: Film Theory - The Auteur

The Auteur is a film maker where the director characterizes the creative influence of the film, film makers considered famous auteurs are Hitchcock, Stanley and Kubrick

Auteur is french for author and the director was celebrated for there creative influence upon a film

Auteurs are seen as more than just film directors, they are akin to artists, they create original work, they possess creative control of the film, many auteurs have there own film language which is distinctive to them and their films, Auteurs are known for creating the conventions of genre rather than following them, they either break the rules or set new ones

Auteur Theory by Sarris 1962 - He spoke about the technical competence of film directors, the distinguishable personality within there films creating a ‘style’ which is recognizable to there films, as an audience you can instantly recognize an Auteurs film, he also spoke about auteurs use of interior meaning

The technical competence of the director - They have understanding of expressionist lighting to convey or create meaning and emotion, Story telling within the silent era of films, in which the story was told visually rather than through the spoken word, visual elements and composition craft story. The use of the subjective camera where by the audience see the story or film from the perspective of a character, Montage and clipping a craft pioneered by Hitchcock, where by clips or segments of different film are quickly cut together to create tension or other feeling within the audience

Hitchcock - 50 decade career within the film industry and is known for being a master of suspense, he ability to control and manipulate the audience's emotions and being a pioneer in the thriller/horror genre. He began in 1920’s using his skills as an artists to create film sets, he undertook an apprenticeship along side Graham Cutts at Gainsborough a prominent film school, shortly after he travelled to Germany to work along side film masters such as F.W. Murnau and german expressionists

Hitchcock created and master tensions within his film through the way he cut and montaged clips together, he said himself that the audience is aware of what is going to happen, but it is when it is going to happen that matters and therefore builds tension within the audience

F.W Murnau film Nosferatu, 1922 becomes an influence and guidance within Hitchcock owns films and Murnau use of shadow is later replicated in Hitchcock’s Vertigo

The Lodger, 1927 became Hitchcock’s first feature length film, the film featured heavy use of stage makeup to enhance the dramatic feel of the film, the movie poster for the film was influenced by cubism

Hitchcock makes use of the subjective camera within his film ‘Champagne’ 1928, in which Hitchcock shoots films through glasses and peep holes through doors, a seen of the film features couple kisses which the audience see through a glass, this creates an element of mystery and secrecy within the audience as well as dramatic irony.

‘Jamaica Inn’ again features Hitchcock shooting scene through a spy hole, this became a common element of Hitchcock films whereby the audience felt as if they were spying on characters within the film

The dolly zoom, created by Hitchcock, is an in camera special effect, which creates an unsettling feeling within the audience by undermining the normal visual perceptions of film, it also has many other names such as the ‘Hitchcock Zoom’ the technique was most famously used within the film ‘Vertigo’. The shot is used within high buildings or places to create a sick feeling or feeling of vertigo

Hitchcock famously said ‘What is drama, but life with the dull bits cut out?’ here Hitchcock is describing his technique of cutting and montage. Hitchcock likens the process of cutting to orchestration and the mix of loud and soft notes to create emotion as well as the size of the shot to evoke emotion, in particularly shock, Hitchcock was known for being a generous man, he shared is knowledge of the craft with other, he was also good a communicating his knowledge and experience to others

The director’s personality within a film - The directors use of expressionism and how the evoke emotion within the audience through use of form. Hitchcock was especially known for Cameo appearances within all his films. Hitchcock also famously used visual clues and props to tell the story with little dialogue some of his best scene features minimal dialogue. Hitchcock also continuously used the same actors which became snonomous with his films. Hitchcock also has an obscure obsession with blondes, many of great works feature blond protagonists - he once said ‘blond’s make the best victims They’re like virgin white snow that shows u the bloody footprints’. Overall Hitchcock is best known for the way in which is crafts suspense in his films.

Hitchcock creates his suspense when the audience is aware of a certain danger but the characters are not, Hitchcock said ‘there’s no terror in the bang of the gun only the anticipation of it’ suggesting Hitchcock believes timing is the key to creating good suspense. Most of Hitchcock’s early work created suspense and terror with little splatter on the screen.

Expressionism within Hitchcock’s films - as a director he was not concerned with realism or naturalism, Hitchcock’s ideal goal was to create and evoke emotion within his audiences, Hitchcock’s passion was to replicate the same ‘pleasure’ people have when waking up from a nightmare

Vertigo, a film by Alfred Hitchcock is seen as his masterpiece and perhaps for his use of voyeurism, in that nothing is ever what it seems, fear of heights, inability to save the girl and these experiences turing into nightmares are elements explored within ‘Vertigo’

Other features of ‘Vertigo’ include the protagonists decent into madness creating trauma within the audience. Furthermore there is a repetition of green throughout the film and green is symbolic of ever living and always green, similar to madeline and judy within the film being one ever living character. Colour is used by Hitchcock in an expressionistic way

Hitchcock is aware of the link between film making and art and hence creates a intwining narrative between colour and story telling, Hitchcock also use the silhouette to create tension and drama (similar to the silhouette in Nosfarto)

Hitchcock uses Interior meaning within his films which stems from his introduction to psycho analysis by David O Selznick, Hitchcock becomes fascinated with this ideology, He created the films, ‘Spellbound’ ‘Notorious’ and ‘Rebecca’ as a result of this new knowledge

Hitchcock also collaborated with artist Salvador Dali exploring how dreams can access the unconscious mind and also eyes - looking, viewing, perceptions but not always a pleasant viewing experience when you do look

Birds - Birds appear in many Hitchcock films, the are a motif of sabotage within his films they appear in ‘Jamaica Inn’, ‘The Lady Vanishes’ and ‘Psycho’ the use of bird also implies impending doom.

Hitchcock also self proclaimed his own fears of high places, small children, police men and that his next movie will not be as good as his last, these fears maybe present in his own films, fear of height seen within vertigo

There are a set of themes that Hitchcock continually visits within his films, ordinary people caught in extraordinary situations, mistaken identity, murder and madness, espionage, strong sexual themes and exploration of the darkest corners of the human mind

However the Auteur represents a series of films made by directors who were mostly male, as a portfolio of films was need to be given money to create a film a portfolio of which many women did not have.

It also disguises the work of others such as cinematographer, writer, sound and set design, it is also seen as a capitalist device by which films are sold by there director rather than the quality of the film which undermines the work of other directors.

In the future we must given birth to the reader at the death the Author, an analogy in reference to literature but can be translated to film in which the director must become transparent rather than the voice of the film.

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