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Unified Uncertainty And The Auteur Theory Of Film Criticism

1219 words - 5 pages

Unified Uncertainty and the Auteur Theory
There are no rules and regulations when it comes to creativity. The imagination of the artist and the creator determine what guidelines to follow, but that freedom consequently creates controversy when the piece needs to be evaluated for its true value. When French film director Francois Truffaut advocated the Auteur theory in 1954, it greatly influenced film criticism. The Auteur theory states that the director of a motion picture is the primary author of the film and that all elements reflect their personal creative vision. Theorists John Caughie and Andrew Sarris both express their concerns about the specifications of what makes a director an “auteur”, believing it to be an undefined and obscure theory.
For many artists and creators, they are only as successful as their latest piece of work. John Caughie states that "It is tempting to present the principles of the politique as a set of rules: the late work of an auteur is necessarily more interesting than the earlier work, the worst work of an auteur is necessarily worth more than the best work of a metteur en scene, etc.; but such a schematization, though it has a substantial foundation, avoids the seductiveness of Cahiers' auteurist practice..." (Caughie 38). Caughie believes that the principles of the policy of auteurism are criticized differently than any other art form, including romantic criticism, which creates confusion as to whether the criticism deserves legitimacy or not. Caughie comments on the idea that the quality and the type of feedback on films is relative to the popular and socially acceptable styles of interpretation, "It is this diversity of stimuli, rather than a singular philosophical source, which seems to account for the confusion of positions in early Cahiers. At the same time, a certain ideological profile can be discerned in the confusion, a certain privileging of those films which focused [on] the themes of solitude, aimlessness, introspection, aggression and failure..." (Caughie 38). Caughie explains that it is confusing as to where the basis of criticism is actually coming from. He points out that those specific films that relate especially to the popular theme of the time, violence and aggression, will receive better reviews than those that would focus on political or social concerns. This brings up the fact that reviews may be bias and there are probably films that are overlooked as being great pieces of cinematic art because they did not follow the popular theme.
It is not only the themes of the films that are put under the microscope when being evaluated as an auteur, the directors personal touch is also looked at very closely. Andrew Sarris believes the auteur theory "[...] claims neither the gift of prophecy nor the option of extracinematic perception. Directors, even auteurs, do not always run true to form, and the critic can never assume that a bad director will always make a bad film. No, not always, but...

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