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This chapter presents the pre-history of auteurism and shows that there have been vigorous debates about the condition and prospects of auteur cinema in France over the last decade. It summarises the development of auteurism as a field up to the 1990s, drawing particularly on Wright Wexman's historical overview. Following the advent of structuralism and structuralist approaches to narrative and communication in the mid 1960s, a type of auteurism was born that preserved a focus on authorship at the very moment when Roland Barthes was polemically declaring the author dead, in his famous essay 'The death of the author'. The chapter also summarises the legal advances achieved by struggles for legislation aiming to afford better protection for directors. It assesses how auteur cinema is still one vital pole of francophone film production, albeit in a very different form from that envisaged by the politique des auteurs in the 1950s.

Five directors

Auteurism from Assayas to Ozon

Editor: Kate Ince


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