• A filmmaker whose personal influence and artistic control over a movie are so great that the filmmaker is regarded as the author of the movie.

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Example Sentences

“Kathryn aimed to become an auteur whose films would be instantly recognizable.”

“The movie’s distinctive elements had critics calling the young director Hollywood’s newest auteur.”

“Female filmmakers such as Sofia Coppola and Greta Gerwig are becoming more recognized as modern auteurs.”

Word Origin

French, 1960s

Why this word?

American film critic Andrew Sarris coined the term “auteur theory” in his famous 1962 essay “Notes on the Auteur Theory,” and thus “auteur,” which means “author” in French, was popularized in American English. As a result of this and other Sarris writings, more public attention turned to the overall craft of filmmaking instead of being focused solely on the actors. In the original “auteur” essay, Sarris cited such directing greats as Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Alfred Hitchcock. Nowadays, we might recognize filmmakers including Martin Scorsese, Wes Anderson, Greta Gerwig, and Christopher Nolan for joining their ranks with unique visions and styles.

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