Sunday, 4 March 2012

Harvard Reference Grid and Essay Introduction

In response to the context of practice essay title 'Is the tradition of the director as Auteur in film-making coming to an end. Is there room for individual style within modern film making?' I produced a harvard reference grid documenting ten different sources. Through my research, I found a clear divide in the idea of the director being a creative individual, and also the counterargument that there is always a collaborative force responsible for a film's production. I began my research by visiting the college library, and finding the book 'Film Authorship: Auteurs and Other Myths.' This led me on to other sources by visiting the bibliography. I conducted further research using google scholar, which I found to be a very useful tool. Not only does the search engine find book results that fit your search, but also highlights sections where the key words are mentioned. This saves a great deal of time and helps you efficiently pin down relevant sources. Another useful tools was the website 'Amazon.' Some of the book results allowed you to preview certain sections. Sometimes these sections of the book contained theories relevant to the title, meaning I could locate sources without having to spend money purchasing the books. On top of this, the Amazon search engine also logs your previous searches and suggests other books which may appeal to you. This again made by search for sources much easier. On top of tradition research in the Library, by embracing the information network that is the internet, the research process was much less daunting:

Harvard Reference
Key Ideas
Aspect of the essay this could be used to support
Bordwell, D. Staiger, J. Thompson, K. (1988) The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960 London: Routledge.
Staiger “We must also remember that film is most frequently produced collaboratively. Any theory of authorship must accommodate, or at least account for, these facts of production.”
Arguments for the tradition of the auteur coming to an end.
Gunning, T. (1994) D.W Griffith and the Origins of American Narrative Film: The Early Years at Biography University of Illinois Press.
Tom Gunning “Authorship is not a concept that we can assign as easily as our critical practices today suggest.” “the concept of the director as a  unifying force was not  a factor.” (films were controlled by the camera opperater).
Introduction: How the tradition came about. Also maybe arguing against. The auteur can be distinguished, even amongst a collaborative force.
Sellors, C. P. (2010) Film Authorship: Auteurs and Other Myths London: Wallflower.
“A camera operator who simply lights, lights frames and shoots as told, and follows the industry’s best practice without question of reflection on the specific film, will not have contributed to a films utterance, although her or his contribution may to be central to representing the films utterance well. A sound recordist who produces a recording technique because she feels it will add to the film’s meaning will have participated in the cooperative activity of developing the films meaning.
Argument is in the middle. Acknowledges importance of collaborative forces, but also distinguishes the auteur approach, which is to consider the films meaning on a deeper level. It does also argue however, that not only one individual has to fill the role of the auteur, but other members of the cast and crew can consider the film’s and add to it.
Lewis, J. (1999) The New American Cinema United States: Duke University Press.
Auteurs in this sense fill in the gaps of understanding and misunderstanding. While David Lynch can proudly muse about how his films (Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart), “I don’t know what a lot of things mean,” audiences, faced with the quirky opactities of the films, can both bon and transcend in the name of the auteur Lynch. To view a film as the product of an auteur means to read it or respond to it as an expressive organization that precedes and forecloses the historical fragmentations and subjective distortions that can take over the reception of even the most classically coded movie.”
Lynch is still making films and is still viewed as an auteur today. When we are aware that a film is the product of an auteur, we instantly view it as one individual’s expressive piece of art. This means that any historical inaccuracies are over shadowed by the tradition of the auteur. In this sense, one could argue the tradition is still alive.
Sellors, C. P. (2010) Film Authorship: Auteurs and Other Myths London: Wallflower.
“It is not unreasonable to think that the success of the post 1913 films that Griffith directed owed a great deal to the particular group of people he collaborated with. Griffith certainly is an author of the films he directed, but not solely.”
Again, recognizing the collaborative force behind films. The credit cannot all be given to one person.
Collins, C. Radner H.  Collins A. P. (1993) Film Theory Goes to the Movies Great Britain: Routledge.
“In their theory of films, then, the French remind us even today that properly speaking the author is not one who employs a completed language system but stands as the function that reaches back to the silence before language and draws out in birth pangs an expression shapes to feeling and thought.”
Argument against the tradition dying. French cinema still recognizes the auteur.
Spoto, D. (1992) The Art of Alfred Hitchcock: Fifty Years of his Motion Pictures, second edition New York: Anchor Books.
Hitchcock: “Film directors live with their pictures while they are being made. They are babies just as much as an author’s novel is the offspring of his imagination. And that seems to make it all the more certain that when moving pictures are really artistic they will be created entirely by one man.”
Hitchcock seems to believe that one man can take credit for an entire film if it is artistic and from their own imagination, despite the collaborative force.

Rausch, A. J. (2010) The Films of Martin Scorsese And Robert De Niro Plymouth: Scarecrow Press, Inc.
David Walker, film journalist: Their films embraced a cinematic truth, which was desirable in cinema at the time, as a result of the Vietnam war. They were very gritty and hard-hitting. What was effective about the duo was that they worked as both individuals and collaborators. The point is also raised that collaboration is essential. Both De Niro and Scorsese were the key to each other’s success.
The idea of collaboration where the key people involved embody the tradition of the auteur. Can the idea  of the auteur describe a collaborative group? If so, perhaps even with modern day production truths, creative stances can be taken.
Kassabian, A. (2001) Hearing Film: Tracking Identifications in Contemporary Hollywood Film Music Great Britain: Routledge.
‘Music draws filmgoers into a film’s world, measure by measure. It is, I will argue, at least as significant as the visual and narrative components that have dominated film studies.’
Refn’s use of ‘Oh My Love’ in drive as a stylistic decision. Auteur approach.
Grant, B. K. (2008) Auteurs and Authorship: A Film Reader United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishing.
‘The concept of authorship has been seized upon by the culture industry as a marketing tool. Seeping into common consciousness and discourse as a way of understanding popular art, auteurism has had enormous influence on culture as well as criticism.’
Could be seen as positive as auteurism influences culture. Could also imply auteurism has been hyped by the industry to create a false sense of fascination around Hollywood film. 
Stam, R. Miller T. (2000) Film and Theory: An Anthology Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
The auteur movement began in postwar France. It had a huge impact on French cinema and directors were beginning to compare their work to painters and writers.
The start of the movements. The attitude of film being viewed as the ‘seventh art.’

Some of the research was conducted over the process of actually drafting the essay itsef. For example, the source which highlights the importance of music in film was found during my analysis of the film 'Drive.' This meant some of my earlier sources guided my essay, wheras some helped support some of the points I tried to raise. 

The first stage of actually producing my essay was to create an opening paragraph. Based on some of the theory gathered for the reference grid, I followed a guide on 'Moodle' to help generalize on some of the key points that I planned to discuss within my analysis:

'This essay seeks to explore whether the tradition of the auteur in film is coming to an end, and whether there is room for individual style within modern filmmaking. In order to investigate the issue, this essay will focus on the tradition of the auteur itself, and also the criticism that film production requires a collaborative force, and the argument that one person cannot be solely responsible for a film's creation.'

I found the guide on Moodle helpful, as beginning an essay can seem outfacing. After writing the introduction, I felt confident about launching in to my analysis, and felt that I could refer back to the key ideas within the introduction to keep my essay on track.

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