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in Filmmaking
on Apr 19, 2007

In The Guardian, John Patterson wonders if auteurs are all they are cracked up to be.

An excerpt:

The auteur theory, I’ve finally decided, can kiss my ass. I’m done with it. It bores me. I flee in great haste from the mere mention of its name. It’s a cult of personality. It’s a marketing scheme. It’s become a misleading umbrella-term falsely uniting a diverse body of collectively created work under a single name. And it just encourages the tacky, egomaniacal film-school cult of the writer-director as lone presiding genius….

The “auteurs” are still out there, but most of them bore me. Don’t get me wrong: directors all have their moments here and there. It’s just that I can’t be bothered to wait around for them any more.

Instead, I’ve been seeking out other ways to discern great bodies of work united by a single, non-directorial figure, but not necessarily dominated by them. I think of someone like Charlie Kaufman, who is far more the auteur than the relatively characterless directors who have so far brought his scripts to life on screen. Or the German cinematographer Robby Müller, whose silvery palette unites films as diverse as Kings of the Road, Repo Man and Dead Man. Right now I’m keeping a weather eye out for anything shot by Emmanuel Lubezki, who lensed Ali, The New World and Children of Men, more than enough evidence of quasi-authorship for me.

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