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In the year 1954, Francois Truffaut claimed that films were the considered the best channel through which directors expressed their individual ideas; liberally and comfortably. He thereby came up with the idea that a director should be considered as an auteur. He further suggested that there weren’t bad or good movies, there were only bad and good directors. This theory was always regarded as the preliminary position for analysis of films. It suggested that directors were allowed to use commercial tools of making films in the same way painters used paint and paint brush. It also provided a platform on which directors could display their own artistic expressions and skills (Kristin & Bordwell, pg 44-56).
In general terms, auteur theories was defined as a medium through which individual dynamics, in artistic films, were used as reference points and were assumed to commence from one film to another integrated with the artistic touch of the same director.
This theory forms a basis through which actors within the star parade are analyzed and evaluated. Films that were considered well directed were those that included directors unique capabilities as evidence to represent marks of individual personality or through repetitive occurrence of themes within the body of films under the same director.
However; the decision to crown the director as the auteur raised so much concern in the sense that the overall influence of producing a movie was always perceived as a collaborative course of action between the director, the producer, sound man and even the actors and therefore crediting the director only raised alarms (Kristin & Bordwell, pg.79-101).
Due to the difficulties that arose when determining an auteur, three assertions were put in place to assist with the task. The first assertion placed implicated that the decision upon which to gauge an auteur was displayed from the technical prowess of he or she possessed as a measure of significance, the second assertion made was to look for noticeable traits of the director, these noticeable characteristics were to be certain and frequent in a particular manner. The last assertion was coined from combining personality and the content exhibited by the director.
In this assignment I will expound on David Lynch as a director who showed much prowess in his films and was therefore considered a real auteur of modern day. Upon watching the films: ‘Eraser head and ‘Wild at Heart’. I was able to figure out the criteria upon which Lynch’s movies possessed recurrence traits and I also tried to explain on how these films were composed of sophisticated modes of symbolism.
In Eraser head, the director (Lynch) managed to use stylistic symbolism in a very detailed manner that allowed for deeper meaning of the unfolding events. The film took Lynch five years to make and he was always proud of it whenever he was interviewed. This film is about a story of a man called Henry and the paranoiac dreadfulness of his daily life. The film commences with Henry’s head overlaid over an unimaginative planet where he finds a workman and when he opens his mouth to talk to the workman, a worm- like organism surfaces.
This workman immediately starts his apparatus making the first knob to keep the worm in movement, with the second knob; he uses to expose a water filled opening in the earth and with the last knob he uses to lower the worm –like organism into the opening. The scene commences with a camera coming out of this opening with a very bright light that steer us into Henry’s life. We see him walking home and then taking the lift to his dark and partially furnished residence. Mary then invites him for a dinner at her matrimonial home where he is presented with a chicken to cut into slices, the chicken unexpectedly gets into movements and hemorrhages when Henry pierces it with a fork. In the next scene, Henry and Mary are perceived to have had sex and Mary gets pregnant only to give birth to a baby that resembles a worm-like organism that we had encountered earlier on in the incident where Henry entered the new planet. While at Henry’s apartment, the baby cries profusely and leaves Mary with no choice but to leave for her home leaving the baby with Henry.
The baby keeps Henry indoors as it keeps crying and whenever he decides to leave the apartment the baby cries more. He finally gives up and decides to sleep with the baby, while asleep he enters into a dream that makes him enter into a radiator where he finds a woman with a swollen face dancing in a relatively small stage within the radiator. While she is still dancing, worms like organisms are seen falling from the roof.
On waking up, he makes effort to call on his neighbor but unfortunately she is nowhere to be seen which makes the baby laugh hysterically making Henry angry and eventually kills the baby. His neighbor returns with another man only to find Henry holding the baby’s head. Immediately lights shine unsteadily and an opening is blown in the planet, the workman that we had been introduced to is perceived to be busy making tremendous efforts to stop his apparatus while Henry, in a glowing form, hugs the woman with the swollen face and the film cuts into darkness. The film then ends with Henry committing suicide.
The assumptions made are that: the woman with the swollen face symbolizes death while the workman is perceived to be a symbol of God. At the scene where Henry gazes at the radiator, it’s taken to mean that he was contemplating suicide while the worms-like organisms are a symbolic representation of the basis for sin, that is, the making of love between Mary and Henry. The point where the worm-like organism is lowered into an opening clearly depicts the formation of the baby.
Henry is perceived as the maker and demolisher of his own baby meaning that the planet for which he had his head made in form of an eraser existed only for him alone. This film is a real insight to Lynch’s thematic choice. For instance, the perception of other existing similar worlds that is only visible when someone is drove into deep dreams.
This unique and established skill of Lynch is portrayed in other films directed by him. Like in the second film that I watched, that is, ‘Wild at Heart’. Lynch portrays the sailor dreaming of a good elf and also in the sequence of ‘Eraser head’: Dune the actor Paul is perceived dreaming of what would become of his future. The scene where Henry enters into a radiator and gets a woman, with a swollen face, dancing in a small stage is replicated or rather used in the film ‘ Wild at Heart’ when the sailor uses it to perform an embellished dance that leaves the audience yearning for more.
Lynch uses the element of bright light to expound on mise-en-scene, which is normally emitted in a fairly typical lantern which is said to be an obligatory apparatus in Lynch’s film world. The second distinguishable and unique feature that makes Lynch stand out as an auteur is his prolonged craving for biological organisms, for instance, the worm-like organism that comes out of Henry’s mouth is replicated in the film ‘Wild at Heart’ when Peru’s head is blown off and the organism appears in her stockings. He frequently cast scenes that are noticed to possess deformed and disabled modifications of nature’s organism. In the film ‘Wild at heart’, Laura shed tears in a way that twists her facial appearance vindictively.
Lynch also possess a craving for mouth in the sense that the organism that comes out of Henry’s mouth is replicated in the film ‘Wild at Heart’ when the actor, Peru, is perceived as a dental dreadful.
The last final components that Lynch possesses that make him to stand out as a great director and an auteur is the fact that he pays much tribute to electricity, industry and time. He uses electricity purrs and industries growls to depict moments of normalcy, when there is hindrance, a problem is perceived as likely to occur. The bright light that occurs in the film ‘Eraser head’ is also replicated in the film ‘Wild at Heart’ when Peru enters a room filled with sparkling spotlights that appear to manipulate his feelings. The smoke and steam that is perceived in ‘Eraser head’ depicts industrial channels.
All in all, the director: David Lynch has managed to use a specific style for all his films while generating different visualization in the process. He uses this to his advantage and in the meantime creates a rapport with the audience. We can boldly describe Lynch’s techniques and way of directing as that which captures the eyesight of an audience while at the same time makes the audience at ease trying to figure out the scene through which the whole idea emerge.