Chapter

The Auteur: Are Directors Experts or Artists?

Dean Keith Simonton

in Great Flicks

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199752034
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894857 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199752034.003.0006
The Auteur: Are Directors Experts or Artists?

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According to “auteur theory,” certain filmmakers—most often directors—can be viewed as artistic creators in the same vein as notable creators in literature, music, and the visual arts. This viewpoint is juxtaposed to the contrary notion that directors are technicians who apply their accumulated expertise to each successive film. These rival points of view have contrary predictions regarding expected career trajectories. Data from film polls, movie awards, and critical evaluations provide support for the auteur view. However, because directors do not all peak at identical ages, we also have to distinguish conceptual and experimental directors. A theoretical model of creative productivity suggests that conceptual directors may be more like poets, the experimental directors more like novelists.

Keywords: auteur theory; artistic creators; expertise; career trajectories; conceptual versus experimental directors

Chapter.  7201 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Psychology

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