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Title: Discourses of cinematic culture and the Hollywood director :the development of Christopher Nolan's auteur persona
Authors: Hill-Parks, Erin Elizabeth
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis examines how the concept of the auteur functions in contemporary Hollywood film industry and popular culture through a consideration of extra-textual components of cinematic discourse. By analysing a director’s films along with the industrial and cultural factors surrounding those films, a method for understanding contemporary auteurism in Hollywood is presented. Case study Christopher Nolan has earned a reputation as a director who produces films which are critical and popular successes and also reveal stylistic and thematic consistency across genre and industrial contexts. Building on ideas from Michel Foucault and Timothy Corrigan, this thesis adapts the ideas of the author function and the commercial auteur to examine how Nolan’s auteur persona is developed and used by industry and audiences in understanding his films. Drawing on a hybrid theoretical framework incorporating auteur, star, and reception studies as well as post-structuralist theories on authorship, this thesis analyses how Nolan’s auteur persona is constructed across a range of texts, but especially through DVD extras (official discourse), professional reviews (critical discourse), and responses from the general public (audience discourse). The analysis exposes the mechanisms within the discursive surround which create a distinct auteur persona that helps differentiate Nolan and his films in the marketplace. The research demonstrates that the auteur is an enduring and dynamic concept that is prevalent through all aspects of film culture including in the films, but also from production to critical reviews to audience discussion. Furthermore, due to technological changes, audience discourse plays an increasingly active role in shaping the auteur persona, often adapting the auteur concept to negotiate meanings for films. Ultimately the auteur persona acts as a way to understand not only how the auteur concept functions in cinema to organise economic, artistic, and cultural conditions, but also how film knowledge is developed intertextually in contemporary culture by varied audiences.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Modern Languages

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