Wednesday, 23 November 2011


What is an auteur? auteur theory: holds that a directors film reflects the director's personal creative vision.
French for author, auteurs -like artists, original work, creative control, personal film language, auteurs often start the conventions of genre, but do not follow them 
Auteurs-Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubric etc
-Technical competence of the director, directors distinguishable personality

• Expressionist lighting
• Story telling visually in silent era • Use of the subjective camera
• Dolly zoom
• Clever use of montage and cutting to create tension in spite of the production code (1939-60)

Why Hitchcock?
-Long career from early years of film industry
-Worked in Europe and America
-Innovation of film making
-expressionist lighting
-story telling, visually, in silent era
-use of the subjective camera, dolly zoom-'Hitchcock shot'
-clever use of cutting and montage to create tension
1920-when Hitchcock started, sent to Germany
Expressionism-creating emotion through tone and colour
The Lodger,1927 Hitchcocks first film
-cameo appearences of the director
-narrative is often visual rather than told through dialogue
'Theres no terror in the bang of the gun, only the anticipation of it'-Hitchcock
not concerned with realism or naturalism
murder,madness,sexual themes,suspence, relationship between order and chaos, projection of guilt and desire

The dolly zoom is an unsettling in- camera special effect that appears to undermine normal visual perception in film.
• A dolly counter zoom is also variously known as:
• Back Zoom Travelling
• Smash Zoom" or "Smash Shot" • Vertigo zoom

• The " Hitchcock zoom" or the " Vertigo effect" 


• Expressionism – form evokes emotion
• Cameo appearances of the director
• Narrative is often visual rather than told through dialogue
• Continuous of certain actors (Cary Grant, James Stewart , Tippi Hedren, Doris Day, Joan Fontaine)
• Obsessive use of the blonds

 “Blondes make the best victims.They're like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints.”

• Suspense

• Hitchcock films are not concerned with realism or naturalism
• He is interested in story telling and evoking emotional responses in his audience
• “Givethempleasurethesamepleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare” 

'Hitchcock became famous for his expert and largely unrivaled control of pace and suspense, and his films draw heavily on both fear and fantasy. The films are known for their droll humour and witticisms, and they often portray innocent people caught up in circumstances beyond their control or understanding.'
Over a career spanning more than half a century, Hitchcock fashioned for himself a distinctive and recognisable directorial style. He pioneered the use of a camera made to move in a way that mimics a person's gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. He framed shots to maximise anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative film editing. His stories frequently feature fugitives on the run from the law alongside "icy blonde" female characters. Many of Hitchcock's films have twist endings and thrilling plots featuring depictions of violence, murder, and crime, although many of the mysteries function as decoys or "MacGuffins" meant only to serve thematic elements in the film and the extremely complex psychological examinations of the characters. Hitchcock's films also borrow many themes from psychoanalysis and feature strong sexual undertones.
Colour is used in an expressionistic way
Critique of the auteur
It presents a canon of films made by ‘elites’ (many male auteurs)
It disguises the work of others (cinematographer, art director, screen writer, editor, sound technicians ...)
It offers a universal view of quality
It is a capitalist device by selling a film by virtue of it’s director

The Death of the author (Barthes, 1977, p143)
• The explanation of a work is always sought in the man or woman who produced it, as if it were always in the end, through the more or less transparent allegory of the fiction, the voice of a single· person, the author 'confiding' in us. 

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