'The Directors Series' Offering Free Immersive Studies of Stanley Kubrick, the Coen Brothers, David Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson & Christopher Nolan
Humorist and movie reviewer Joe Queenan once stood outside a theatre after a screening of Jurassic Park and asked each to leave the viewer if they knew who directed the film they'd just seen. Only five out of the men who talked to him, he reported, could name Steven Spielberg. (Not just one but two of those who couldn't be said, inexplicably, that the Michael Crichton adaptation had been directed by Stephen King.)
Queenan pulled this inhibit as an informal test of "auteur theory," which holds that the director, despite the inherently collaborative character of the medium, is ultimately the "author" of a motion picture. But what does it say about auteur theory that half of his sample of viewers couldn't come up with the name of quite possibly the most famous filmmaker alive? Does the identity of a film's director matter as much as those of us who subscribe to auteur theory believe it does?