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What Is an Auteur?

Programmes spéciaux

The idea of a film director being the “auteur”—or author—of a film is one that was put to paper by François Truffaut in the 1950s, reformulated by American critic Andrew Sarris in the 1960s, and has been debated and re-interpreted ever since. MUBI’s new series aims to explore the increasingly complicated question of what constitutes an auteur. With this ongoing program, arranged in a series of director double bills ranging from the likes of Alfonso Cuarón to Claire Denis, we hope to elucidate this nebulous term while also shedding light on some of cinema’s finest masters along the way.

Bataille dans le ciel

Carlos Reygadas Mexique, 2005

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What Is an Auteur?

Behold! Art cinema in all its grandeur. If you miss the glory days of lauded, grandiose artists making controversial films with spellbinding visual approaches and headline-grabbing, risqué content, look no further than Mexican visionary Carlos Reygadas and his sophomore vision Battle in Heaven.

Lumière silencieuse

Carlos Reygadas Mexique, 2007

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2 jours restants
What Is an Auteur?

Reygadas proved himself one of the most controversial contemporary directors when he won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2007 with this gorgeous remixing of Dreyer’s Ordet. Weaving the sacred and the profane, the holy and the damned, Silent Light is one of the great modern films on the subject of faith.

Jesus, You Know

Ulrich Seidl Autriche, 2003

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5 jours restants
What Is an Auteur?

Fluidly moving between fiction and docs, the films of Austria’s foremost director, Ulrich Seidl, are a cross between Erich von Stroheim’s sensuous anthropology and Herzog’s ecstatic blend of fact and imagination. This confrontative inquiry of Catholicism is a direct revelation of individual faith.


Ulrich Seidl Autriche, 2007

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6 jours restants
What Is an Auteur?

An epic exposé of the relationship between Europe and countries to its east, Ulrich Seidl’s drama is an engrossing and provocative tale of humans, economies, and dreams. Rooted in real-world research and stunningly photographed by the great Ed Lachman, this is a global story told on a human scale.

La sapienza

Eugène Green France, 2014

Bientôt au programme
10 jours
What Is an Auteur?

Next subject in our What Is an Auteur? series is French-by-way-of-America director Eugène Green, whose movies are spare—he counts Bresson as an influence—yet refreshingly funny, forthright, and touching. With its stunning architecture tour, this wistful delight intertwines art into its drama.

Le fils de Joseph

Eugène Green France, 2016

Bientôt au programme
11 jours
What Is an Auteur?

Eugène Green brings his delightfully idiosyncratic touch to this unusual version of the Nativity story involving a quest to find a boy’s true father, a hilarious satire of the French literature scene, and, as always with this filmmaker, moving doses of profound emotional and spiritual sincerity.

Les salauds

Claire Denis France, 2013

a expiré il y a 6 jours
What Is an Auteur?

Claire Denis suit White Material avec ce film particulièrement lugubre, un des films noirs contemporains les plus sombres et dérangeants. Un thriller fascinant et souvent trouble avec Vincent Lindon, Chiara Mastroianni et deux habitués de Claire Denis: Alex Descas et Grégoire Colin.

White Material

Claire Denis France, 2009

a expiré il y a 7 jours
What Is an Auteur?

With her Robert Pattinson-led High Life in theatres, we pay homage to Claire Denis and her marvelous dancing impressionism. For this collaboration with Isabelle Huppert, the director, who grew up in French Africa, returns to her roots for a powerful story about the death throes of white colonialism.


Bruno Dumont France, 2006

a expiré il y a 25 jours
What Is an Auteur?

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, Bruno Dumont’s forlorn love story asks where the roots of modern violence is in the rural countryside. Flanders audacious finds the temptations of passion and cruelty both on the battlefield and in the illusion of peace at home.


Bruno Dumont France, 2009

a expiré il y a 26 jours
What Is an Auteur?

Faith is an increasingly neglected theme in contemporary cinema, but not so for Bruno Dumont, who with each film challenges our understanding of modern spirituality. In Hadewijch he continues his search with the experiences of an exiled nun’s encounters with the transience and dangers of devotion.

Scènes intimes

Catherine Breillat France, 2002

Our next film by provocatrice Catherine Breillat gives you a glimpse behind the scenes: her signature dramas of sex and psychology, taking place on a movie set! Clearly inspired by the making of Breillat’s controversial Fat Girl, this is a bracing self-inquiry into the power-games of moviemaking.

Anatomie de l'enfer

Catherine Breillat France, 2004

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What Is an Auteur?

Alert: Not for the faint-of-heart! Breillat approaches sex in ways no (male) filmmaker has ever done. Her unwavering exploration of femininity peaks in this loose sequel to Romance. Here she fearlessly blurs the line between porn and art—and casting porn legend Siffredi is just the beginning.

4 h 44 Dernier jour sur Terre

Abel Ferrara États-Unis, 2011

Cinema has seen its share of apocalyptic scenarios, yet none fuse intimacy with prescience like this one. Eradicating all spectacle from the dramatic palette, 4:44 is instead a frequently oneiric, entirely humanist reckoning with the end of existence from the perspective of a Manhattan apartment.

Le roi de New York

Abel Ferrara États-Unis, 1990

Abel Ferrara, the iconoclastic cinema-poet of New York City, directs this sleek, savage masterpiece. Walken gives a career-best performance as the titular socialist gangster (you read that right) whose name was even taken up by late rapper Notorious B.I.G. as a pseudonym. A key film of the 1990s.


Christian Petzold Allemagne, 2014

Our second film by contemporary German auteur Christian Petzold is his biggest hit to date, a devilishly clever and twisting adaptation of Vertigo to the suspicions and unease of a post-war Germany left in ruin. Like Barbara, it stars the inimitable Nina Hoss in a challenging but unforgettable role.


Christian Petzold Allemagne, 2012

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What Is an Auteur?

With the new thriller by Christian Petzold in cinemas (read our interview about Transit) our auteur series turns to highlighting this brilliant German. Adroitly combining genre cinema with deeper inquiries into his nation’s painful 20th century, Petzold’s films are as enthralling as they are smart.


Mathieu Amalric France, 2017

French pop legend Barbara is far too special to make a normal biopic about. Instead, Mathieu Amalric, subject of this week’s double feature, creates an imaginatively free and dazzling portrait not just of Barbara, but of the challenge of an actress (Jeanne Balibar) to embody such a unique person.

La chambre bleue

Mathieu Amalric France, 2014

Next in our survey of the signatures of great filmmakers is a double feature by one better known as an actor: Mathieu Amalric. Yet Amalric’s films behind the camera are distinct, sly and enthralling, especially this puzzlebox neo-noir which cleverly fragments a crime of passion into a mystery.

Blue Steel

Kathryn Bigelow États-Unis, 1989

One of the most under-valued films by the director of The Hurt Locker, Bigelow turns a male-oriented genre upside down in this gritty, gripping policier by putting a female cop (Jamie Lee Curtis at her best) in the lead. As in the best cop thrillers, the personal and professional are inextricable.

Aux frontières de l'aube

Kathryn Bigelow États-Unis, 1987

Master auteur Kathryn Bigelow has crafted some of the most purely sensorial and kinetic genre cinema of our time. Exhibit A: Near Dark, her sophomore film, is a bewitching vampire-action-horror hybrid that descends into the hidden worlds of rural America to find hell. Erotic, violent, and essential.

Et... ta mère aussi!

Alfonso Cuarón Mexique, 2001

Alfonso Cuarón’s excellence became crystal clear with his fourth feature, Y tu mamá también. The birthplace of both Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal’s stardom, this deceptively sublime road movie broke ground by expressing the many complexities intrinsic to the sexual odyssey that is youth.

Sólo con tu pareja

Alfonso Cuarón Mexique, 1991

This year we’re excited to launch “What Is An Auteur?,” a new series of double bills dedicated to exploring what defines the style, sensibility and perspective of directors. With Roma being one of last year’s true masterpieces, we’re starting with Alfonso Cuarón and his satiric, sexy Mexican debut.

La vie est trop courte pour de mauvais films

Chaque jour, nous choisissons avec attention un nouveau film indispensable et vous disposez d'un mois entier pour le voir, avec donc toujours 30 merveilles programmées avec soin et à découvrir.