This essay will discuss what an auteur is, what qualifies a
director to become an auteur and the ways in which Anderson may be considered
an auteur. The latter shall be achieved through an analytical study of scenes
from several of Anderson’s films. The films I am going to look at are ‘The
Grand Budapest Hotel’, ‘The Life Aquatic’ and ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’

So, what is an Auteur? In layman’s terms, an auteur is a
film director who influences their films so much that they rank as their
author. According to Professor John Caughie’s book ‘Theories of Authorship’, he
defines an auteur as ‘someone who transforms the material which has been given
to him: so, it is in the mise-en-scene- in the disposition of the scene, in the
camera placement, in movement from shot-to-shot – that the auteur writes his
individuality into the film’. (Item 8) he goes on to say that “traditionally
the reference to the auteur in French film criticism has identified either as
the author who wrote the script, or, in the more general sense of the term, the
artist who created the film”.  

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Classing a film as only belonging to the director is
seemingly unfair, as it doesn’t give credit to original writers,
cinematographers or editors who often make or break a film. However, Francois Truffaut
3 argues that to qualify as an auteur the focus must be on the director above
anyone else.  The director needs to
seemingly have creative control and participate in all levels of construction.
Only then can the director create or portray his own ‘world view’ through his
creation 4.

In the recent book Wes Anderson: Why His Movies Matter, Mark
Browning suggests that ‘the only movies Wes Anderson films look like are other
Wes Anderson films’, which leads me to believe that Anderson’s personal style
is unique to him and therefore, make him worthy of being an Auteur. Anderson’s
films make use of small yet bold, primary-coloured palettes that soak and wash
objects, textures, fabrics, buildings and environments, so that they become
infused with life and take on the feelings of the characters.; It is like they
become a living canvas and expression of human emotion. For example, in ‘The
Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’ (2004), Anderson employs old Ektachrome
reversal film stock to create a high-contrast, grainy feel to the submarine
world in which the film is set, it gives the viewer a nostalgic feeling as it
creates the aesthetic of an old film 20.

The nostalgic feeling continues with Anderson’s aesthetic since
Anderson looks to the past to fill the anomic present with core human values
such as kindness, respect, truth and balance. The effect of nostalgia however
isn’t always goo, the child like wonder becomes almost sad as it shows the
characters looking back on better times, times when they were younger, more
loved and ultimately not abandoned.

In British law, the film is treated as a work of art, and
the auteur, as the creator of the film, is the original copyright holder. Under
European Union law, the film director is considered the author or one of the
authors of a film, largely because of the influence of auteur theory. This by
law means that in the eyes of the law, Anderson is the sole creator, and this
makes him the author of the film an enables him to carry the title ‘auteur’
(Item 9).

There are four main subjects that I think have
interwoven Wes Anderson into his movies. I am going to be looking at
intertextuality, reoccurring character archetypes and I am also going to be
looking at Anderson’s underlying themes of neglect and his creation of ‘outsider
characters’. The subject of neglect or being an outsider features in many of
Anderson’s films and lead me to believe are subjects close to him and that have
affected him deeply. The intertextuality in his films help to bridge his works
and give the viewer the feeling that they are watch a film made by Anderson,
even if they do not know it