Auteur Theory Essay
In class you will be assigned an Auteur director to write for your essay. (Auteur = Director as Author) An Auteur study requires that you
watch, or have seen, at least three of the director’s films. You can and certainly should write about and mention more that just three, but you
need to have seen a minimum of three to complete this essay.
You need to take (extensive) notes on the films that you watch, writing down all of the symbols, themes, parallels, film techniques,
character names, actors and all other pertinent information you’ll need in analyzing the Auteur elements. (These notes will need to be turned in with
your essay, so don’t forget to include with your essay when you turn it in.)
Don’t forget to write formally, in third person, never using the words I, my, me etc. You are required to proofread your essay and also
have someone else read it. To insure that it is read for corrections, you will need to have the person who read it include their signature on the
top of the Works Cited page or on the rough draft they read. I hate to have to require something like this on a college level, but this will also
hopefully help you start thinking about your essay earlier and complete your essay before the morning it is due. If there is a signature and there
are still a lot of grammatical errors, the signature will be an assumed forgery. Don’t lose points on this; just make sure you leave enough time to
read over what you wrote.
Rubric & Grading (15% of your grade)
Length & Formatting – 3 Points
Length: 6-8 Pages Font: Times New Roman Size: 12 Point Margins: No Bigger than 1 inch Spacing: Double Spaced
Movie titles: “Quoted”, Underlined, Bolded or Italicized Don’t forget to Number your Pages!!
Introduction/Conclusion/Title – 3 Points
As with any other college level essay, you’ll need to write an introductory paragraph, stating a specific thesis/idea of what your paper will be
about. Assume your reader knows nothing about your director or the Auteur Theory and write accordingly. (However, do not use a lot of synopsis on
your films; use it only to emphasize a point.) Wrap up your paper with a thoughtful conclusion, summing up your main ideas and impressing your reader
with an insightful ending. You’ll also need to come up with a title for your essay. Have fun with it, be clever and don’t just simply name it
your Auteurs’ name. Be unique & perhaps tie it into a theme from your essay. Benefit your paper with a catchy title and opening.
Research/Works Cited – 3 Points
You are required to cite (in bulk of your paper) AT LEAST four (4) academic sources. (Note that sites like Internet Movie Database, Wikipedia are
sources, but not academic.) You can certainly reference imdb for filmmaker information and film facts, but in the case of wiki, find the original
source to see if it would be considered academic. You really should have a lot more than four references, just make sure that your have four
more scholarly ones. Anything that is not your own words or idea needs to be properly cited. If you have a hard time analyzing, you are free to
find what others have said and use small portions in your essay (not paragraphs!). If you do this, just make sure you give them credit. You’ll
need to include a Works Cited page with all of your cited references. (This page doesn’t count as one of your 6-8 written essay pages.)
Analysis – 4 Points
You are free to explore whatever avenue of the Auteur Theory that you would like. Make this paper your own, finding an interesting theme
from your Auteur and try using a similar style in writing your paper. Numbers 1-2 below are key elements of the theory and should be explored
in detail, if you need help finding things to write on you can delve into 1-2 of the (You can also set up an appointment with me to discuss your essay)
Explore in detail your Auteurs Stylistic, Thematic and Geographic Signatures
1) Analyze the filmography of your Auteur. What styles, themes, symbols etc. show up from film to film? This should be an analysis,
not just listing certain similarities. To analyze you need to break it down and find the root of filmmaker intent. Analyze scenes,
themes, symbols, situations, camera techniques, editing, characters etc. anything that makes your Auteur an Auteur. Why does your
filmmaker use these the way they do? Do they stick to a particular genre? Are they known mostly for a certain type of film?
2) Directors Background – What makes a director an auteur, is usually based in part on their upbringing and moral development. What
from your directors past contributed to their talent as a filmmaker and their use of certain styles and themes? Give specific examples
of past experiences and how they draw from their own life in different situations.
3) What is the Auteur Theory? What are its origins? Why was the theory put into practice and by whom? Write as if the reader knows
nothing about the Theory and its relevance.
4) What things make your Auteurs’ work distinct and relevant? (Look at technical film elements ex: Tarantino – Fractured storyline & witty
dialogue James Cameron – Use of special effects Hitchcock – Editing to manipulate audience) Has your filmmaker changed the way films are
made? Do they push the boundaries of a genre or technical elements or do they copy what others have done? What sets them apart
from other filmmakers?
5) How does your Auteur view society? What cultural elements do they often address in their films? Do their films affect how society
views political or controversial issues? Who are their films made for? Are their films personal stories, strictly to entertain or do they
have more of a social relevance?
6) Does your Auteur make films in a particular order? Do later films enhance their earlier ones, not just in sequels? In other words, is
there a method to their madness? (Ex: Spielberg makes two blockbuster type films and then one personal drama with less box office appeal)
7) Is the Auteur Theory relevant today? I’m sure many of you had never heard of this theory prior to learning about it in class. Is the
theory important to film criticism or has it run its course? What can we learn about film theory based on viewing a director as
Preparation – 2 Points
Turn in notes with essay – 1 Point Proofread and signature – 1 Point Bonus Point – Go to SLCC Writing Center for help (W.C. signed slip required)