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James Franco & the Role of the Auteur

Industry News

There are many different types of directors all with different directing styles that do their job all very differently.  Some are very straightforward in the way they work, like Steven Spielberg or James Cameron, having very specific departments for the different jobs that are required in making a film, and some who like to have their hand in almost everything.

This new style that is becoming progressively more common is called being an auteur.  The term came around in the 1960s as a direct translation from the French word for author.  This is because the auteur is a director that has so much creative influence over the whole film that they are considered the “author” of the film.  Many famous auteurs include Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Woody Allen, and more modernly West Anderson and the Coen Brothers.  However, amongst all of these great names a new one is appearing proving his worth in the film industry.  James Franco has now progressed from just acting in films to writing eleven of the fifteen films he has directed.  In fact, he is now set to write and direct two different adaptation films, As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner and Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. Within the title of auteur there is still the ability be different types of auteurs.  For example, the Coen brothers who write, direct and edit all of their own films versus Woody Allen who tends to write, direct, and star in his films similar to what James Franco is doing now.

However, it is important to keep in mind the art of being a director and how directors like James Cameron are able to control all of the various departments to create a film working with so many different elements.  What are your opinions on the rise of the auteur? Is the trend increasing because of modern technology? Is it pushing out the art of collaborative filmmaking?

Written by Joseph Weiler, NFFTY Intern

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