The auteur

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According to the auteur theory of filmmaking, the director is seen as the principal developer of the visual elements of a film. The method, which put the director in charge of the craft of cinematography, was first put forth in France in the late 1940s as a branch of the cinematic arguments advanced by André Bazin and Alexandre Astruc. 203 Clarke But in 1951, a Brazilian publication called Cahiers du cinéma introduced the idea of the "auteur." According to the proponents of the Auteur theory, the power of controlling and creating the audio and visual elements in a film makes the director an author authority in any given movie. It is the elements of the cinematography such as camera positioning, lighting, blocking and timing and length of the scene that carries the message in a film other than the plot line. Scholars that support the notion have unanimously agreed to the fact that most of the movies that have exhibited cinematic success bear the personal appeal of the director. (Clarke 203). Various directors have been known for their Auteur nature in most of their film as the theory continues to spark a wave of arguments globally. This paper, therefore, will highlight some of the movies that applied Auteur in their production and how their relationship with the concept of Auteur has influenced the audience over time. Some directors that are worth mentioning in the discussion concerning Auteur include Scorsese, Hitchcock, Lynch, and Kubrick as their artistic abilities are so pronounced on the screen. It will, therefore, be sensible enough to look at some of the films directed by these great people and see how they relate to Auteur.

Martin Scorsese’s Films and Auteur Theory

Martin Scorsese has directed a host of movies that cannot all be listed here due to time constraints. This article will focus on some of his films that have exhibited perfect instances of Auteur theory. The first movie is Raging Bull 1980, from the onset of the movie; one was able to love it. Despite being produced in white and black state the choice of the characters and the background music in the video is a perfect match that carries away the viewers’ attention completely (Dempsey 37). Scorsese comes out as a genius in this work as he makes a clear combination of picture motion and light balance throughout the movie. The slow-motion shots of the boxer De Niro jumping around the ring create a tense environment that compels the mind and feelings of the audience from the beginning of the video. Furthermore, there is a somber music by Pietro Mascagni in the background is a special form of creativity by Scorsese which makes the viewer take a sit and take a keen notice of the play screen. (Clarke 203) The film brings out a story of self –destructive person as De Niro plays a real-life boxer in the name Jake La Motta. (Dempsey 37) At this moment Scorsese pulls up a moment of surprise as Jake La Motta, a perfect man in the ring get flawed by his opponent despite his paranoid, racial and violent nature. The constant alteration of the visual language of the film depending on the protagonist’s reasoning makes a significant effect on the audience eyes and emotional state. Irrespective of the storyline, the visual presentation of the film just makes it beautiful. Scorsese takes over the control of the movies making him appear as the sole creator of the movie as suggested by the Auteur Theory.

Among all the great movies directed by Scorsese in his entire career, there is this particular one that is highly memorable. Goodfellas (1990) gives a detailed account of memories and life a famous gangster Henry Hill who changes to become an informer for the law enforcement department (Clarke 203). The visual construction of Goodfellas not only glamorizes but also vilifies the lives of people aged between 60 and 80 years and still belongs to organized crime gangs. The experience of the protagonist as he tells it indicates that there is undoubtedly something enthralling about this lifestyle (Dempsey 37). According to the film, there was always an opportunity for horrific, bloody violence or in some cases being arrested and taken to prison. The careful selection of the events by the director of the movies makes it thrilling especially at the point where Henry walks his date through the back of an ever-busy New York nightclub. (Dempsey 37) Most interesting is the quick cutting and zooming of camerawork that captures Henry traffic cocaine and hiding it from police. Scorsese takes charge of clear picture motions in the film and perfectly mixing the coloration and light balance of the images. Whoever watches this work will never lose the desire to watch it again and again based on the perfect work of the director. (Sáez-González 225) The sounds in the background and the choice of music make it even better for the ears of the viewers. One could easily confuse Scorsese to be the author of the item considering that his artistic touch on the film especially the coordination of the cinematography and audio element in the entire video.

The Auteur Theory aspects are also clearly exhibited in another work directed by Scorsese titled  Hugo (2011). One point of that has made Scorsese movies to remain sensational over a thus extended period is his tendency to retain the same editor and cinematographers over the entire career. Like any other exemplary. Scorsese films Hugo is a force to reckon with in the 21st century. The introduction of modernism in the movie gives a new sense of excellent. The director carefully chooses the protagonist Hugo finds a clockwork man through whom he sees an old man Georges Melies while he is being chased around a Paris train station. Georges Melies is one of the most respected figures in the cinema industry and the pioneer of the use of special effects in films. A fascinating aspect of this movie is the introduction of three dimensional (3D) effects (Sáez-González 225). The new technology makes the viewer see various angles of the images in a movie thus increasing the details of the objects (Newland 20). Image positioning and angulation in the film is perfect indication high-level positioning and tilting of the camera in the production process. The settings of the scenes are suitable for young viewers, and one may not recognize that Scorsese is doing this kind of work for the first time to fit children audience (Sáez-González 225). Apart from image quality and clear light distribution in the film, the director also makes the perfect choice of the characters and sound effects throughout the video. The cinema work done in this piece of art leaves a long-lasting impact on the mind of its viewer's something that Scorsese has managed to sustain in all his actions over decades (Newland 20). One will be right to assert that Scorsese is a master in this field as suggested by the quality of imaging and coordinated motions, lighting, and coloration in most of the movies he has directed. He changes the meaning of a story and makes all of them interesting to watch irrespective of the nature of the story (Newland 20). Scorsese is, therefore, an accurate reflection of the Auteur concept in the filmmaking industry.

Shutter Island (2010) is another film that has successfully displayed Auteur ability of Scorsese. Although Scorsese is not well known for horror movies, it is thrilling to find out that he puts an exemplary performance in this film. It was a piece that could compete in the Oscar award but still made a significant impact in the cinema industry (Sáez-González 225). In fact, scholars have ranked it among the best examples of the use Auteur theory in films. Apart from the video effects, the director also employs other stylistic devices to improve the quality of the storyline and capture viewers’ attention throughout the work. A ghost film with a twisted end is full of suspense, and most of the issues are kept hidden with very minimal hints of what is going to happen in the next scene (Sáez-González 225). This technique makes the audience more anxious concerning the events in the movie. As usual, it is clear from the transition of the scenes that the editor did his work well. The picture motions have been well integrated to explore the mood and the setting of the play.

Scorsese choice of the environment does not only give the picture t value throughout the film but also help in theme development (Sáez-González 225). He admits in an interview by Jon Favreau that he does not always bother about the plot of the story as he believes in creativity through the camera and production process. In the figure below, it is evident that the ghost in the movie is not just an issue to joke within the island. It is a precise combination of formal setting and the casual aspects on the isle (Newland 20). Additionally, the choice of classical music in the movie creates and sustains a mood of increasing dread throughout the film. Apparently, the director will take full credit for the creation of horror in the movie from the author an aspect that is stressed by Auteur theory. The background of the images in the film also creates tension as depicted in this picture. A forest is a concealed place full of surprises, and this prepares the audience for the horrible scenes ahead (Newland 20). Moreover, the blood on the lady’s face is another psychological aspect of the film that depicts danger and risks in the setting of the movie. The director had also succeeded in moving the emotions of his viewers. The brightness of the images and the stage enhances the quality of the video making them more clear and long-lasting. The director takes full credit for the success of this film as suggested by the Auteur Theory (Newland 20).


The other film directed by Martin Scorsese is Casino (1995). He uses the characters Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone to expose the vices happening in the society. In his work depict both Sam (De Niro) and Nicky (Pesci) as individuals driven by fame, dames, and greed for money without considering the social impact of their actions in the citizens (Bozheyeva and Nogerbek 804). They traffic cocaine and at the same time use leading to serious addiction problem among the characters. These vices finally destroy Nicky’s life when his public outbursts due to the influence of cocaine that leads to his murder.

The director’s effect on the film Casino is shown in the visual and audio aspects. Scorsese uses a soundtrack that matches perfectly with the optical elements on the screen throughout the movie (Bozheyeva and Nogerbek 804). The choice of colors in the film makes the images more beautiful and keeps the audience glued to the screen for hours. There is a perfect use of cinematography in the film which is associated with the vast experience of the director in this field.


The above image is an evidence of what happens under the darkness at night in the society. The choice of the evening setting by the director is highly symbolic and adds to the visual effects. He uses the light effects to conceal the actual impact of the night (Bozheyeva and Nogerbek 804). The protagonist runs illegal business hidden behind the legitimate e and registered venture of the casino. Sam (De Niro) and Nicky (Pesci) takes advantage of the activities taking place within the casino to traffic the drugs. The director is fully accredited for the success of the film (Hudson 159). The choice of the character, timing of various scenes is made carefully. He has integrated the visual and audio aspects which have improved the quality of the video in the film. The movie is a perfect example of Auteur Theory in filmmaking in the modern film.

Finally, the article takes a look at the film Taxi Driver (1976) which is another superb work Martin Scorsese in shaping the nature of a movie(Hudson 159). The director showed a high level of maturity in generating the images in the play. Focusing on the post-Vietnam War effects, Martin Scorsese understood the potential emotional impact of the young people watching the moving while trying to recover from the experience of the war (Bozheyeva and Nogerbek 804). Here the director uses the character Travis Bickle to explore the post-war challenges as he takes on the job of the taxi driver to make ends meet as he struggles to come back standard citizen life(Hudson 159). The protagonist is however sexually frustrated and finds himself in a state of moral confusion. He is always haunted by his past which includes the killing a local politician and a small-time pimp of 12 years named Iris. However, he takes charge of his life and shades of the emotional force of Iris.

The plot of the play is fascinating but is not sufficient to make the film highly engaging. The director, however, uses the jazz music throughout the movie giving it an exciting mood (Hudson 159). The imaging of the video is also well done to depict various situations in the film. Jazz music mimics the activities going through the protagonist's mind as he admits that sometimes even if there is a plan in place, it is imperative to take a random note and shake of things up (Hudson 159). The Taxi Driver has been suggested to be the film that established the ever living force of the cinematic nature of Martin Scorsese which has finally been passed over to rest of his movies (Bozheyeva and Nogerbek 804). The choice of setting and costumes for the character shows the distracting effect of the war in the society. The body movement of the citizens depicts people who have lost trust in their government and are frustrated with their area of residence. New York has had reached the peak of being disgusting and unsafe to live in anymore based on its images portrayed on the screen. The director made the film look incredible and watchable by a variety of audience. The Taxi Driver therefore also qualifies to join the long list of Martin Scorsese films that are considered to display the aspects of Auteur Theory (Bozheyeva and Nogerbek 804). Despite the excellent plot line, everyone will possibly agree that choice of music for the background and set by the director played a vital role in making the movie a complete product. Moreover, the cinematography elements employed in the entire film is highly significant in shaping the quality of the cinema. It is advisable to watch this moving, and you will get not only entertained from the onset but also receive a host of knowledge at the end of the viewing session.


From the above analysis of Martin Scorsese films, it clear that the proponents of the Auteur Theory have a point to put across in the filmmaking techniques. One may question the notion of accreting the director of a movie with author title despite just modifying what has already been created by another person. Such criticisms are highly valued as it explicit that the writer of the story plays a significant role in imagination. However, it is imperative to note that no matter how original the plot line may appear, it takes a perfect setting, characterization and audiovisual aspects to make a good film. All these elements are chosen by the director of the movie thus making him a crucial player in filmmaking process. From the various film by Martin Scorsese highlighted in the above analysis, it is clear that cinematic elements make the film exciting and memory and also contributes in the creation of a real picture of the events taking place in a story. However, despite all the contributions of the director of a film, other stakeholders in the filmmaking industry deserve credit for the quality of the products. It goes without mentioning that the writer of the story is the foundation of a movie and without them, there is no film. Therefore they deserve complement from the viewers. Secondly, the editors and cinematographers also play a crucial role in the selection of images and camera photo work respectively to facilitate the success of a film. The fact that Auteur Theory ignores these parties is unfair and forms the main undoing of this philosophy.


Works cited

Bozheyeva, Aibarsha Muratbekovna, and Baubek Bauyrzhanuly Nogerbek. "Director&Rsquo'S Methods in the Kazakhstan Auteur Documentary Filmmaking." American Journal of Applied Sciences 13.6 (2016): 804-813. Web.

Clarke, Graham. "Failures Of The ‘Moral Defence’ In The Films Shutter Island, Inception And Memento: Narcissism Or Schizoid Personality Disorder?." The International Journal of Psychoanalysis 93.1 (2011): 203-218. Web.

Dempsey, Michael. "Taxi Driver Martin Scorsese Michael Phillips Julia Phillips Tony Bill." Film Quarterly 29.4 (1976): 37-41. Web.

Hudson, Andrew Sinclair. "Brief And Process-Oriented Filmmaking, Is It Possible? Rethinking Works On Native Filmmaking With And In An Experimental Classroom." American Anthropologist118.1 (2016): 159-161. Web.

Newland, Christina Marie. "Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull, Italian American Masculinity, And The American Dream." Film Matters 4.1 (2013): 20-25. Web.

Sáez-González, Jesús Miguel. "Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese)." Vivat Academia 0.110 (2010): 225. Web.

April 06, 2023

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