I’ve always said to people that auteurism is nice, but it’s hypothetical, and gradually you learn how much or how little influence different directors had.
In a world now governed strictly on a essential criteria, art is a platform in which the audience has a chance to analyze and judge. When thinking of a piece of art, a majority of it’s understanding comes from none other than the artist themselves. This is where Andrew Sarris shines his light, unfolding his movement, to what he called Auteurism, and what is widely known as the Auteur theory.
My argument challenges not the theory but the broadness of its concept and meaning of its title. I decided after looking over the same famous “Auteurs” listed by professional film analysts, that I would, as a captivated member of the audience, express my perspective on a director I find is an auteur; however, isn’t very much known, and could be fairly easy to contradicted. My autuer is Stephen Chbosky.
Famous for his novel and movie, The Perks of being A Wallflower, Chbosky earns the title of an Auteur because his work of art captured through both filmmaking and literature enraptured the world by the millions. Auteurism, said Sarris,
“Considers the film director not merely a mechanical recorder of reality, but rather a legitimate artist whose personal vision battles institutional limitations imposed by industrial modes of film production”
And that, my reader, is exactly what Chbosky did. He may not have directed a lot movies, or any popular ones at that, besides “The Perks”, but his imminent vision of producing a piece of his own literal art, onto a visual depiction incorporates an understanding of personal input into the motion picture. Chbosky handles the technical portion of his production as any other director will and because of this adds his own style by involving a pattern to his film’s progression. The balance of both an extremely emotional scene and a following scene filled with laughter. This, as Chbosky says, helps the audience understand that he isn’t trying to fill them with angst, but render them silent for a moment to introduce a feeling of realism. And that he does. However the defining characteristic of his auteurism would stand out to be his interior meaning. The movie itself, swoons in endless intentional emotions that are meant for the audience. Chbosky admitted that his pursuit in making the “perfect” adaption to his novel was a tough road, because he wanted to allow a natural atmosphere to grow within his characters and the storyline. The reason for this is because Chbosky wanted authenticity to emerge from his work, in order to make the audience understand a genuine message from himself to the viewer. In his movie, he wanted to make the viewer not feel alone. He wanted to assure any viewer, that problems happen, and that they are not alone in dealing with “their problem”.
In the end, isn’t that why his only directed film payed the story a title of “Top Teenage Films” even till this day as it still allows audiences to fall in love with it. A first time movie director, being titled an Auteur? Yes, I do believe that regardless of his status, this movie, qualifies him, if even for a second, as an auteur. But now let’s delve into a famous director, most known for his award-winning movies and adaption-based films, Peter Jackson.
Peter Jackson directed several unbelievable movies that also took the world by surprise. The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, King Kong, you name it, this fellow has clearly a list of amazing movies to clear his name. However, many regard his talents as one of a metteur-en-scene. This can proven because, as brilliant as Jackson is with the technical productions of his pieces, Jackson captures and illustrates no deeper foundation to any of his films. Mainly because he adapts already-written-novels by someone else and just produces an amazing visual depiction. He doesn’t include a sense of personal style and interior meaning to any of his works. And thus, as famous as he is, Jackson is titled a metter-en-scene.
So, if we were to compare and contrast these two directors. One being a famously brilliant technical producer, filming award-winning films, yet still being titled a Metteur-En-Scene, and one who isn’t much known for his filmmaking, but raises the level of visual authentic art by captivating and creating an internal meaning, possibly being called an Auteur, then would we say it is ‘just’ to use the auteur theory to genuinely identify directors?