It’s a busy time right now so I’ll keep this short. I’ve been reading many research papers which make the unquestioning assumption that the director of a film is its sole author. Many appear to have confused the director’s role with that of the producer, supervising pre-production, story and screenplay development, as well as that of the editor.
Apart from demonstrating some rather sloppy research and a misunderstanding of long-standing practices, and the division of labour in most film industries. This reveals a profound misreading of Truffaut’s original thesis, whose intention was to provoke debate over the nature of authorship in film making. Truffaut himself acknowledged collaborative nature of the art-form, but it appears that Sarris’ (stamp-collector style) approach in listing how a film maker might qualify as an auteur has rather muddied the waters for the less thoroughgoing film students. Sadly this rather misses the point that one of the great strengths of film making as an art form, is that beauty, and coherent systems of signification emerge from the combined inspirations and tensions of multiple expertises.
In most productions directors clearly contribute to the interpretation of story, character and scenario, but they are primarily concerned with the performances of actors, and collaborate with the other departmental chiefs involved at the production phase, authorship is really a by-product of this