Auteur Theory Analysis

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Wong Lok Yi 14206900

Auteur Theory and Wong Kar-Wai’s Films

Auteur theory emerged in France in the late 1940s from the theory suggested by two French film critics, who are André Bazin and Alexandre Astruc. After that, it was advocated by a film director called Francois Truffaut in 1954. 1 He suggests that a good director exert a unique style or promotes such a consonant film theme that his or her influence is unmistakable in the body of his or her work. In 1962, Andrew Sarris, an American film critic, one of the most popular representative who supports Auteur theory, wrote an essay named "Notes on the Auteur Theory”. It suggests that Auteur Theory has three premises, which are the vital premises as an auteur. 2 The three premises includes
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10In one of his interview, he claimed that he moved to Hong Kong when he was five. That period was a very memorable time that he wanted to make a film to record that period. The story was set in 1960s, the time when Wong reached the Hong Kong from Shanghai in five year old. Wong claimed that it is because he wanted to capture the moment since he was afraid that the period would be forgotten later. This clearly shows that he wants to express the feeling of nostalgia about Hong Kong history in this film.

11It is said that Happy Together has the most direct political meaning among Wong’s films, which is the challenge to the normalization of Hong Kong-Mainland relation on the eve of the handover. This film offers several possible scenarios for the reunion of Hong Kong and China included escape, lament, embrace and choice etc. This film maps out complication and conflicts. It reflected the situation and emotion of Hong Kong people under the handover.

Based on the three premises suggested in Andrew Sarris’ Auteur Theory, it is undoubtedly that Wong Kar-wai is an auteur. Rather than the unique camera movement and way of storytelling, the interior meaning of his films is intriguing. It is believed that these characteristics become his signature, which build up his reputation in the world.


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