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An auteur is someone who dominates the process of filmmaking to the point that we can call the director of a film the auteur or an author of the film. This means the director will put his/her own spin or personal touch to the film since they are the main person responsible for the creating of the film.
In my opinion, Francois Truffaut and Alfred Hitchcock should be considered as “auteurs” due to their film style and dominance in moviemaking. As I have observed throughout this semester, there are many techniques and styles demonstrated by the directors that make their individual films distinguishable among one another. A few tools I have learned about in the previous units include lighting, camera angles, focal lengths, character positioning, and many others that have made me come to the conclusion that these directors should be considered auteurs.
In the movies “Psycho” and “400 Blows” directed by Truffaut and Hitchcock, they are known to use techniques such as mis-en-scene and specific camera angles which is the directors way of controlling the scenes throughout the film which sometimes may help you foreshadow on what may happen next, persuade the viewer to think a certain way, or even displaying a special mood of the film with lighting and camera focal lengths to really focus in on a a particular person or object. An example of this would be in the movie “400 Blows” when the camera is high in the sky looking down on everyone walking in the street. The camera is directly angled and positioned to force us to look at the store front and people walking across the street. Specific features of this scene is the duration of the clip, height of the camera crew and frame positioning of the scene. The producer left the viewer to watch the students crossing the street and walking up the street. In the shots previously, the camera is keeping a close eye on the group of students and follows them closely up until the wide shot towards the end. The one thing that also stood out to me in this film was the fact it wasn’t in color.
Color makes it a bit easier for us to see the harsh shadows and the dramatic lighting whereas it is a little harder to identify in a black and white movie. In the movie “Psycho” by Hitchcock, there are many suspenseful scenes in the movie where Alfred really keeps the viewers on their feet and many scenes are very suspenseful. Camera placement and lighting determine how an audience will watch and feel about a scene.
A notable scene from “Psycho” is when we see Marion surrounded by a soft light, with a round painting on the wall and the overall shot is inviting, whereas Norman is sitting on the chair in the corner with a harsh light on his body reflecting on the wall and the square and harsh picture frames in the background. They are in the same room yet the shots make the viewer feel a different way about each.
Lighting is a big thing as well, she has a soft light from the desk lamp and he has a light shining directly on him with a dark reflection on the wall and the blacks are definitely deeper. Hitchcock also uses very direct camera angles to introduce a subject. For example, Marion is framed with a head level shot with soft light, and Norman is shot from further back and he is positioned to the corner of the frame to reveal the odd photos on the wall and bird sculptures. It is a perfect way to make the audience have a certain feel about not only the specific shot, but the movie overall.
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