auteur theory

noun

: a view of filmmaking in which the director is considered the primary creative force in a motion picture

Examples of auteur theory in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In film theory, auteur theory speaks of directors who make movies that are unmistakably theirs. Paul Fitzgerald, Rolling Stone, 11 Dec. 2023 For more than half a century, a coterie of critics and filmmakers has been making the case for what’s known as auteur theory: the idea that great directors are the central creative forces behind their films, shaping them just as authors shape their books. Julia Jacobs, New York Times, 18 Sep. 2023 A lot of very dumb things have been said about the auteur theory in recent years, all of which ignore its beautiful central tenet, which is that some filmmakers’ sensibilities shine through their work no matter the material. Vulture, 7 Sep. 2023 There may be no greater refutation of the auteur theory — the notion that a great film is the product of a single directorial genius — than the number of fine movies that were assembled by scrabbling, sometimes squabbling parties, operating with no clear end in sight. Louis Bayard, Washington Post, 24 Jan. 2023 In an interview in Sight & Sound’s September issue, Tarantino compared Claude Chabrol to Truffaut (who, it must be said, popularized auteur theory). Vulture, 28 Aug. 2022 The critic Richard Schickel appears to explicate a version of auteur theory as a way of praising famously independent-minded directors, like Capra and Welles. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 28 Nov. 2022 This way of working is probably influenced by the fact that in France, independent filmmaking usually has to do with the politics of auteur theory. Marta Balaga, Variety, 26 May 2022 According to DuVernay’s politically correct auteur theory, filmmakers are distinguished by their ethnicity and gender. Armond White, National Review, 23 Mar. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'auteur theory.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1962, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of auteur theory was in 1962

Dictionary Entries Near auteur theory

Cite this Entry

“Auteur theory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/auteur%20theory. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

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