by Linda Spaulding, Western Oregon University

Film as Literature explores some signature elements used by director Tim Burton and that distinguish him as auteur.


Film as Literature: Tim Burton as auteur

Part of learning about Tim Burton as auteur is developing an understanding of the styles used in his treatment of the art form. One way to see his strategies to approaching film as literature is to first consider the dual purpose of film (before the 20th century).

We begin by examining the cinema's pioneers: the Lumiere brothers and George Melies. 

The Lumiere Brothers produced early primitive documentaries shot for the most part in single takes. Audiences of this era were so astonished by the novelty of a moving picture that this alone was enough to hold their attention.

Auguste and Louis Lumiere are credited with the world's first public film screening on December 28, 1895. The above photo from their early work depicts workers leaving a factory.


"The cinema is an invention without a future."
-- Louis Lumiere