State College of Florida Wes Anderson Auteur Film Question


assistance needed for the assignment to insure, perfect prose and examination. guidelines are down below please read.For this assignment, you’re going to watch two films from the list below. Both films will be by the same director. Many films are available on DVD in the libraryPair 8. Wes Anderson: Darjeeling Limited and The Grand Budapest Hotel . Auteur: A French word, now used in English, to describe a filmmaker (director) whose influence on a film has an obvious style, so much so that he or she is considered it’s “author,” with the same level of importance on the final film as an author of a book has on a book. You know someone is an auteur when you see a film and say “This LOOKS like” or “This SEEMS like a film by XX.”
Auteur Theory came to America from France in the early 1960s and was made famous by Andrew Sarris, a New York film critic whose highly intelligent reviews helped Americans see film as an art and helped to launch the Hollywood Renaissance of the late 1960s and 70s. Auteur Theory was a break from the idea of a film being a studio production (“an MGM film”) or the product of an actor (“a John Wayne film.”) Instead, it was acknowledged that even though many hands created a film, there sometimes was a director who stamped his or her noticeable style on the film. One of the main aspects Sarris believes can define an auteur is “…a director who is an auteur is more than likely to make films with the expression of his individual personality; and that this personality can be traced in a thematic and/or stylistic consistency over all (or almost all) the director’s films.” (Caughie, Theories of Authorship, 1981) In this paper you will closely analyze both films and find elements of similarity in them, writing a paper of 650-800 words explaining what makes the director an auteur. That is from 2.5- 3 pages, typed, double spaced. Similarities may be visual, musical, thematic, story-related, character-type related, or possibly similar in other ways. (See extensive list below.) You should provide very specific examples from very specific parts of the film. Just to say “Wenders uses a lot of red color in the film, like Pet’s basketball shoes” is not enough. Instead you should give a specific detail and make sure which film you are talking about is perfectly clear. For example, “In the film The Starstruck Club, Wenders uses a lot of red in the film, like Pete’s basketball shoes when he’s leaving the hotel in the morning ( 2:03) and the seats of the bus as Kelly and Angel are travelling to the beach (1:05).” You can also put the short name of the film in the time stamp like this: “Wenders uses a lot of red in the film, like Pete’s basketball shoes when he’s leaving the hotel in the morning ( 2:03) and the seats of the bus as Kelly and Angel are travelling to the beach (Starstruck 1:05).” That way, your reader will always be sure which of the two films you are referring to. As usual, you are required to give time stamps from your movie (DVD or online) to cite the scene you are talking about. Don’t worry if you are off a few seconds. I can find the part you are referring to easily. You should have at least 6 time stamps in your paper and there should be at least 3 from each film. Fewer will result in loss of points. Time stamps should be for specific examples you are drawing attention to. Use the names of characters. Don’t refer to “the woman” if this is an important character. If you can’t catch the names, look at Anything less than very specific writing will mean you did not watch the films and you will be graded accordingly. Please use standard English. Create a thesis statement or main idea sentence for your paper. Divide your paper into paragraphs in some logical way. Italicize the title of the films and be sure titles and director’s name are spelled correctly. I will be grading strictly on work that does not capitalize “I” or names. Double-space your paper and give it a title at the top. Upload it to the dropbox in the Module when you are done. Remember, you don’t need to write the full name of the film every single time you refer to it in the paper. For example, let’s say you write about No Country for Old Men, and you need to say the name of the film 9 times in your paper. The first time you will use the full name. For times, 2-4 you can say No Country, for # 5 use the full title again, for 6-8 use the nickname, and use the full title the last time. How your paper is graded:Paper meets assignment requirements- follows instructions, word count, organization, has clear organization, title, etc.0-20(below 15 is unsatisfactory)Has very specific examples and enough examples that make it clear the film(s) were viewed. Paper is not general and vague. Uses at least 3 time stamps from each film. 0-25(Failure to use time stamps is automatic 0 in this category. Below 18 is unsatisfactory)Student clearly demonstrates understanding of the concept of auteur by selecting both visual and non-visual points on which to compare films. 0-25(below 18 is unsatisfactory)Paper has been proofread for grammar, mechanics, spelling, and clarity.0-10 (below 7 is unsatisfactory)Background and Assignment Guide As you watch the two films of your selected director, you should be taking notes. You’ll get a sense of recurrence when you watch your second movie. Remember you are looking for elements of style that are similar in BOTH films. Don’t take everything very literally. Just because you see birds in one film, don’t expect to see birds in the next. Maybe you will see another animal that means something or a use of nature in a similar aspect. Or just because the main character is a Sheriff in one film doesn’t mean the lead has to be Sheriff in the second film. There might be another kind of powerful authority figure in the second film. Perhaps both films you watch have a weak man and an evil woman, or perhaps both films are connected to the theme of “nothing is as it seems”, “you make your own luck.” My point is that similarities don’t have to be exactly the same. For more ideas, read further. Below I’ve itemized and provided many examples of the ways a director can create his own style. Please note that this list is not complete. It’s just a guide to get you thinking. Do not expect to find your “answers” in the list below. Maybe you will and maybe you won’t, so do NOT limit yourself to what is on this page. What should you think about when identifying an auteur and the characteristics that make him or her an auteur?-First, think about the big picture- the story, the theme, the mood. -Second, look for motifs.Motif in French means “pattern.” A motif in film is something that recurs either within the same film or in several of a director’s film. Often, but not always, a motif is an object that the director favors. In the YouTube video, you saw Tarantino’s tendency to show feet. In Rebel Without a Cause, the color red (red jacket, red lipstick) was a purposeful choice of motif. Sometimes you will see a similar motif in two films, again, like Tarantino’s feet. Sometimes, just the fact that the director uses motifs in his films, even though they are different in each film, is a characteristic of the director as an auteur. (For example, “Director X likes to employ color motifs. In film Z, he uses red, and in film Y, he uses green.”)A motif is not always an object.A motif could also be a piece of music that recurs throughout parts of the film, like the song “As Time Goes By” in Casablanca. A motif might be a recurring reference to something. In Bonnie and Clyde there were several references to “celebrity”- Bonnie’s poem, for example, and when they take photos of each other posed with the gun. We can say that the director uses the idea of “celebrity” as a motif in the film.A motif may be a type of character or actor. For example, Hitchcock liked a beautiful, blond female lead and cast that type of actor in several of his films. We could say “Hitchcock’s preference for cool blond lead characters is a motif in Film X and Film Y.” Howard Hawkes, a director from the 1930’s-1950’s liked a capable, strong “modern” woman in his films. Christopher Nolan’s protagonists in several films are often males who have suffered a loss and been traumatized in their childhoods.Even the repeated use of a camera angle or editing technique is a motif. In Breathless, the jump cut was a motif, a recurring technique that the director used in the film. Godard uses jump cuts in other films as well, so they become a motif that moves from one film to another and help to define him as an auteur. You’ll find that with both Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock there is recurring use of specific camera angles and shooting styles.When these motifs occur in multiple films, they help to create the director’s style. At that point, we might call the director an “auteur,” for surely he has a particular creative style just as the author of a book does. Noticing the patterns, the motifs, in films enrich the meaning of the film because they often carry a symbolic meaning. They are also just fun to look for!Here’s your incomplete guide to get you started as you look for the recurring motifs that make the director an auteur. Remember, you are looking for things that appear in both films, even in very small ways or slightly adapted ways. They won’t be identical! And just to be clear- you do not need to find something in each category. The Film OverallThink on a general, big level. If you do this, you can find similarities where you didn’t notice them before.Broad Theme or message: Just a reminder what themes are- the big message of a film. For example- life is a journey to find yourself, love is everything, the truth will come out, honesty is the best policy, death isn’t the end, the bigger they are the harder they fall, taking responsibility for your choices, don’t mess with Mother Nature, trust your instincts, open your mind to change, money isn’t everything, ghosts from the past need to be faced, don’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t escape your destiny, power corrupts, the world is full of evil, people are basically good, etc. Do your two films have similar themes?Story/Plot: Of course a director wouldn’t make two films with the same story, but look at what the story boils down to in a nutshell. For example- woman in trouble and needs help, weak man can’t avoid temptation, technology becomes more important than humans, a dysfunctional person/family tries to overcome obstacles, a rags-to-riches story, one person falls victim to the trickery of another, drive and greed lead a person to immoral behavior, a lonely person finds something to alleviate his loneliness, a person tries to escape her past but can’t, evil lurks in a peaceful place, etc. Do your two films have plot similarities? Is the film primarily driven by action or driven by characters and/or talking?Does the movie have a clear- cut resolution or are some things left unresolved?Is the film a narrative that goes in time order, or does it jump around in time?Does it seem fast paced or slow and contemplative?Does the story add elements of humor in what is otherwise a dark story?Are the films both a certain genre? MoodMood is created by a combination of things like the story, the characters, the look of the film, and the music. For example-ConfusionOptimismTension/suspenseHumorDark humorUncertainty/instabilityLight and carefreeHorror/fearSensual/sexy Do your two films have mood similarities? Characters and ActorsSometimes a director includes a recurring character in his films, either major or minor, or a type of actor. A strong femaleA damsel in distressA clueless personA mentally unstable personAn anti-heroA person with a past wanting a fresh startA femme fataleA loserAn average, every-guyA ruthlessly ambitious characterA person who doesn’t want to choose or decideA motherly figureA person who takes controlA deceptive or duplicitous personA goofy sidekickA physically unusual actorRacially diverse actorsThe same actor, used again Do your two films use the same actor or type of actor or have the same type of character? CameraworkCamera angled up from belowCamera angled down from aboveZoom in / outA constantly moving camera that follows characters around (tracking shot)A still camera that lets characters walk in and out of the frameShooting a person from the back or over the shoulderPoint of view shots (the camera is the eye of the character)Off-centered or oblique shots (things look crooked)Deep focus- everything near and far is in focusShallow focus- only what is close is in focus and all the rest is blurred Do your two films have any similar special camerawork? Color and LightUse of bright colorsAn overuse of a single colorDark, somber tonesA pastel, feminine paletteBright lighting, making everything look flat and equal (also for B/W)Strong shadows (also for B/W)Strong black and white contrasts (also for B/W)Spotlighting certain things/ people for emphasis in a scene (also for B/W)Changing color that symbolizes something Do your films both emphasize a color or a palette, or similar use of light? TechniquesFlashbacksJump cutsSlow motionFreeze frameFast editing cutsA favorite way to move between scenesUse of music or sound in a unique or noticeable wayDo your two films have any techniques in common? Music and SoundIs there only background music (for example, screeching violin sounds that add tension), or is there other music that is actually part of the story (for example, a car radio playing a disco hit of the time)?Is there a noticeable use of a certain kind of music – classical, synthetic, pop?Are unusual sounds used in place of music- “comic book sounds”?Is the music effective in adding to the mood?Do you notice a strange juxtaposition of the music to the scene? For example, an upbeat tune with a funeral. Other?READ THE SAMPLE PAPER! DO NOT SIMPLY WRITE ABOUT ONLY ABOUT HOW STORIES ARE SIMILAR. SIMILAR STORY OR CHARACTER TYPE CAN BE ONE OF YOUR POINTS, BUT NOT THE WHOLE PAPER. IF TWO FILMS HAVE A SIMILAR STORY, THEY WILL PROBABLY HAVE A SIMILAR CHARACTER TYPE. Don’t do this: “Both films are about bad people doing illegal things. Both films have a cop or authority figure who is dirty. Both films have a violent male lead character.” See how all my points (one for each paragraph) revolve around the character and the story? That alone doesn’t make any auteur since we could find similar things in different directors if we look only at story and the superficial elements of character.

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Student Name
Professor Spelleri
Mike Wenders, Auteur
American film director Mike Wenders is responsible for the memorable film The Starstruck
Club (1977) as well as the lesser known In the Beginning (1981). Both films contain the
signature of their director as he imparts his particular style on them. Wenders may be considered
an auteur because of his recurring theme of losing individuality when becoming part of a group,
his use of music to develop characters, and the fetishization of an object that plays some part in
each film.
First, both Starstruck and Beginning have similar themes. Even though one is about a group
of high school friends and the other is about a group of co-workers, both films focus on the
power of the group and the danger of the group. The high school group in Starstruck has each
other for support, which is positive, but at the same time, they tend to “group-think” and get
themselves in stupid situations only because they lose individuality and followed the herd. For
example, Kevin keeps insisting he should go home the night the car gets stolen. His
individuality, his conscience, is telling him what he should do. Yet, in the end, he lacks the
strength to deviate from the “herd” and goes along with them to steal the car (01:18). Similarly,
the office workers in Beginning have a built-in “office friendship,” like when they celebrate
Ricky’s birthday (00:39). But when Smits starts working at the office, we see the negative side of
the group crop up. What at first is low-level teasing of the “new guy” soon spirals out of control
as the psychology of group bullying takes over and Smits’ car tires are slashed (1:03). It just gets
worse from there. Wenders’ consistent theme in both these films seems to be about the danger of
losing individual common sense and agency when submersed in a strong group dynamic.
In addition to theme, Wenders uses music as far more than just background sound in both
these films. As expected, music plays an important role in the life of the teens in The Starstruck
Club. In fact, music is almost like another member of their group. They have a boombox with
them in the park (00:18), take a bus 50 miles to a concert at great inconvenience (00:55), and
crank up the radio as their first act when they steal the car (01:23). They play air guitar, sing, and
quote Sex Pistols song lyrics (1:30). Music in this film helps illustrate the youthful energy of the
characters. In In the Beginning, music is less explicit, but for the careful viewer (or listener!), it
is definitely there. Different characters have a different relationship with music in the film.
While Ricky is working, we can hear his Walkman playing in his ears (00:18). Actually, that is
all we can hear- it is like we are Ricky and can’t hear anything else with our earphones on our
head. This might symbolize his desire to separate himself from others in the office. Michelle, on
the other hand, plays disco music in her cubicle, sings snatches of songs while she is in her chair
and is still humming as she moves around the office doing different tasks (00:36, 1:11). This
shows her to be more open with her personality and sharing herself.
Lastly, Wenders’ films each seem to take some common object and invest it with some sort of
value that the audience has to figure out. In Starstruck, there’s the Kwepie Doll. We see
Mathilda playing with its hair (00:29), Kevin hanging it from the rearview mirror (1:38), and
Dante stopping to pick up the Kewpie Doll from under the coffee table before he tears out of the
house away from his angry father (1:54). No one ever talks about the doll and the audience is
never told why it shows up in various scenes. It would be easy to not even really notice it.
However, I will hypothesize that it symbolizes the bond of the group itself. It represents their
commonality of being teens in high school. The film In the Beginning fetishizes “the good
chair.” An on-going motif throughout the film is that the office chairs are all falling apart.
Wheels come off (00:21) and they drop down with weight (1:05). Co-workers are always
looking for “the good chair.” When someone finds the good chair, he or she does not want to
lose it, as in the scene where Michelle wheels herself over to the photocopier so no one would
take it from her if she stood up (00:27). Again, it is not a big part of the film and is just a minor
little joke in a serious film, but I think it shows that the co-workers are collegial only to a certain
point. After that point, it’s every “man” for himself!
In summary, if being an auteur means a filmmaker has a certain touch that he or she puts on
films, then Mike Wenders is certainly an auteur. The Starstruck Club and In the Beginning
clearly show their similar motifs, indicating the particular preferred style of the director.

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wes anderson


Darjeeling Limited

The Grand Budapest Hotel

American film director

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