Auteur Theory By Stacey Hall The term auteur originates from France which translates as author, which means that a director’s film reflects their creative vision. The Auteur theory was introduced in the 1950’s by French film directors like Francois Truffaut who advocated a focus on the contribution directors made on the style and form of film, he quoted... “A true film auteur is someone who brings something genuinely personal to his subject instead of producing a tasteful, accurate but lifeless rendering of the original material” An auteur is a film maker whose style and practise is distinctive which creates a signature auteur status for them. It is also a film maker who has a personal, signature style and keeps creative control over his or her work. Making any film or in this case a music video the director is the auteur but it would not be possible for them to create the whole production on their own, instead they collaborate with others and team up with; writer, cinematographer and actors but the director is still an auteur in a sense as they control everyone and everything in the production.
Genre and Auteur Theory The auteur theory is different to the genre theory as auteur draws our attention towards what is different between film, rather than what is similar. The table below is from page 7 of the hand out given to me. Many media texts are meant to be consider as a product of individuals creativity and many are simply ‘products’ for instants, Tim Burtons Nightmare before Christmas is an auteur as you recognise his individual style of gothic tones where as Heat magazine writer is not an auteur as it is a generic product.
Chris Cunningham Chris Cunningham is a British music video film director and video artist. Chris has worked on many projects and has produced; music video’s, video art, short films, commercials, music production, photography, and a novel. Cunningham is known for his warped style and disturbing imagery, he has worked and produced music videos for the likes of; Aphex Twins, Bjork, Placebo and Madonna. He Won multiple awards, including break through video at the MTV awards for his video ‘All in love.’ As well as producing music video he has also produced commercials for; Gucci, Play station and orange.
After watching several music videos and also commercials that Chris Cunningham has directed I believe that I can establish his distinctive auteur signature style which is;
Fast paced editing and sharp cuts are used in nearly all of his videos he has produced, this disorientates the audience as it creates; confusion, mystification and a non-linear narrative.
It reflects the horror genre by using gothic imagery such as; black crows.
Lots of canted camera angles are used and nearly all the camera work seem to be
hand held to create more dramatic, dizzying movement to illustrate the aggression in the video’s maybe?
All of his video’s I certainly believe are entropic, as he uses strange, unrealistic objects, sequences and people. The CGI editing used to morph people into horror characters creates entropy as this is not typical of a mainstream music video such as; creepy children.
Aphex Twins- Come to Daddy In class we altogether analysed Chris Cunningham’s music video for the Aphex Twins, this video is a great example of Cunningham’s auteur signatures. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Az_7U0-cK0 This music video is a perfect example of Cunningham's signature auteur; -There is fast pace editing to reflect and illustrate the action and also to build tension and confuse and create excitement for the audience.
This video seems to be inspired by
the horror genre as there are several Elements to the video which reflect it such as; creepy children, the evil spirit, the gaunt creature and also the settings are; grungy, derelict, gloomy because of the low light and shadows created.
- Canted camera angles are used which I have print screed an example of above, the shot is rotated to it’s side, this creates confusion for the audience but it also looks; creative and arty as Cunningham has used editing software to create a TV image with bad signal which mesmerises the audience. As well as canted camera angles Cunningham uses nearly all hand held camera work as this creates the illusion of; chaos, thrill and excitement. -This particular video by Cunningham is incredibly entropic as it contains main unsuspecting imagery in a music video. What makes this video so entropic is it contains main shocking Elements which include; an old lady, evil spirit on the TV who then with special effects make up comes out of the TV and transforms in a gaunt creature and finally children are represented as demon which is scary but instead of just being scary child Cunningham has morphed everyone to look like the Aphex Twins.
Madonna- Frozen by Chris Cunningham http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS088Opj9o0&ob=av2e As I am investigating auteur’s I have decided to look at ‘Frozen’ music video to see if there are any similarities to Come to daddy which suggests that Chris Cunningham is an auteur of music videos as he will have signature things which makes him recognisable. - The most distinctive auteur signature of Cunningham is the horror genre inspiration. Horror is obvious a big influence on him as both Frozen and Come to daddy have horror tones to them. This video particularly represents this by using; Madonna becoming ravens, dark imagery is shown, the lighting is very dark but also calming in a sense. Finally the way Madonna is dressed is rather gothic as you can see she is wearing black floating garments.
The camera angles are not completely unusual, unlike Come to daddy which is very
obvious that hand held canted camera work had been used in this video but there seem that steady camera work maybe on a tripod has been used to create either very; high, low, long close up shots.
The editing is illustrated by the beats and rhythm of the song, so when the song sped
up so did the video which creates, tension and excitement.
Like Come to daddy this music videois very entropic and this could be a auteur
signature from Cunningham. What makes Frozen entropic is the setting is unusual for a music video as Madonna seems to be in a disserted desert which is not glamorous which Madonna is famous for being. The special effects when Madonna turns into ravens and a dog are mesmerising and is once again a signature auteur of Cunningham.
Samuel Bayer Samuel Bayer is a well respected American director of music videos but also over the past 15 years he has also produced commercials for Nike, directed films such as 2010’s Nightmare on Elm street and short video’s . Bayers has worked alongside some of the best, legendry music artists and has produced memorable music videos. His clients include;
The Rolling Stones
He has won several awards over his career and swept the floor at MTV’s music awards in 2007 with Greenday’s record ‘Boulevard of broken dreams which he collected 7 moon awards for, including; best rock music video.
After watching several music videos and also commercials that Samuel Bayer has directed I believe that I can establish his distinctive auteur signature style which is; The editing pace is in sync with the beat of the music, so when the music is slow less cuts and longer shots are used but when the beat becomes increased so do the shots and cuts. This mimicking editing illustrates the music which creates more emotions such as; excitement, tension and connection. Reflects the gothic horror genre as dark imagery and the look of the videos are quite depressing. Live performances from the artist and focus on them with close up shots. The shots are always moving, either panning, tracking or slight zooming in or out. By doing this it creates energy as if each shot was stationary it would be bland and boring. Even though the shots are always moving he uses a tripod and either manually with the camera zoom in or out or in the editing suite he does this with advanced technology. His videos are certainly entropic as he mixes up stereotypes and uses usual imagery but what is redundant is the locations he chooses to film them in e.g. school hall.
Smells like teen spirit- Nirvana http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTWKbfoikeg&ob=av3e When talking about auteur it means if that the director has signature techniques used in his work. To investigate if Samuel Bayers is an auteur I have decided to look and analyse two of his music video’s; Smells like teen spirit and Disposable teens. Smells like teen spirit was his first ever music video he directed, it will be interesting if this music video has a similar style to his more contemporary videos. - The editing of this video is illustrative to the music as the cuts are in sync with the beat of the music. The beginning of the song is very slow paced and drab so the editing reflects this, long takes are used to emphasise the depressing tone to the music. When the chorus kicks in the editing becomes increased, more shots are used which creates a; fun, energetic vibe which is illustrated by the extras moshing. No shot is stationery through out this video each are either; panning tracking or zooming in or out. Slight canted camera angles are used when the music becomes more aggressive this creates abstract shots which are dissertating.
The mise en scene in this music video is reflective of the horror/ gothic genre as it is dark, murky and grungy. The lighting has a orange tint to it and is spotlighted on Kurt Cobain who is the lead singer, this makes the artist stand out from the merged crowd. Smoke is used which obscures frames at times, both the lighting and smoke combined create confusing effects in the frames e.g. the close up of Cobain (bottom right).
This music video is entropic as certain stereotypes have been broken in this video. In the screen prints below I have focused on the cheerleaders. The set up of this video is at a school which Nirvana are performing at so cheerleaders are present to energises the crowd. In this case the cheerleaders are not your stereotypical American sweet heat, instead they are; ‘ugly,’ aggressive, tattooed and muscular. The extras who are destroying the instruments was entropic for the time the video was produced
(1991) and has influenced other rock bands to do the something similar.
The redundancy aspect of
this music video is the location in which it is set in. nirvana are performing at a school which is slightly boring but how the mise en scene is created makes it seem that it is set at a concert, the basket ball hoop in the background tells me that it is set in a school hall.
Disposable teens-Marilyn Mason http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKkiCFOE-Ic&ob=av3e As I am investigating auteur’s I have decided to look at ‘Disposable teens’music video to see if there are any similarities to Smells like teen spirit which suggests that Samuel Bayer is an auteur of music videos as he will have signature things which makes him recognisable. - The first similarity to Smells like teen spirit is the pace of editing, I mentioned that I found that Bayers tended to pace the edits to the beat of the music this is true for both music videos I have watched. Disposable is a mental rock song which tends to have several beats merged in the dong but Bayers focuses on singular beats e.g. A drum note. The edits in Disposable are not as fast a Smells like teen spirit but I would argue that there are more shots in this video as there is more characters being portrayed e.g. The Pope, A human piranha ect...
-The gothic/ horror genre is definitely reflected in this music video both by the mise en scene and the artist himself. This include; spotlight and strobe lighting, misty smoke, religious imagery, blood, animal dissection and the colour black. -In both videos there are liveperformances from the artist which is redundant but in this video Marilyn Mason takes on different characters in each performance which makes itmore entropic than Kurt Cobain’s performance. In both videos they perform in front of what seems to be fans but by the end of the videos they become a riot which in Disposable is exaggerated as body/ police guards are geared up with protectors and batons.
The shots in this video have subtle movement but not as much as Smells like teen spirit, the camera once
again either; pans, tracks, zooms in or out. The camera movement seems to kick in the chorus section as this is the most dramatic tone to the song as it is moshery, this is reflected in slight hand held camera work.