Books and Movies Reviews

John Singleton and the black new wave

John Singleton

The dictionary definenition of an'auteur' is'a film director who is considered as having a dominant creative role'. This is extremely vague, as you could say that almost all directors have a strong role in the creative process of film. If this statement were true then there would be very little debate on whether a director is an auteur. In my opinion, an auteur can be identified by his or hers approach to narrative, by visual style, by the choice of themes and values that run through each film, and the way that he or she becomes a star in their own right.

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I have chosen to focus on John Singleton. At the time hisfirst film was released Singleton was fresh out of film school, he had grown up surrounded by the everyday death and violence of the South Central Los Angeles district famed for it gangs and its low life expectancy. With the release of'Boyz'n' the Hood' Singleton created the black gangster genre of film, this film is the benchmark of Singleton's visual style and his themes. The film deals with racism, the importance of family, tragedy, and the significance of the choices made by the characters and the consequences they hold. One of the strongest themes Singleton expolores is his central characters fear of death as the motivation for the violence.

These themes can be found in all of Singleton's films to date. But it's the way that he chooses to present and explore these themes that is interesting. He works on two different levels; he uses colours, the way that he positions the camera to move the story forward, and juxtaposition and blocking to communicate meaning. He is also renowned for his films to hit the audience with the themes in such a way that it provokes a reaction. Singletons use of the same themes and messages elevate him to the standing of auteur, he leaves his signature across his films with the specific themes…

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