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auteur theory


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A perspective on cinema in which the director is seen as the author of a film, which is seen as an artwork reflecting their distinctive personality, vision, point of view, and aesthetic style. This theory looks at a particular director's oeuvre, or all the films they made in their career, for evidence of similar thematic concerns, iconography, mise-en-scène, technique, and/or stylistic choices. Auteur theory originated in French film criticism in the 1950s and was seen as a way to counter the dominant opinion held at the time that films (particularly those of the Hollywood studio system) were industrially produced entertainments rather than art. Auteurism has been criticized for its romantic individualism, authorial determinism, and general disregard for sociological, economic, technological, and audience factors in film-making.

Subjects: Media studies


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