by eric martin
In the simplest terms, a film auteur is the “author” of a film – someone who both writes and directs. However, the phrase “auteur” also carries certain connotations of art and artistic vision.
The term originated in France as the outline for a theoretical approach to film-making wherein “the director is seen as the central creative force in a motion picture”.
This initial definition has been maintained over the decades since the auteur theory’s emergence, with the term film auteur being applied almost exclusively to film directors who write and produce films which serve as “a medium for the personal artistic expression of the director”.
Is there a firm line between a “regular director” and a film auteur – a writer-director who works to express a “personal artistic vision”?
The answer is a qualified no. This question is similar to asking if there is a firm line between “literature” and “popular fiction”. There is no clear line, but over time the distinction does become codified, clarified and demarcated regarding the art, the artist, and the categories to which they belong.
In addition to expressing a particular and unique cinematic vision, the film auteur is generally somewhat prolific. The phrase auteur should evoke ideas of a role, a position in relation to the medium, a creative and progenitive ownership of a craft, in this case the craft and medium of film-making.
So, the term film auteur then is a perennial title that describes a career in cinema as a visionary writer and director of films.
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