Cinematic selfies: Films through the eyes of their directors

Sharaf Rehman, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Abstract

This paper offers a comparative textual analysis of three European films and three films from Hollywood. All six of these belong to a film genre - Films about Filmmaking. The three European films included in the analysis are: 8 ½ (1963) by Fellini, Day for Night (1973) by Truffaut, and Cinema Paradiso by Tornatore (1988); three American films included are: The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) by Minnelli, The Last Tycoon (1976) by Kazan, and The Player (1992) by Altman. Analysis of plots, themes, characters, and motivations reveals that European directors view their work differently than their American counterparts. While European films deal with inner or interpersonal conflicts of the characters, American films about filmmaking are concerned with producing films as a commercial commodity. In so doing, the paper builds a case about the basic approaches to filmmaking in Europe and the United States. The paper suggests that Hollywood treats movie making as a business while the Europeans filmmakers have focused on the artistry and the artists involved in making films.