Watermark University: Modern Directors & The Auteur Theory

In film criticism, auteur theory holds that a film reflects the director’s personal creative vision, as if they were the primary “auteur” (the French word for “author”). The director uses the film to express their thoughts and feelings about the subject matter as well as their world view. An auteur can use lighting, camerawork, staging and editing to add to their vision.

In her new class, Sara will screen two films a week by critically acclaimed modern directors and then discuss the elements they use to create their personal vision. Sara will also explore how auteur theory has influenced film criticism since 1954, when it was advocated by film director and critic François Truffaut. This method of film analysis was originally associated with the French New Wave and the film critics who wrote for the French film review periodical Cahiers du Cinéma.

By the end of the course, you will have a better understanding as to how the director is in a unique and irreplaceable position of personal artistic perspective, and that a film is, most importantly, a product of that perspective.

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