He Auteur Have Known Better: Andrew Sarris And The Politicization Of American Film Authorship.

3908 words - 16 pages

He Auteur Have Known Better.Andrew Sarris and the politicization of American film authorship.Andrew Sarris first gained prominence through the importation of many of principals first presented within the pages of Cahier Du Cinema, a French journal which dealt solely with the critical interpretation of films, and the goal of creating standardized set of film theories. Many of the Cahier’s most innovative beliefs were rooted in the critical appreciation of American film, a previously marginalized art form, which offered a refreshing alternative to the stagnant nature of their own national cinema. Cahier critic Francois Truffault, attempted to justify the appreciation of this popular cinema through the creation standardized form of film criticism which was not too complex limit its possibility to be widely adopted, but also not in-depth enough to offer an honest depiction of the true intricacies of American filmmaking. The creation of this auteur-based approach seems to have functioned mostly as an attempt create an imaginary value system, which justified the elitist appreciation of such a populist art form, in the process making its pleasures less obtainable to those who represent it’s originally intended audience.As an American film critic, Andrew Sarris believed that many theories first presented in the Cahier Du Cinema could be utilized to spark a creative revaluation of his own national cinema. Attempting to offer a criticism of the tradition form of American film analysis which tended to emphasis the notion of “Hollywood directors as artisans…rather than as artists”1 he interpreted the theory of "la politique des auteurs" into a more nationally identifiable context. In 1962, unaware of the immense scrutiny which would soon follow, Sarris published the radical article “Notes on the Auteur Theory” in an obscure journal entitled Film Culture. What was merely intended to be a theoretical essay explaining Sarris’s definitive interpretation of the most effective critical approach in to viewing American cinema, soon became one of the most debated documents ever to address issues of film scholarship. The most influential principle which arose from Sarris’s work, was the notion that almost all films are a reflection of they’re director unique vision of the world. According to Sarris and his theoretical principles “The strong director imposes his own personality on a film; the weak director allows the personalities of others to run rampant”2 Because American cinema is a reflection of it’s countries core values, the debate over auteur theory soon began to take on oddly political connotations. Not only did Sarris create an ideological explanation for the manner in which American cinema can be considered an art form, but in his attempt to radicalize film scholarship, he communicated an elitist set of beliefs which alienated many Americans from the critical appreciation of their own national...

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