Feminist and non-Western interrogations of film authorship

Authored by: Priya Jaikumar

The Routledge Companion to Cinema and Gender

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138924956
eBook ISBN: 9781315684062
Adobe ISBN: 9781317408055


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His scene has ended and he has been shot multiple times, but like Peter Sellers in the opening scene of The Party (Blake Edwards, 1968), the “author” in film theory refuses to die. Andrew Sarris, pioneer of auteur theory in the United States, noted with his tongue firmly in cheek that the predilections of auteurism as a mode of film analysis emerged most clearly in anti-auteurist criticism. By auteurists, Sarris was referring to theorists writing primarily from the 1950s through the 1970s, to trace signatures of a director’s personal vision across a range of typically mainstream and studio films neglected by the canons of film criticism. In Sarris’s words, critics of this mode of analysis (like Pauline Kael) found that auteurists

were invariably male. … They never bathed because it took time away from their viewing of old movies. They shared a preposterous passion for Jerry Lewis. They preferred trash to art. They encouraged the younger generation not to read books.

(Sarris 2003: 22)

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