Harry Potter and the Web of Authorship: Negotiating the Authorial in a Blockbuster Franchise Context

THESIS by Nick Kelly

prisoner-of-azkaban

Introduction: The Auteur in Azkaban

The structure of a blockbuster franchise is one that suggests homogenization and broad appeal rather than idiosyncrasy and personality. In this context, the already collaborative and often corporate nature of most mainstream filmmaking sees an increase of influencing creative factors. A studio needs to make a global hit that provides a return on the investment of a large budget, armies of artisans and craftspeople work to produce images of spectacle, and there is often a need to maintain continuity with other films and fidelity to a source material. The nature of this context seems to stifle the notion of directorial authorship. As much as scholarship has complicated the romantic idea of the singular author of any artwork, it has not killed the idea of a director expressing a personal vision through a film. It is possible to see this in scholarship on a filmmaker like Alfonso Cuarón, who has attracted interest for distinctive films such as Y tu mamá también (2001) and Children of Men (2006), but whose contribution to a blockbuster franchise, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), is mostly ignored. In works devoted to examining Cuarón’s films in depth, James Udden labels Azkaban “generic Hollywood fare” [1] and Deborah Shaw defines it as “non-auteurist”; [2] both make these definitions in contrast to a more conventionally auteurist work of Cuarón’s like Y tu mamá también. These views suggest a belief that Cuarón has had a strong authorial voice in creating other films, but that this voice could not be present in a Harry Potter film. Certainly a claim that Cuarón is the author of Prisoner of Azkaban would be an oversimplification, but an opposite claim would also ignore the tension among the multiplicity of creative influences on the film. Rather than simply being a case of a director imposing a vision upon material or being a servant to corporate interests, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban showcases the franchise blockbuster as a complex authorial web that serves as a site of negotiation between different authorial voices.

The typical framework for auteurist analysis involves situating a film in the career of the director by identifying signatures and motifs consistent in that filmmaker’s work. This framework will play a large role in my analysis. I will identify visual and thematic similarities between Prisoner of Azkaban and Cuarón’s other work in order to demonstrate how the film fits in his career. However, a thorough understanding of the authorial negotiation requires identifying the elements of the film that cohere with the franchise as a whole rather than with Cuarón’s work outside of it. I will incorporate both sides of the negotiation, and this will appear contradictory, as it should. The purpose of this analysis will not be to demonstrate that the voice of the director dominates the franchise or vice versa, but rather to explore the contradiction in the negotiation of these voices and to evaluate the success of that negotiation.

I begin by demonstrating how the structure of a blockbuster franchise challenges existing understandings of authorship that are based on creative control, but I follow this by using auteurist analysis to identify visual elements of Prisoner of Azkaban that serve as signatures and motifs consistent within Cuarón’s career in order to argue that his directorial presence manifests in the franchise structure. However, I continue to engage the contradictory nature of the authorial negotiation by arguing that many elements in the film that visually distinguish it from the other films in the franchise find motivation in the source material. Furthermore, the film’s spectacle sequences showcase ways the franchise limits the directorial voice. Nevertheless, I establish the inadequacy of claims, such as Udden’s and Shaw’s, that the franchise structure stifles Cuarón’s voice by examining thematic elements in Prisoner of Azkaban that are consistent across his career. This does not mean ascribing full authorship to Cuarón, but it also does not mean treating the film as a product devoid of personality. It is more productive to view a film like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as a negotiation between these creative influences. Evaluating the film in terms of authorship does not mean seeing it as a case where a director wrests control of the project away from others or sees his vision trampled by a studio. Instead, it is a matter of evaluating the success of the negotiation. Prisoner of Azkaban is a successful negotiation: a film that can fit into both the Harry Potter franchise and the artistic trajectory of Cuarón’s career.

“The Nature of a Dementor”: Authorship, Control, and the Franchise Structure

In Deborah Shaw’s view, “Central to any questions of auteurism is the degree to which the vision is that of a single organizing presence, usually the director, and the extent to which he/she has creative control.” [3] This assessment provides an explanation for why scholarship tends to ignore a film like Prisoner of Azkaban in favor of a film like Y tu mamá también: a film with a relatively low budget made outside the Hollywood system seems to present a greater possibility that the audience is witnessing a director’s singular vision. Yet, the centrality of creative control in Shaw’s conception of auteurist analysis is curious given auteurism’s origins in studying Hollywood film. The early auteurists did not see such an easy distinction between the art cinema and certain Hollywood filmmakers; as David Bordwell writes: “Auteur analysis of the 1950s and 1960s consisted of applying art-cinema reading strategies to the classical Hollywood cinema.”[4]

There is a tension to this scenario: a desire to find artistry within the corporate model of Hollywood. American auteurist pioneer Andrew Sarris describes this tension in The American Cinema: “Hollywood… connotes conformity rather than diversity, repetition rather than variation.” [5] Yet for Sarris, this tension drives auteurist analysis: “The auteur theory values the personality of a director precisely because of the barriers to its expression.” [6] The tension among the multiplicity of creative influences involved in a Hollywood production was central to auteurism in its original conception, rather than a roadblock or a naïve blind spot. Yet, the issue of control was also present. Identifying a director as an auteur often involved establishing that he actually did have creative control over his projects. Howard Hawks is an example of a director who would seem to be a Hollywood, gun-for-hire filmmaker without a consistent focus in the types of films he made; Sarris’ writing on him in The American Cinema acknowledges, “It is unlikely he will ever discard the mask of the commercial filmmaker.” [7] Yet when classifying Hawks as an auteur, Sarris writes: “Hawks has retained a surprising degree of control over his assignments, choosing the ones he wanted to do, and working on the scripts of all his films.” [8] For Sarris, characterizing Hawks as the author of his films did involve establishing the degree to which the director exercised control over them. The tension between the personal and the corporate was a crucial part of Sarris’ analysis, but so was the issue of control.

A director who seems to have a particular style without the creative control to express a personal vision would fall in the auteurist category of the metteur en scène, whose work, according to Peter Wollen, “does not go beyond the realm of performance, of transposing into the special complex of cinematic codes and channels a pre-existing text: a scenario, a book or a play.” [9] However, even though this acknowledges the complexity of creative control in filmmaking, other scholarship has challenged the possibility of any single person having creative control over a vast film production. Referencing both Barthes’ analysis of the concept of authorship and the realities of even the smallest film production, Colin MacCabe argues for viewing a film author as a “contradictory movement within a collectivity rather than as a homogeneous, autonomous, and totalising subject.” [10] The collaborative nature of most filmmaking implies a multiplicity of creative positions, complicating the task of assigning any single person authorial status.

Moving across the continuum from a small, independent production to a massive franchise blockbuster seems to exacerbate this problem. The presence of studio executives and producers in the Hollywood system presents the possibility of a limiting influence on the vision of a director. Thomas Schatz emphasizes the role executives played during the classical era in organizing the style of a studio. [11] While he is describing a different period of filmmaking, if he were to examine a franchise such as Harry Potter, he might emphasize the authorial status of David Heyman, who served as producer on all eight films in the series. This approach seems to be the one that best describes the Marvel film franchise, which is similar to Harry Potter in its use of multiple directors to tell stories in the same universe. Derek Johnson’s study of this franchise describes how much of the discourse on its authorship centers on Marvel’s executives, particularly Studio President Kevin Feige who seems to be the unifying creative force across the studio’s many films. [12] The talking points of studio discourse should not be taken at face value, but according to Johnson, this might be a correct depiction of Marvel film production: he describes how Marvel created an advisory board to coordinate the productions of the different films so that they would all serve the company’s interests “despite creative tensions and idiosyncrasies.” [13]

Other franchises like The Lord of the Rings (dir. Peter Jackson, 2001-2003) and The Dark Knight (dir. Christopher Nolan, 2005-2012) trilogies can claim to have strong directorial voices while maintaining continuity across multiple entries, but both of these examples have done so by maintaining the same director through the franchise. In both examples, the director is also among the credited screenwriters and producers. Even though the directors of these two franchises did not originate the ideas behind them, they are similar to the idea of the “concept author” that Thomas Elsaesser proposes. This model allows Elsaesser to describe the nature of authorship in the blockbuster era in which “ever-shifting contests for control and identity” characterize the multi-layered structures of the franchises that dominate current cinema. [14] The concept authors are filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and James Cameron who oversee these complex structures. [15] However, this model does not describe Alfonso Cuarón’s role in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban because he was not responsible for overseeing the greater structure of the franchise. Even for concept authors, it is impossible to entirely discount the role of the studio. One of the distinguishing features of Jackson’s Lord of the Rings is a genre film sensibility that is consistent with his other work. In her book on the trilogy, Kristin Thompson wonders if the project would have become a middlebrow prestige picture had it stayed at Miramax. [16] New Line Cinema, built on genre fare like A Nightmare on Elm Street, might have nourished Jackson’s genre film sensibilities. Even in franchise blockbusters with a distinct directorial sensibility, the question of authorship remains part of a complex web in which it is difficult to ascertain a creative origin.

Yet, this depiction of an authorial web fits with MacCabe’s characterization of all film authorship: “a contradictory movement within a collectivity rather than… a homogeneous, autonomous, and totalising subject”. [17] There is no denying that the addition of hundreds, if not thousands of creative influences involved in a blockbuster franchise production exacerbates this situation and limits the creative control of a director, but using MacCabe’s description of authorship means seeing a franchise production not as a situation in which corporate influences stifle an artistic vision but rather as a site of negotiation between different authorial voices. Sometimes the multiplicity of creative influences can overwhelm a director’s voice to the point where it is difficult to distinguish one film in a franchise from another, but in other instances, a director’s sensibilities can negotiate with the other creative influences on the project to create a distinctive work.

Dudley Andrew argues for a similar view of authorship: “To ‘begin’ a project is not to originate a work, but rather to deflect a flow, to branch off in a direction. This limited sense of novelty retains the power of individual effort and critique while recognizing the greater power of the social system within which anything that makes a difference must begin… Why not apply [this view] in some degree to a Ridley Scott, whose attempt to branch out from the road picture in Thelma and Louise (1991) seems more heroic for its collapse in the film’s final chase sequences.” [18] Andrew shifts the question of authorship away from an either-or proposition and back to the idea of tension present in Sarris’ early auteurist analysis. While Sarris argues, “The strong director imposes his own personality on a film; the weak director allows the personalities of others to run rampant,” [19] tension in this sense need not mean conflict. Cuarón’s decision to collaborate with David Heyman again on Gravity suggests that their relationship was not one in which one person wrested artistic control away from the other. This sense of tension refers to the presence of multiple creative influences negotiating with each other in ways that can appear contradictory. A film can have both distinctive elements that reflect an individual authorial presence and more homogenizing elements that reflect the wider array of creative influences on the film, whether from the genre requirements that Andrew describes or from the other collaborators on the project. In this view, authorship of a film like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is not a matter of dictatorial influence from either the director or the studio, but rather a matter of tension and negotiation among seemingly contradictory voices.

“The Brightest Witch of Your Age”: Distinctions from the Franchise

Signs of directorial authorship, such as visual motifs and signatures, can be found in Prisoner of Azkaban through images that appear similar to Cuarón’s other films and distinctive from the rest of the franchise. Some of the connections to Cuarón’s other work are small details that are not significant for the narrative but demonstrate some of the types of images that reappear in his films. One such moment occurs when the Whomping Willow, a magical tree with control over its limbs, shakes snow from its branches like a dog, causing drops of snow to land on the camera lens, which is significant because of its similarity to a moment in Cuarón’s subsequent film Children of Men. During that film’s climactic battle scene, drops of blood stick to the lens for more than a minute before disappearing, either from digital removal or in a hidden cut to a new shot. These moments are certainly different in their reasons for existing: the moment in Children of Men could very well have been an accident, while the moment in Prisoner of Azkaban is manufactured in a computer generated image of a digital tree shaking digital snow onto a “lens” that does not exist. Yet, the decision to use the blood on the lens in Children of Men is still a deliberate choice: even if it was an accident, Cuarón could have decided to use another take or digitally remove the blood. The similarity of these two moments creates a recurring motif in Cuarón’s work: images in which physical material from the diegesis sticks to the camera. The scene in Children of Men takes place in a muddy, bloody battle, shot with a handheld camera that emphasizes a sense of chaos, and one of the effects of the blood on the lens is to almost literally rub an audience member’s nose in the violence. The moment in Prisoner of Azkaban is tonally very different, playfully splashing viewers with snow. However, there is a similarity in how it attempts to immerse the viewer in the material reality of the narrative world.

Kristin Thompson also notes visual similarities between Prisoner of Azkaban and Cuarón’s Gravity (2013), such as the use of floating foreground objects. [20] A clear visual similarity occurs during a scene in which Harry takes a private lesson from Professor Lupin in an office with an enormous model of the solar system that moves on its own, with unattached planets orbiting through the air, which do not appear when this location is used in the previous film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (dir. Chris Columbus, 2002). When these orbs pass in front of the characters in the foreground, there is a visual similarity to a specific moment from Gravity, in which the protagonist cries in zero gravity, causing her tears to float toward the camera. In both moments, the floating orbs are created digitally, indicating a deliberate directorial decision, and like the connection to Children of Men, a recurring motif in Cuarón’s work. The tears in Gravity carry emotional significance, but the orbs in Prisoner of Azkaban have no emotional or narrative relevance, creating the sense that this is something like a signature, a form of authorship that the director sneaks into the film without disrupting the story.

Even though this moment seems insignificant, the creative use of foreground and background is an example of the general visual style of the film, one that also helps to situate Prisoner of Azkaban within Cuarón’s work and distinguish it from the previous Potter films. The visual contrasts between Prisoner of Azkaban and the first two films of the series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (dir. Chris Columbus, 2001) and Chamber of Secrets, demonstrate that Cuarón’s film constructs scenes in a fundamentally different way than Columbus’ Potter films do. As the films contain almost entirely the same characters, most of the same locations, and similar narrative events, it is possible to make direct comparisons between similar scenes to examine how the filmmakers interpret them visually. While the first two films use standard continuity editing practices of breaking scenes into master shots and alternating medium shots and close ups to convey information, Azkaban uses camera movement, wide framing, and visual depth to communicate similar information without cutting. Even though James Udden argues that Azkaban also uses standard continuity editing relative to the famous long takes in Cuarón’s other work, citing a consistent average shot length (ASL) in the first three Potter films of around 5 seconds, [21] Kristen Thompson draws attention to several instances in the film of shots that resemble some of the shots in Y tu mamá también, Children of Men, and Gravity, even if they do not reach the lengths of them. [22] Citing three shots that run longer than a minute, Thompson argues that the film shows Cuarón continuing to experiment with the technique that would define his more celebrated films even when working on a studio franchise. [23]

These shots are not isolated incidents, but instead represent a consistent practice of letting scenes play longer, without cuts, and at wider angles than in the Columbus films. Cutting occurs frequently in most scenes of action, which may account for the consistent ASL that Udden finds, but it is significant that many smaller-scale dialogue scenes tend to play out entirely in moving master shots, while editing breaks up similar scenes in the first two films. One of the shots that Thompson analyses is an exposition scene early in the film in which Mr. Weasley informs Harry that escaped criminal Sirius Black is searching for him. The scene lasts for one minute and 53 seconds without edits. [24] The camera follows the two characters as they move through the crowded Leaky Cauldron pub searching for a place where they can talk in secret, the camera following them from a distance until it pushes in for a close up of Harry at the end of the shot. The wide framing includes details that provide context for the scene without the need to cut: a wanted poster for Sirius puts his face into the frame while they talk about him, and other bar patrons sitting down near the characters provide motivation for them to keep moving.

Thompson does not note the significance of how this scene compares to a similar one in Sorcerer’s Stone. That film also contains a scene of someone revealing information to Harry in the Leaky Cauldron: Hagrid telling Harry how his parents died. It starts with a high angle wide shot of the two characters sitting at a table in the center of a mostly empty pub, then cuts to a level medium wide shot from behind Hagrid of Harry, his owl, and two other patrons sitting in the background. The sequence continues in alternating close ups of Harry and Hagrid as each one speaks. At one point, Hagrid tells Harry to be quiet, suggesting that like Mr. Weasley in the other scene, he does not want to be overheard, but Columbus does not include any other patrons in the frame when this happens. Before shifting to a flashback after 50 seconds, the scene has used 13 shots. The difference in the two scenes is not just a matter of framing and editing, but is also a matter of staging. The shot pattern in the scene from Sorcerer’s Stone is not the most imaginative way of structuring the scene, but it is a conventional way to construct a scene in which two characters talk to each other at a table.

In contrast, the characters in the scene from Prisoner of Azkaban constantly move through the location, providing a motivation for moving camerawork similar to Cuarón’s other films like Y tu mamá también and Children of Men. The way that the camera follows Harry and Mr. Weasley as they search for a secluded spot is similar to the way that the handheld camera follows Theo through the refugee camp during the climax of Children of Men as he searches for cover: both scenes have a sense of constant movement, following and reframing characters as they resituate themselves out of admittedly different degrees of fear. As in other connections between Azkaban and Cuarón’s other films, there is a stronger narrative reason for this technique in Children of Men, but this implies a strong directorial hand in the corresponding scene in Azkaban: without a narrative requirement to do so, Cuarón choreographs the scene to emphasize a sense of constant motion that has become a recurring device in many of his films.

Thompson also emphasizes similarities between a long take in Prisoner of Azkaban and a shot in Y tu mamá también.[25] The shot in Azkaban shows Harry and his friend Hermione traveling back in time in their school’s infirmary, follows them running down a corridor, continues moving forward through a giant clock mechanism after the characters have moved away, then tilts down to watch through a window as they run across a courtyard. Thompson argues that this is a high-tech version of a simpler shot in Y tu mamá también: [26] a wide shot shows Luisa in the living room of her apartment waiting to leave, and after she does, the camera tracks behind a wall covered in pictures, through the kitchen and to a window through which it tilts down to see her entering a car. In both instances, the camera leaves the characters to express something about the situation before returning to them from a distance at the end of the shot. The pictures of Luisa’s past on her wall allude to the way that she tries to reconnect with her youth knowing that she is going to die, and passing through the clock mechanism emphasizes the idea of traveling through time (it is interesting that time is crucial to both of these moments). The shot in Prisoner of Azkaban is part of a consistent visual technique of letting scenes play in single shots and using camera movement and framing to emphasize the context of locations within the same shot, marking a different approach to constructing scenes than the Columbus films. This contrast in visual technique between the two directors demonstrates Cuarón’s ability to express an authorial presence within the framework of the franchise.

“Turn to Page 394”: Continuity and Fidelity

However, a complete understanding of Prisoner of Azkaban requires recognizing the elements that complicate the possibility of assigning Cuarón authorial status. Even some of the aspects that distinguish the film among the franchise are part of the contradictory web of authorship. One of the most striking elements of the film is in the way it breaks continuity with the previous films. Prisoner of Azkaban establishes a new geography for Hogwarts castle, adding a crooked bridge over a valley and moving Gamekeeper Hagrid’s hut down to the bottom of a steep hillside overgrown with grass and weeds. These new features are most often seen when the children walk to Hagrid’s hut, making what was an easy passage across a flat, freshly-cut lawn in the previous films much more complicated. The effect of this change is to make the castle, and especially the path to Hagrid’s seem less tidy and closer to nature. It is difficult to know the origin of the decision to change the castle’s geography, but since screenwriter Steve Kloves also wrote the previous two films and Stuart Craig served as production designer for the entire series, it is possible that it came from the new director. This would seem to be an example of the kind of idiosyncrasy that the Marvel framework Johnson describes would not allow, but it is possible that these changes are exceptions that prove the rule since such noticeable changes would probably have to be approved by the producer and the studio. The significance of the changes distinguishes Prisoner of Azkaban from the previous Potter films, but the significance also suggests that Cuarón was not the sole agent of these changes, even if he originated the ideas. The complexity of the authorial web means that multiple voices had to be part of the conversation regarding such a decisive break in continuity.

In addition, many of the film’s distinctive elements are motivated by the source material. The issue of adaptation adds to the complexity of the authorship question, leading to the idea that for Cuarón to be the author of this adaptation, he would have to make the film his own. Thomas Leitch describes how Alfred Hitchcock was able claim authorship over his films even though some of them were adaptations of novels: “To establish himself as an auteur… Hitchcock had to wrest authorship of his films away from… the author of the original property.” [27] The ability to accomplish such a shift in authorship was partially due to Hitchcock’s decision to adapt obscure novels rather than classics. [28] An adaptation of a Harry Potter novel emerges in clear contrast to this concept: it would be unrealistic to expect a filmmaker to make radical changes to a high- profile novel with a large fan base. If forcibly stamping authorship on an existing property is a way to make the authorial question clearer, authorship in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban remains complicated.

Much of what distinguishes the visuals of Prisoner of Azkaban from the previous two films has a connection to the source material. One of the most significant differences between Cuarón’s film and Columbus’ films is the color palette. While the Columbus films are generally bright and colorful, Prisoner of Azkaban tends toward darker images dominated by muted colors. At around 40 minutes into both Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban, the main characters attend their Defense Against the Dark Arts class. Diegetically, they take place in the same location, and the set design of the two scenes is similar. Both scenes even include the fossil of some unidentified winged beast hanging from the ceiling. Yet, while the scene in Chamber contains high key light streaking in through the windows as sunlight and bright fill light on the children’s faces, in Azkaban both the key and fill light are dimmer. Furthermore, the Chamber scene gives the students books that are bright red and green, creating dots of color throughout the classroom. In contrast, the colors in the Azkaban scene are dominated by the dark robes of the students and the grey of the stone walls; even the streaks of red on the robes are muted.

The color palette in Prisoner of Azkaban has a direct connection to the weather. Like Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban contains a match of the airborne wizard sport Quidditch, but while the games in the Columbus films take place on bright, sunny days, the one in Azkaban occurs during a ferocious thunderstorm. In addition to limiting the light in the scene, the weather conditions provide a diegetic reason for muting the colors of the grass, the stadium, and the players’ uniforms, which appear very bright in the previous films. This difference in weather from the Columbus films is present throughout Prisoner of Azkaban. Most if not all of the daytime exterior scenes in Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets take place under bright sunlight. In exact contrast, nearly all of the daytime exteriors in Prisoner of Azkaban are overcast. According to cinematographer Michael Seresin, the production had not planned on filming in rain, but simply encountered 28 days of rain during a 30-day shoot in Scotland. [29] While it would be giving Cuarón too much credit to attribute the authorship of natural occurrences to him, he and Seresin used the gloomy atmosphere of the exteriors to influence the general aesthetic of the film, right down to the miniature department spraying the model of Hogwarts with mist. [30] The contrast is even present in shots that seem to be mostly comprised of digital elements. The reveal of Hogwarts in Sorcerer’s Stone takes place on a cloudy night, but the students have a clear view of the castle, while in Prisoner of Azkaban, sheets of rain obscure the view. The cumulative effect of these visual contrasts is to create a film with a tone and mood that is much different from the previous films.

However, the use of rain and overcast skies is also present in the source material. The addition of rainstorms to several of the scenes shared between the films (the trip on the Hogwarts Express, the arrival at Hogwarts, and the Quidditch match) is drawn from Rowling’s novel. [31] The general overcast nature of the color palette for much of the film correlates with the bad weather Rowling describes in the weeks leading up to the Quidditch match, [32] and while it is not a permanent characterization of the weather throughout the story, the description of clouds thickening while the train nears Hogwarts sets a tone for the story that distinguishes it from the previous novels in the same way the film distinguishes itself from the previous films. [33] Rowling even describes the sky just before the climactic chapters as “a purple-tinged grey,” which is similar to the color palette during the corresponding scenes in the film. [34] The overcast tone of the visuals plays a significant role in the mood of the film and is one of the key features that distinguish it among the franchise, but the authorship of this aspect of the film becomes complicated and harder to trace when the source material provides motivation for it.

Bombarda: Spectacle and Magic

In addition to the similarities between Cuarón’s film and its source material, the sequences of action and spectacle in the film serve as complicated sites of negotiation in which the more distinctive directorial voice present in much of the film has the potential to become lost in similarities to the other films in the franchise. One of the purposes of a fantasy blockbuster is to deliver images of spectacle, and therefore these moments are of central significance to the film. Furthermore, since much of the impact of action scenes comes through the visual realm, they would seem to be arenas in which a director could exercise a greater degree of creative control. However, while Cuarón is able to bring a distinctive vision to some aspects of the spectacle scenes, other aspects demonstrate the ways in which the franchise structure can push against the voice of a director.

Much of the authorial tension regarding spectacle scenes relates to the use of computer- generated images and the large number of artists required to create these images. An American Cinematographer article from the time of the film’s release describes the visual effects process as taking place over a year with more than 500 people working at eight facilities in the United States and England. [35] Those statistics reinforce the idea of a blockbuster production as an industrial rather than artistic enterprise and suggest why Cuarón attempted to “downplay the visual effects” in making the film, according to a retrospective interview he gave in 2011. [36] It is possible to find a distinctive sensibility in the ways in which Cuarón sought to use practical effects techniques to accomplish some of the film’s spectacular images. To create the Knight Bus sequence, in which Harry takes the Wizarding Community’s extremely rapid public transportation system, Cuarón claims that his approach was to imagine how the scene would have been created in the 1950s. [37] While the interior bus shots were done on a hydraulic set with a bluescreen, [38] exterior shots involved filming the bus on location at a slower frame rate so that it would appear to race through the streets at 24 frames per second. [39]

Undoubtedly, this sequence also involved CGI, but the practical technique is evident in the way that the movement of the bus lacks the smooth motion of a computer image. A similar sequence of Harry riding in a magical vehicle occurs in Chamber of Secrets: in that film, he rides in a flying car that appears to be mostly CGI. While the movement of the Knight Bus is dominated by a sense of jerkiness, the flying car moves smoothly, even as it swings sharply through the air. The smooth motion of the flying car is consistent with the tone of its scenes in Chamber of Secrets: a sense of wonder and awe dominates these moments. The quick, jerky movement of the Knight Bus is consistent with the comedic tone of its scene in Prisoner of Azkaban, in which Harry twice smacks his face into a window when the bus stops. CGI might not have prohibited a similar tone, but the use of practical effects provides Cuarón with a way to make this sequence tonally distinctive from a comparable scene in the previous film.

It is also possible to see Cuarón’s attempt to avoid using CGI to create spectacle in his approach to creating the Dementors, the floating, cloaked guards of Azkaban prison. The DVD supplements depict a process of creating the creatures that eventually arrived at using CGI but started with Cuarón wanting to use puppets. [40] Unsatisfied with the initial puppet tests, Cuarón proposed filming puppets in slow motion underwater, an idea that the filmmakers tested before realizing that it would not be feasible. [41] However, Cuarón used the underwater tests to demonstrate the kinds of images that he wanted for the creatures. [42] The influence of this process is evident in the ethereal way that the Dementors float. The first image of a Dementor on the Hogwarts Express is of the creature floating slowly behind a glass pane; it almost resembles something drifting in an aquarium. Cuarón’s influence is especially evident in comparison to how these creatures are depicted in the fifth film Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (dir. David Yates, 2007). In that film, the Dementors are far more corporeal: it is much easier to see the outlines of their bodies, and at one point, one of the creatures is able to close its hand around Harry’s throat and lift him up against a wall. In contrast, the bodies of the Dementors in Prisoner of Azkaban are less corporeal and more fluid. At some points during their attack on the Quidditch game, they appear more like floating cloaks than creatures with bodies. The creation of these creatures for the film is a narrative of negotiation: choosing to use CGI meant shifting to a situation in which singular creative control is impossible, but it did not mean Cuarón surrendered all artistic influence on these images. Even when using techniques that require an army of technicians, Cuarón is able to create distinctive images.

On the other hand, the sequences involving the hippogriff Buckbeak demonstrate the ways CGI can limit or inhibit the influence of the director. In the interview from 2011, Cuarón describes wanting to avoid CGI in order to evoke films like the original King Kong, in which the visual effect is not seamless, forcing the viewer’s imagination to fill in the gaps, but he admits that a creature like Buckbeak has to appear photorealistic. [43] The fact that the scenes with this creature forced him to diverge from the general approach that he wanted to take to the film’s spectacle might explain why those scenes are the ones that appear most similar to the Chris Columbus Potter films. When describing how his filmmaking style differs from Columbus’, Cuarón says that he tends to shoot only the shots he needs while Columbus covers action from several angles and then assembles scenes in the editing room. [44] This difference in style is apparent in much of Prisoner of Azkaban, but the scene in which Harry rides Buckbeak as he flies over Hogwarts in a series of shots from high and low angles feels more in keeping with the coverage style of a director like Columbus that Udden claims is characteristic of the entire film. Aside from differences in tone and the general difference in color palette, there is little to distinguish the formal construction of the scene from a similar one in Chamber of Secrets in which Harry and Ron lose control of the flying car when arriving at Hogwarts: both scenes use multiple angles to show a quick flight over the castle.

The constraints of creating such a technically difficult scene can explain why it contains less of Cuarón’s particular style. In a DVD feature about the scene, producer David Heyman describes how the cost of the scene mandated that it be thoroughly storyboarded and pre- visualized prior to shooting. [45] While many of the ground-level shots in the film certainly required thorough planning, the added complication in the Buckbeak scene is the compositing of different effects elements. The flight over the castle involves images of Daniel Radcliffe filmed on a bluescreen, a miniature of the castle, background images of the Scottish countryside, and the digital creature. [46] The need to match all of these images together might explain why the shots in this scene are so still in a film when the camera seems to move constantly. This is not to say that the scene is poorly constructed or that Cuarón should have forced his more noticeable techniques onto the scene. However, it is significant that one of the film’s major spectacle set pieces would showcase fewer hallmarks of Cuarón’s style, such as long takes and fluid camera movement, than many of the film’s smaller-scale scenes.

The idea that the use of visual effects would limit the creative influence of the director stands in contrast to Julie Turnock’s work on the development of blockbuster aesthetics in the work of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg in the 1970s. Turnock associates blockbusters such as Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind with the New Hollywood auteurist cinema (typified by filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese and Hal Ashby) by arguing that visual effects gave Lucas and Spielberg greater control over their images. [47] As an example, she uses the opening shot of Star Wars, in which two spaceships soar over a planet, to argue that the effects used in this scene gave Lucas the “ability to completely design and mobilize the mise-en-scène,” describing this as “compositional control of the image within the frame.”[48] The argument that special effects can provide a director with greater control of the image is an accurate characterization of the use of effects in Cuarón’s Gravity, which crucially uses a largely digital environment to create extended examples of the long takes for which Cuarón has become famous: the most prominent instance is the opening shot, which lasts for nearly 13 minutes.

It is possible to explain the difference in special effects use between Azkaban and Gravity as a matter of experience: Azkaban was Cuarón’s first extensive experience with CGI. [49] Another factor is that Cuarón’s role as director, co-writer and co-producer in Gravity is similar to Elsaesser’s concept author. Greater creative control over the material may have allowed Cuarón to craft a story that would give him the opportunity to marry CGI with his particular sensibilities: i.e. a zero-gravity environment provides a clear motivation for a floating, weightless camera. In his role as a non-concept author director on Azkaban, Cuarón needed to fit his sensibilities to existing material: even though the Buckbeak scene involves flying through space, capturing the action in one shot with similar camera movement might not have fit with the sequence.

It is possible to notice in Azkaban the seeds of his use of CGI in Gravity. Thompson argues that the Quidditch sequence provided relevant practice for visualizing characters in zero gravity, [50] and the way that one shot sweeps around Dumbledore in the stands as the camera follows Harry past him is similar to the ways in which Cuarón’s virtual camera in Gravity sweeps quickly through space. Other effects connections abound: the aforementioned floating objects and the way that Harry spins upside down on his broomstick, which appears similar to the way that the characters in Gravity often appear upside down. Azkaban also contains an instance in which Cuarón uses CGI to extend a shot into a longer take: when Harry and Hermione travel back in time, they are digitally placed into a shot that has been reversed, and when they run down the corridor, Cuarón pushes the camera through a computer-generated clock mechanism to tilt down onto a digital landscape. [51] At just over one minute in length, this shot is not as extended as several of the shots in Gravity, but it demonstrates a similar way in which Cuarón used CGI in a way that contributed to, rather than hindered his signature techniques.

Nevertheless, there is a crucial difference between the uses of CGI in Gravity and Azkaban. In Gravity, there is very little distinction in visual style between what one might call a “normal,” character-based moment and an effects moment. In the opening shot, Cuarón can pass from an intimate dialogue moment between Sandra Bullock and George Clooney to an epic vista of the Earth simply by moving the camera through the digital environment. The transition is nearly seamless, and there is no change in the general visual style of the film. In contrast, Azkaban presents clear distinctions in visual style between “normal” character scenes and effects scenes. It is significant that the most visually distinctive moments in Azkaban are often dialogue scenes. The conversation between Harry and Mr. Weasley in the Leaky Cauldron is one example, and another example involves the camera gliding through the Great Hall, catching dialogue from different house tables in one, constantly moving shot, which stands in contrast to Columbus’ construction of similar scenes by cutting back and forth between the different tables. Technically, this latter shot is an effects shot: the primary momentum of the camera follows the movement of a speeding CGI ghost. Yet, the purpose of the shot is to move the plot through dialogue. While the Knight Bus, the Dementors, and the Quidditch scene showcase inventive effects moments, the locked-down nature of the first Buckbeak scene demonstrates that for a non-concept author director negotiating authorship on a franchise film, small-scale, character- based scenes can provide a more consistent opportunity for visual invention than spectacle.

Related to the issue of spectacle is the question of how the film depicts magic, a particularly significant question for a fantasy film about wizards. Anecdotes that Cuarón and Rowling have provided in interviews suggest that they have different views of magic and that the issue of how to depict it was one of the sites of negotiation in the film’s production. Both of them have described one of Cuarón’s rejected ideas for the film: during the choir scene that occurs when the heroes arrive at Hogwarts, Cuarón proposed a shot in which the camera would enter an instrument to see tiny people jumping up and down on keys to make the music, but Rowling rejected this idea because it did not fit with her vision for the Potter universe. [52] Cuarón has mentioned this in a number of interviews as a positive example of his experience working with Rowling, suggesting that he has not viewed this as a tense disagreement. Nevertheless, the reasons that Rowling has given for vetoing the idea are significant for demonstrating her view of the way that magic functions in the universe she created. According to her, the magic in the Harry Potter stories always has a structure behind it, and based on that, she questioned the reason for those creatures to exist, other than to be photographed. [53] Rowling views magical events as having explanations or at least a structure of some kind, but Cuarón’s idea suggests that his view is one in which magic does not have a structure or a clear explanation behind it. This is not to suggest that Cuarón should have significantly changed the way that magic functions in the Harry Potter universe, but rather to argue that the film’s depiction of magic is a complicated site of negotiation. The limitations set by the franchise mean that the film does not belong entirely to Cuarón and that his ideas about how one of the most significant aspects of the film’s world should function must negotiate with the views of the author.

“We Were the Best of Friends”: Past, Present, and Coming of Age

The fact that the franchise context mandates that Cuarón be faithful to the source material and the work of a previous filmmaker would seem to suggest that his role in directing Prisoner of Azkaban is that of the metteur en scène, transposing another artist’s material to the screen with a degree of style but without demonstrating significant authorship. Yet, this does not adequately describe the nature of authorship in the film. Within the authorial negotiation, it is possible to see a strong directorial hand in the way that Prisoner of Azkaban expresses themes that appear multiple times in Cuarón’s career: children coming of age and adults reconnecting with, confronting, or regretting their past. Far from being a situation of a filmmaker simply shepherding someone else’s material, seen within the context of Cuarón’s career Prisoner of Azkaban presents another opportunity for him to depict a dynamic between past and present.

Cuarón’s films A Little Princess (1995), Great Expectations (1998), and Y tu mamá también are all stories involving young people growing up. It is also significant that Children of Men centers on the importance of children and the way the world is broken without them: in a scene set in an abandoned school, one character mourns living in a world without the sound of children laughing. When wondering why a director who can make distinctive adult films like Y tu mamá también and Children of Men would choose to make a Hollywood children’s film, the answer seems to be that stories about young people have been crucial throughout his career. Making a sexually explicit adult film like Y tu mamá también is one way to express themes about youth and growing older; making a Harry Potter film is another way.

Prisoner of Azkaban begins just after its protagonist has turned 13. While Harry is not as old as the characters in Y tu mamá también, he is beginning to deal with more complicated teenage emotions than he dealt with in the previous two films: the opening sequences of the film focus on the way his anger slips out of his control, showing him lashing out at his abusive aunt and uncle. When he tells his two best friends that he accidentally turned his aunt into a human balloon, he receives two different reactions: his friend Ron approves, but Hermione says, “It’s not funny. Harry was lucky not to be expelled.” Harry replies, “I think I was lucky not to be arrested actually,” referring to a law against underage wizards using magic outside school. The use of the word “arrested” is jarring because as much rule-breaking as the heroes committed in the previous stories, there was never a sense that they could be incarcerated. The characters are still children, and this is still a PG-rated film, but they have entered a more complicated realm of adolescence, nearing though not yet reaching the characters in Y tu mamá también.

This is all present in the book, but the presence of Cuarón as director shifts the material into a different context than the previous films. Even though his previous children’s literature adaptation A Little Princess played a role in the decision to hire him, an interview with J.K. Rowling before the film’s release suggests that Y tu mamá también was part of this decision as well: talking about her response to the idea of him directing the film, she says that she “really, really loved Y tu mamá también. Alfonso just obviously understands teenage boys, and you know my characters are 13 now.” [54] The decision to hire a director whose previous effort was a Spanish-language independent film suggests that the producers wanted him to bring an art house quality to the project, and according to David Bordwell, a crucial part of the art cinema mode is the implication that an art film is “the work of an expressive individual.” [55] Even though publicity interviews should not be taken entirely at face value, the association between the art house context and the concept of personal expression is present in David Heyman’s insistence that he wanted Cuarón to “make the film his own.” [56] This reinforces the possibility that the producers hired an art house auteur in the hopes that he would bring an artistic personality and a sense of mature storytelling to the film as the franchise accomplished a transition in its tone and the development of its characters. An interview with Daniel Radcliffe suggests that shifting the material into an art house context was also part of Cuarón’s approach: the director asked Radcliffe to watch The 400 Blows “as a reference for Harry and his angst.” [57] The suggestion that Cuarón had The 400 Blows in mind when making the film perhaps explains why the film ends on a freeze frame close up of Harry. It also provides a sense of what Cuarón wanted to do with this material. There is no doubt that the film is a Hollywood entertainment, and the direction serves that interest, but Cuarón’s approach has connections to a more serious and adult context.

Both Prisoner of Azkaban and Y tu mamá también deal with teenagers, but they also involve teenagers meeting adults who are reconnecting with their youth. In Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry meets former Hogwarts classmates of his dead parents as their old friendships and rivalries create a new conflict. In Y tu mamá también, two teenage boys Julio and Tenoch convince an older, married woman to go on a road trip with them. The audience does not know why she has chosen to join them until the film’s end: she has found out that she has cancer and is going to die soon. This combined with her husband’s most recent infidelity drives her to join these boys on this trip. It would be too simplistic to say that she wants to relive her youth; she wants to live her life as much as she can before she dies. However, youth and the past are certainly on her mind as she nears death. She buys a pink toy mouse with her name on it, she is curious about the boys’ lives, particularly their sex lives, and she tells them about her past.

Both films use visual style to express a dynamic between past and present. An example of this in Y tu mamá también occurs in the car when the boys ask Luisa what she does for a living and what she wanted to do when she was a child. The shots of Luisa explaining why she became a dental technician (she needed to support her aunt) and what she wanted to do (travel) show all three of the characters in the car. The reverse shots only show Julio and Tenoch listening. The fact that many times the film has been able to show all three characters in the car at once emphasizes the fact that while she is trying to connect with them, they have no real connection to what she is saying. This is evident in the dialogue: when this woman who unbeknownst to them is nearing the end of her life tells them she wanted to spend her life traveling, Julio’s response is, “Yeah, taking trips is awesome.” He is too young to know the regret of someone who wanted to see the world and knows she never will. The framing of the shots emphasizes this disconnect between the characters and expresses the way that an adult can regret the past in a way to which a young person does not relate.

The dynamic between past and present becomes literal in the diegesis of Prisoner of Azkaban when Harry and Hermione travel back in time during the climax, at times watching their past selves perform actions they had performed only hours ago. The film uses its visual style to place past and present elements within the same image. An example of this occurs when Harry and Hermione hide behind a stone wall as their enemy Malfoy and his friends run past: the shot places the heroes in the left foreground behind the wall, Malfoy and his friends in the center and then left middle ground as they run past, and the heroes’ past selves in the right background. The time travel sequence literalizes the story’s theme of past and present colliding, and the visual style helps to express that by placing those elements in the same frame.

The collision of past and present finds emotional expression in the Shrieking Shack sequence when a tense reunion of former schoolmates Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Severus Snape, and Peter Pettigrew occurs in front of the film’s heroes, current schoolmates. For much of this sequence, the children do very little while the adults confront each other. Therefore, themoments when the images include or do not include the children are significant. When Sirius and Remus confront their old enemy Snape and tell him that he “has come to the wrong conclusion” about Sirius, the shot begins with Harry, Hermione, and Ron in the right background, but as it follows Sirius and Lupin to the left of the frame, it pans away from the heroes. Including the children in the background establishes that this quarrel between old schoolmates is occurring in front of current schoolmates, but the pan away from the children and the way the next five shots exclude them suggests that the older characters are too obsessed with their past problems.

The presence and absence of children in the frame has a particular similarity with Children of Men, in which an absence of children dominates the entire film, particularly the scene in the school, a moment in which Theo sees child-like drawings on the wall of a bathroom, and the scenes of Theo at his friend Jasper’s house. The latter example is especially significant because it involves reminders of children: a photo on a wall of Theo and his wife with their baby and a scene of Jasper describing the baby’s death. Similarly, a picture of Harry’s parents plays an emotional role in Azkaban, and family pictures also appear in A Little Princess, Y tu mamá también, and Gravity. For Cuarón, directing a children’s film is very much in keeping with the themes that preoccupy much of his work. He uses some of the basic material of film directing (what is in the frame and what is not in the frame) [58] to express thematic relationships between the young and the old and between the past and the present.

The opportunity to visually express thematic material similar to themes in his other films is still part of the authorial web because the themes emerge from the source material, and the film does not significantly alter them. This returns to the problem of adaptation. When Peter Wollen discusses adaptation in the context of auteurism, he argues that the source material should serve as a “catalyst” for a director’s vision: “Incidents and episodes in the original screenplay or novel can act as catalysts; they are the agents which are introduced into the mind (conscious or unconscious) of the auteur and react there with the motifs and themes characteristic of his work. The director does not subordinate himself to another author; his source is only a pretext, which provides catalysts, scenes which fuse with his own preoccupations to produce a radically new work.”[59] Wollen describes some of what Cuarón does in combining the thematic material of the novel “with his own preoccupations” about the relationship between the past and the present and between children and adults, but it would be difficult to argue that Cuarón’s film is radically different from the source material or even from the other films in the franchise. As much as the film distinguishes itself among the other films, the reality of a franchise limits the ability of a film to be a “radically new work.” Wollen is depicting something closer to the Hitchcock adaptations that Leitch describes, in which a director takes control away from the author and makes something new.

Yet, the fact that Cuarón has not completely remade the material does not mean that he has “subordinated himself” to it in the way that Wollen describes. The reality lies in betweenthese extremes. Prisoner of Azkaban fits in the context of the Harry Potter franchise, but it can also fit within the context of Cuarón’s films about children and the relationship between past and present. Cuarón does not originate this thematic material or radically change it, but the film expresses this material in very similar ways to Cuarón’s other work. The complicated, contradictory nature of authorship in a franchise blockbuster means that Prisoner of Azkaban cannot be seen as the product of a singular artistic vision, but it does mean that a distinctive directorial hand can be present within the authorial web.

Conclusion: “You May Do a Very Personal Film”

Cuarón has claimed that it was his friend, noted fantasy filmmaker Guillermo del Toro who advised him to direct Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and who told him to “serve the material,” saying that if he did, his personal preoccupations would flow naturally into the project and he could end up making “a very personal film.” [60] The idea of serving the material seems to be antithetical to auteurist analysis and contrary to Wollen’s insistence that an auteur “does not subordinate himself to another author.” [61] It would seem to reinforce the assumption that the nature of a franchise production like this stifles the voice of an interesting director. There is understandable frustration when a distinctive director works within the confining structure of a franchise. It is most likely impossible for a franchise blockbuster to be the expression of a singular artistic voice. It is unreasonable to expect a Harry Potter film to be Y tu mamá también. However, viewing the franchise structure as a negotiation among a number of creative voices is more productive than viewing it as a stifling of artistry. The negotiation perspective allows for the possibility of a successful negotiation: a distinctive work of popular art that is all the more exciting because of the barriers to its existence. This phenomenon is not common, but it does happen: Prisoner of Azkaban is an example of it. The significance of this kind of film occurring manifests in the above quote from Cuarón, which shows that he wanted to do two seemingly contradictory things: he wanted to serve the interests of someone else’s story and make a personal film. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban demonstrates that the contradiction Cuarón describes is possible, that he was able to make a film that distinguishes itself from the franchise while remaining part of that franchise, that thematically belongs to both him and J.K. Rowling, and that manifests the personal within the corporate.

[1] James Udden, “Child of the Long Take: Alfonso Cuaron’s Film Aesthetics in the Shadow of Globalization,” Style 43.1 (2009), 27.

[2] Deborah Shaw, The Three Amigos. The Transnational Filmmaking of Guillermo Del Toro, Alejandro González Iñárritu, and Alfonso Cuarón (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013), 14.

[3] Shaw, 48.

[4] David Bordwell, “The Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice,” Film Criticism 4.1 (1979), 59.

[5] Andrew Sarris, The American Cinema: Directors and Directions: 1929-1968 (New York: DaCapo Press, 1996), 20.

[6] Ibid, 31.

[7] Ibid, 54.

[8] Ibid, 53.

[9] Peter Wollen, Signs and Meaning in the Cinema (New York: Palgrave Macmillan on behalf of the British Film Institute, 2013), 62.

[10] Colin MacCabe, “The Revenge of the Author,” Film and Authorship, Ed. Virginia WrightWexman, (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2003), 37.

[11] Thomas Schatz, “The Whole Equation of Pictures,” Film and Authorship, Ed. Virginia WrightWexman, (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2003), 91-93.

[12]Derek Johnson, “Cinematic Destiny: Marvel Studios and the Trade Stories of IndustrialConvergence,” Cinema Journal 52.1 (2012), 17.

[13] Ibid, 13.

[14] Thomas Elsaesser, The Persistence of Hollywood, (New York, NY: Routledge, 2012), 286-7.

[15] Ibid, 288.

[16] Kristin Thompson, The Frodo Franchise: The Lord of the Rings and Modern Hollywood, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 20

[17] MacCabe, 37.

[18] Dudley Andrew, “The Unauthorized Auteur Today,” Film Theory Goes to the Movies, Ed. Jim Collins, Hilary Radner, and Ava Collins (New York  : Routledge, 1993), 82-307), 26.

[19] Sarris, 31.

[20] Kristin Thompson, “Harry Potter Treated with Gravity,” Observations on film art, 18 September 2013 (http://www.davidbordwell.net/blog/2013/09/18/harry-potter-treated-with-gravity)

[21] Udden, 29.

[22] Thompson (2013).

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid.

[27] Thomas M. Leitch, Film Adaptation and Its Discontents  : From Gone with the Wind to The Passion of the Christ (Baltimore, Md: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007), 239.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Patricia Thomson, “A Wizard Comes of Age,” American Cinematographer 85.6 (2004), 1 (http://www.theasc.com/magazine/june04/cover/index.html)

[30] Ibid.

[31] J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (New York: Scholastic Inc, 1999), 79, 86, 175.

[32] Ibid, 144.

[33] Ibid, 78.

[34] Ibid, 330.

[35] Thomson, “Wizard,” 1.

[36] “Alfonso Cuarón: A Life in Pictures.” British Academy of Film and Television Arts. 20 December 2011 (http://www.bafta.org/film/features/alfonso-cuaron-a-life-in-pictures) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8uPiOGHufE)

[37] Ibid.

[38] “Conjuring a Scene,” Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban DVD Extras (2004).

[39] Ibid.

[40] “Conjuring a Scene.”

[41] Ibid.

[42] Thomson, “Wizard,” 1.

[43] BAFTA.

[44] Ibid.

[45] “Conjuring a Scene.”

[46] Ibid.

[47] Julie Turnock, Plastic Reality: Special Effects, Technology, and the Emergence of 1970s Blockbuster Aesthetics (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015), 112.

[48] Ibid, 121.

[49] Thompson (2013).

[50] Ibid.

[51] Thomson, “Wizard,” 1.

[52] “Creating the Vision,” Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban DVD Extras, (2004).

[53] “A Conversation with J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe,” Harry Potter and the DeathlyHallows Part 2 Blu-Ray Extras, (2011).

[54] J.K. Rowling, quoted in Claudia Puig, “New ‘Potter’ movie sneaks in spoilers for upcoming books” USA Today (27 May 2004, http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/2004-05-27-potter-movie-book_x.htm)

[55] Bordwell, 59.

[56] “Creating the Vision”

[57] Daniel Radcliffe, quoted in Steve Daly, “Daniel Radcliffe bares his… thoughts,” Entertainment Weekly (11 July 2007, http://www.ew.com/article/2007/07/11/daniel-radcliffe-bares-histhoughts)

[58] The quote widely attributed to Martin Scorsese: “Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out.”

[59] Wollen, 93-95.

[60] BAFTA.

[61] Wollen, 93-95.

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Udden, James. “Child of the Long Take: Alfonso Cuaron’s Film Aesthetics in the Shadow of Globalization.” Style 43.1 (2009).

Wollen, Peter. Signs and Meaning in the Cinema. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire  ; New York  : Palgrave Macmillan on behalf of the British Film Institute, 2013.

Y tu mamá también. Dir. Alfonso Cuarón. Perf. Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal, and Maribel Verdú. Anhelo Producciones, 2001.

 

 

 

 



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