According to film110, the director is in a unique and irreplaceable position of personal artistic perspective, and that the film is, most importantly, a product of that perspective. The employment of the French word for “author” (auteur) associates the director with the individual output of other mediums (painting, literature, etc.), and rebels against the seeming “collectiveness” of the film studio. Francois Truffaut’s sensational assertion that “there are no good and bad movies, only good and bad directors” importantly situates film as the characterized output of a creative individual, and responds to the economic and productive tensions in filmmaking.
In this article on Cinema Fanatic Sam Mendes is discussed as an auteur. Here’s an extract:
We often hear about an actor’s range and praise them for working in a variety of genres, etc. Rarely, however, do we hear the same praise for directors. Sam Mendes is one of those directors who never does the same thing twice. His debut film, 1999′s American Beauty was a slice of life family drama. It went on to win five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. His second film, 2002′s Road To Perdition was a period crime drama. In 2005 he made the dark comedy/war drama Jarhead. Three years later was the 2008 literary adaptation/period drama Revolutionary Road, which he followed up less than six months later with the indie dramedy Away We Go. Each of these films is so different from the other, but what they all have in common is Mendes’ strong direction, resulting in a plethora of amazing, complicated, compelling performances.
Read the whole thing here.