“The Death of the Auteur”

András Bálint Kovács

in Screening Modernism

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780226451633
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226451664 | DOI:
“The Death of the Auteur”

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It is not easy to make a distinction in the 1970s between films belonging to political modernism's mythical trend and those already transcending the modernist paradigm. It is easier to see the difference between the two categories through films that are distant enough in time from one another, but political modernism in the mid-1970s was just the transitional period where many elements of the postmodern were already present. This is true especially in some films of new cinema in Germany, including Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Angst Eats the Soul and Werner Herzog's Heart of Glass. Two basic principles of modernism are homogeneity of style and a sense of “objective reality,” both of which are closely related with the central role attributed to the “auteur.” This chapter examines the disappearance of the auteur in European modern cinema, including Andrei Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev and films made by Jean-Luc Godard and Federico Fellini. It also discusses Tarkovsky's use of serial composition in Andrei Rublev and the disappearance of nothingness in films such as Peter Greenaway's The Draughtsman's Contract (1982).

Keywords: political modernism; modern art; nothingness; serial composition; Andrei Tarkovsky; Andrei Rublev; Jean-Luc Godard; Federico Fellini; auteur; Draughtsman's Contract

Chapter.  7400 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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