Autuer versus director... in your opinion, what's the difference between the two?
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I would say the difference is, an autuer makes a film where it's obvious who directed it because it's unique to that director.
Is it harder to be an autuer these days than in da past?
Ha! Quite so I'd say in the current climate of feature film making. Seems you have to do either a tent pole studio movie or you have to do a $100k feature. Not much in the middle anymore. Even Michael Bay is saying this - http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/michael-bay-to-direct-tranformers...
From inception of the term “auteur” in Cahiers du Cinema, the personal vision of the director has never been easier to achieve than it is now. It takes less knowledge, investment and experience to shoot and edit than it ever has. From low priced cameras that can get their images in very low light to free high quality editing programs all the tools are readily available to allow one person to make their whole picture. Which is the unlimited expression of “auteur”. Perhaps the difference might be that the auteur expresses only their vision while a director is part of a team.
Hitchcock/ Truffaut described an auteur to be The Artist Who Writes with a Camera in its documentary (recently released... but based on the book of the same name).
I feel an auteur is really someone who has massive influence on all aspects of the film. The first directors that come to mind are Steven Soderbergh, Robert Rodriguez, some others are probably Quentin Tarentino, James Cameron. - This is the google definition: a filmmaker whose personal influence and artistic control over a movie are so great that the filmmaker is regarded as the author of the movie.