Re: RARA-AVIS: Pauline Kael and Pancake

Date: 02 Oct 2003

<< What does
 "auteur" mean? >>

Auteur means author in French. The term got applied to film when the critics associated with the post-war French film journal Cahiers du cinema decided that Hollywood movies should be appreciated as art. They had a Romantic understanding of art as the self-expression of an artist. Who is the artist who makes a commercial movie? The producer? The screenwriter? The star? The cinematographer? These critics decided that the author (or auteur) of a movie was its director. So now you have discussions of the work of Hitchcock, Howard Hawkes, Billy Wilder. The theory has been widely influential, which may be why it seems so obvious to people today, although it has had its critics (Kael was one) and still seems quite debatable to me.


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