Billy Wilder Essay

977 Words Apr 2nd, 2012 4 Pages
Paper #3: “Library Research”

“Billy Wilder”

Billy Wilder’s work today remains masterful and memorable. From his skilled screenwriting to his directing, Wilder holds a key position in cinema history. Wilder’s stylistic and thematic elements are recognizable and give off a complex reflection of his American and European cultural influences. I think that Billy Wilder should be considered an “auteur” even if he is not already considered one, for his personal film style and the mere fact that his cynical vision allowed him to create many admirable films across a number of genre boundaries throughout his career. However, film critics tend to disagree and believe that Wilder was too cynical, while also complaining about the lack of
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Sarris also argues that an “auteur” is a director whose films are formalistic. I think auteurism has less to do with form and is further based off of a director’s symbolic narrative structure. Wilder uses a lot of symbolic narrative structure in his films and they played a huge role in American pop culture. This is what Noël Carroll, Professor of the Philosophy of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, had to say about Sarris’s formalistic theory on auteurism, “In film studies, the examination of the style or form of the individual film is usually subordinated to frameworks that conceptualize the style or form of the individual film as exemplary of something else, usually the personal style of a director, or a period style, or the style of an influential movement or school.” (Carroll, pg. 1).
Billy Wilder’s film not only combine social realism, crime, moral degeneracy and humor; but they represent cultural, political and personal identity through the characters and narratives he constructs. Wilder directed a number of genre films ranging from comedy, film noir, romance, drama, adventure and even fantasy. These different genre aspects of narrative and character are essential to analyzing or critiquing Wilder’s body of work and his significance as an “auteur.” According to Noël Simsolo, a famous French author, Wilder’s thematic approach “looks at the world with a cynical eye, but… knows how to make people laugh.
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