3/10/10

One of the most Interesting things I read was Andrew Sarris’ notes on the auteur theory. Some of the key things that caught my attention were the comparisons he made between good and bad directors. After all, I agree that the only thing that distinguishes a good director from a bad director is the consecutive amount of good or bad films he or she directed. Yet, you can’t always assume that because someone USUALLY makes bad films, that every single film they’ll make will be bad or vice versa. This seems to be what  Cameron is stating as well, while still believing that the director is the author of the film. Apparently the term “auteur” has been portrayed in a negative light to the point that people almost think that not only is the director the author of the film, but also that they have their own set way of doing things. Now, I do agree that every auteur has their own style, and that’s what makes them an auteur… but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll never break away from that systematic pattern or style of doing things. I guess it’s kind of like a trademark, if it works then you keep using it. Some people never get it, and even though it might not work for the films they’re working on they’ll still keep doing the same things that usually don’t work. Now much like everything, once in a blue you’ll actually get someone who sticks to their “trademark” which usually doesn’t work, and somehow for a particular film it’ll actually work. That’s the perfect example of how a bad director will actually make a good movie.

One thing I didn’t get was the analogy about The Cherry Orchard.

I also thought it was slick when Sarris touched upon the lack of a director on One-Eyed Jacks and how the auteur theory can’t be applied to this film at all because it stresses on the values of movies based on their directors. Would the auteur theory not value this film simply because of the lack of direction? Does the lack of direction take away from any of the other aspects of the movie, which are the elements that make it what it is? I should say no, but if this theory strictly focuses on direction then I guess it probably wouldn’t be able to judge it at all…

As Sarris breaks down the first level of the auteur theory he plainly states that to be a great director, you have to at least be a good director, which seems to be common sense. If you’re not at least a good director, in other words if you don’t have the “flair for the cinema” or the “technical competence” then you basically don’t exist as a director according to the auteur theory. Then comes the second level of the theory, which is what differentiates the value of one director from another according to the personality of the director and how it distinguishes him or her from any other director. In other words, how is the director letting you know what or how he or she feels according to whats going on in the film. There needs to be some sort of consistency in the films when you watch them. The third level is not quite as clear to me, but it seems to be something deeper than just thoughts and feeling that the director is trying or even not trying to portray on the screen. Sarris describes it as sudden changes in the beat of the movie. I still don’t quite understand it fully, but I think he’s speaking more about the unconscious mind and how that has an affect on how a director directs the film at the moment.


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