Is One Person Reliable For a Film – Auteur Lecture Response

During this lecture we recieved an interesting quote from Stanley Kubrick. “One man writes a novel, one man writes a symphony. It is essential for one man to make a film.” This question both bothered and intrigued me. How (with such a huge cast and crew) can a film be the result of one mans work? Why does the idea of the auteur rest on on persons shoulders? Why is this one person credited for multiple people’s work.

This seems to be my over all issue with the auteur theory, the idea that one person who shows technical competence, a personal signature and interior meanings could possibly seem like the holy grail of the film. Most commonly the director is seen as the auteur as he is the voice of the film, he is the person who keeps everything in order, however that does not nessasarily mean that he is in complete creative control.

However I do see the relevance of the auteur theory, I do see directors that do show a signature or identity. However this commonly also due to the team the director works with. For example Tim Burton is seen as an auteur, he uses the same aesthetic style of dark dreary worlds, bright colours and warped mise en scene. He also uses similar narratives and charecter types, discovery of the identity and being an outsider is the most common theme featured in Edward Scissorhands (1990), The nightmare before Christmas (1993) and Dark shadows (2012) among others. Burton also plays on the fake nature of suburbia in Edward Scissorhands (1990) and Beetlejuice (1988). However it has to be said the Burton also commonly works with the same cast and crew. Most obviously the composer Danny Elfman and the actors Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter and Christopher Lee. However surely this collaboration impacts the film making process as there are also the cinematographers and writers should be considered.

The auteur is almost seen as a brand to be decod by the audience, it is partly surrounded by the audiences view of the auteur therefore the audience is in part or even mostly responsible. In many ways it is true that the audience itself makes the meaning as they are there to view, judge and understand the piece. If none of these occur then the piece has not succeeded.

Over all I feel as though the auteur theory is a tricky one to use. Mainly due to the fact a film relies much on collaboration therefore many opinions are involved in the making. I can’t see how the film can be regarded as one mans work in this case. However I do believe that the auteur is a branding mechanism to attract a familiar audience or fan base to the film.


Beetlejuice (1988) Directed by Tim Burton [Film] USA: Warner Bros.

Dark Shadows (2012) Dicted by Tim Burton [Film] USA: Warner Bros.

Edward Scissorhands (1991) Directed by Tim Burton [Film] USA: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

The nightmare before Christmas (1993) Directed by Henry Selick [Film] USA: Buena Vista Pictures


Modern Vinyl (2015) ‘Edward Scissorhands’ soundtrack being reissued. Available at: (Accessed: 27 October 2015)

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