A sort of methodology

Film theory talks of auteur cinema (director as author) and studio system cinema (director as hired gun) as if they were diametric opposites; as in, it’s art versus commerce. As with every theoretical opposite, there are assumptions, hidden, that must be made in order to hold that binary at all. While arguing art bash commerce, it’s easy to forget that both model director as demigod.

Alex in Talks at Google argues again and again that the role of director is overstated:

I keep having this conversation. I realise why, I guess. And it’s because we kind of dignify the role of the director and it seems like a really big deal. I’ve been working film for about 15 years, a lot of it with the same group of people. For me this is just part of a continuum. [Ex Machina]’s just another film with the same group of people – largely – and there was no real significant difference between this [Alex’s directorial debut] and the one before and the one before that.

I find myself repeating this again and again but it’s because of, I think it’s the way we perceive film which is as a pyramid structure and at the top of the pyramid is a director. And it’s just not my personal experience of filmmaking … I would see it more like a mountain range, a mountain range with a kind of parralax effect happening. So sometimes one mountain feels more prevalent than another and then you shift your perspective and everything’s different … And the truest way I can say it is that it’s a collective. I work in a collective … It’s something like a version of anarchy, but it’s not anarchy as chaos, it’s anarchy where you have a collective of autonomous bodies who are all working towards the same goal. And that’s the, sort of, methodology.