She was an art student and then an art teacher. She did some acting in a Lizzie Borden film. Her early interest in films were by European filmmakers like Passolini and Fassbinder and moved through American B-movie directors of the ‘50s, and then to the likes of Sam Fuller, Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah.
As an exercise in learning narrative, she adapted novels (Patricia Highsmith gave her a free option on “Enough Rope,” which she wrote but couldn’t finance), and even wrote an episode of the TV series “The Equalizer.”
Is Kathryn Bigelow as auteur? I think she is because even though she did not write most of her films, she has definitely put her own spirit and trademarks into them. For example: she likes the first person point of view and uses this method in most of her films. Most of her films are not feminist in nature, although her film called The Weight of Water is about women trapped in suffocating relationships.
What I find fascinating about her is that all her movies have been independent and she took a tremendous risk making The Hurt Locker. No other directors wanted to make it. She made it very true to life and documentary like. She doesn’t do what Bell Hooks explained in Making Movie Magic from Reel to Real, “..give the reimagined, reinvented version of the real."