Thursday, April 9, 2015

Auteurs (The Great Directors of Cinema History): Part 3 – Movies Spotlight – April 2015

List is in alphabetical order.


Part III – The Modern Director (A.K.A. Blockbusters or Small Indies)


Style/system: American; works in American independent film; flawed characters, stylized moving camera, memorable use of music, an overall aesthetic flare
Active: 1988-Present
Key films to see: Boogie Nights, Magnolia, There Will Be Blood, and The Master


Style/system: American; works in American independent film; highly stylized aesthetics (down to the smallest detail), wonderful and ambitious camera moves, stylized blocking, youths with potential and adults not reaching their potential, memorable use of music
Active: 1994-Presnet


Jacques Audiard
Style/system: French; works in France; an aesthetic flare, but also an actor’s director, flawed characters looking for redemption, gritty settings, dramatically specific/effective use of violence
Active: 1994-Present


Kathryn Bigelow
Style/system: American; works in Hollywood; a terrific use of dramatic tension and suspense, gritty action, strong performances despite films being plot driven
Active: 1978-Present
Key films to see: Point Break, The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty


Style/system: English; works in England, American independent film and Hollywood; frenetic/up-beat editing, digital photography pioneer; leaves room for comedy in his dramas
Active: 1987-Present
Key films to see: Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, 28 Days Later…, Sunshine, and Slumdog Millionaire


James Cameron
Style/system: American; works in Hollywood; big action movies and grand epics, pushing technology forward (basically, singlehandedly resurrected 3D, for better or worse), an explorer at heart (especially in documentary work)
Active: 1978-Present
Key films to see: The Terminator, Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Titanic, and Avatar


Coen Brothers (Joel and Ethan)
Style/system: American; work in American independent film; highly stylized dialog and aesthetics, masters of composition and camera movement, as well as narrative storytelling that deviates from the norm (regardless of genre), oddball characters, leaders of America’s resurgence of independent cinema in the 1980s/1990s
Active: 1984-Present


Sofia Coppola
Style/system: American; works in American independent cinema; highly stylized aesthetics, wandering/free form narratives that feel far more about character than plot, great use of music
Active: 1996-Present
Key films to see: The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation and Somewhere


Style/system: Mexican; works in Mexico, England and Hollywood; brilliant long-take tracking shots, naturalistic feel to his work despite often making sci-fi, fantasy and actions films
Active: 1983-Present


Style/system: American; works in Hollywood; prolific music video director, a master of the mystery thriller, bleached out color schemes often on the cool side of the palate, brilliant, specific and expertly used camera moves
Active: 1985-Presnet
Key films to see: Se7en, Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo


Miyazaki Hayao
Style/system: Japanese; works in Japan; the master of Japanese animation, highly influential for today’s leading animation storytellers, an expert in narrative storytelling and use of drama/comedy
Active: 1972-Present
Key films to see: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle


Todd Haynes
Style/system: American; works in American independent film; subversive narrative structure, provocative storytelling, complex eroticism, wonderful performances
Active: 1978-Present
Key films to see: Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, Velvet Goldmine, Far from Heaven, and Mildred Pierce (HBO Miniseries)


Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Style/system: French; works in France; surreal narratives, exaggerated color palates, an aesthetic flare, odd characters and locations yet also charming
Active: 1978-Present
Key films to see: Delicatessen, The City of Lost Children, Amelie, A Very Long Engagement, and Micmacs


Spike Jonze
Style/system: American; works in Hollywood; a prolific music video director, narratives that push the boundaries – feeling as they might exist in our world but also strange and foreign, things are always just a bit off, elicits phenomenal performances
Active: 1991-Present
Key films to see: Being John Malkovich, Adaptation. and Her


Krzysztof Kieslowski
Style/system: Polish; worked in Poland and France; a magnificent use of color and sound (music), deeply emotional narratives and performances, striking aesthetic, powerfully moving storytelling
Active: 1966-1994
Key films to see: A Short Film About Love, A Short Film About Killing, The Double Life of Veronique, Three Colors: Blue, and Three Colors: Red


Ang Lee
Style/system: Taiwanese; works in American independent film, Hollywood, England, and China; conflict between tradition and modernity, repressed emotions, powerful dramatic storytelling, superb performances
Active: 1982-Present
Key films to see: Eat Drink Man Woman, The Ice Storm, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain, and Life of Pi


David Lynch
Style/system: American; works in American independent film; bizarre narratives, creepy characters, often surreal, violent, highly stylized aesthetics
Active: 1966-Present
Key films to see: Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, The Straight Story, and Mulholland Drive


Michael Mann
Style/system: American; works in Hollywood; a master of the crime drama, violent, stark, authentic, highly stylized aesthetics (often featuring wonderful photography)
Active: 1968-Present
Key films to see: Thief, The Last of the Mohicans, Heat, The Insider, and Collateral


Steve McQueen
Style/system: English; works in England and Hollywood; powerful, emotional dramas, wonderful long-take shots (often employing a static camera), garners sensational performances, a true artist
Active: 1993-Present
Key films to see: Hunger, Shame and 12 Years a Slave


Style/system: English; works in England, American independent cinema and Hollywood; the master of the modern blockbuster/epic, psychological narratives, disjunctive narrative structures, grand action sequences, practical effects (in a world of cgi), a champion of film over digital
Active: 1997-Present
Key films to see: Memento, The Prestige, The Dark Knight, Inception, and Interstellar


Park Chan-wook
Style/system: Korean; works in Korea and American independent film; brutal, precise aesthetics, black humor
Active: 1992-Present
Key films to see: J.S.A.: Joint Security Area, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Oldboy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, and Thirst


Quentin Tarantino
Style/system: American; works in American independent film; violent, great dialog, highly stylized and referential aesthetics, a film fan first, a leader of the revitalization of America’s independent cinema, a champion of film over digital
Active: 1983-Present
Key films to see: Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Inglourious Basterds, and Django Unchained


Thomas Vinterberg
Style/system: Danish; works in Denmark, England and American independent film; co-founder of Dogme 95 (a movement to simplify film production), champion and pioneer of digital photography, deeply dramatic narratives, character-driven films, an actor’s director
Active: 1990-Present
Key films to see: The Celebration, Submarino and The Hunt


Lars von Trier
Style/system: Danish; works in Denmark, England and American independent film; co-founder of Dogme 95 (a movement to simplify film production), a minimalist, often makes provocative narratives, pushes social boundaries, highly stylized aesthetics
Active: 1967-Present
Key films to see: Europa, Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, and Melancholia


Wong Kar Wai
Style/system: Chinese; works in China, France and American independent film; a director’s director, emotionally dramatic narratives, solemn tones, tragic romance, a wondrous use of color, highly stylized aesthetics
Active: 1988-Present
Key films to see: Days of Being Wild, Chungking Express, Fallen Angels, In the Mood for Love, and 2046

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Auteurs (The Great Directors of Cinema History): Part 2 – Movies Spotlight – April 2015

List is in alphabetical order.


Part II – The Rise of the Auteur and Experimentation



Woody Allen
Style/system: American; worked in American independent film; known for his dialog and contribution to the romantic comedy genre
Active: 1966-Present
Key films to see: Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Midnight in Paris


Robert Altman
Style/system: American; worked in Hollywood and American independent film; large ensemble casts, naturalistic style, a leading filmmaker in the New Hollywood era
Active: 1951-2006
Key films to see: MASH, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Long Goodbye, Nashville, and The Player


Ingmar Bergman
Style/system: Swedish; worked in Sweden; a director’s director, very influential and beloved by those who came after him, his work often focused on the human condition
Active: 1946-2007
Key films to see: The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Persona, Cries and Whispers, and Fanny and Alexander


Bernardo Bertolucci
Style/system: Italian; worked in Italy and America; strikingly beautiful and poetic films, often dealing with character facing moments of monumental change in their lives
Active: 1962-Present
Key films to see: The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, 1900, and The Last Emperor


Robert Bresson
Style/system: French; worked in France; influenced the filmmakers who birthed the French New Wave, a director’s director (influential and beloved), Jean-Luc Godard wrote: “Robert Bresson is French cinema, as Dostoevsky is the Russian novel and Mozart is German music.”
Active: 1934-1983
Key films to see: Diary of a Country Priest, A Man Escaped, Pickpocket, Au Hasard Balthazar, and Mouchette


John Cassavetes
Style/system: American; worked in American independent film; an actor’s director, known for garnering some of cinema’s greatest performances from his troupe of actors, often made films about normal life and the great strain that exists within it
Active: 1959-1986
Key films to see: Faces, A Woman Under the Influence, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Opening Night, and Gloria


Francis Ford Coppola
Style/system: American; worked in Hollywood and American independent film; a prominent member of the New Hollywood wave of filmmakers, the filmmaker of the 1970s (only to seemingly never again make a truly great film)
Active: 1959-Present
Key films to see: The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather: Part II, Apocalypse Now, The Outsiders, and Dracula


Stanley Donen
Style/system: American; worked in Hollywood; marvelous musicals (with Gene Kelly) and masterful Hollywood genre films (with Audrey Hepburn), bright and colorful, pure Hollywood
Active: 1949-1999
Key films to see: On the Town, Singin’ in the Rain, Funny Face, Charade, and Two for the Road


Federico Fellini
Style/system: Italian; worked in Italy; blends fantasy and baroque imagery with realism, yet another of the most influential filmmakers of those to follow him
Active: 1950-1990
Key films to see: La Strada, The Nights of Cabiria, La Dolce Vita, 8 ½, and Amarcord


Milos Forman
Style/system: Czech; worked in Czechoslovakia and Hollywood; a leader of the Czechoslovak New Wave moment, bringing his biting satire and rebellion against authority to Hollywood
Active: 1960-Presnet
Key films to see: The Loves of a Blonde, The Fireman’s Ball, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Hair, and Amadeus


Jean-Luc Godard
Style/system: French; worked in France; a leader of the French New Wave, an artist often working with experiment cinema techniques
Active: 1955-Present
Key films to see: Breathless, Vivre Sa Vie, Contempt, Band of Outsiders, and Pierrot le Fou


Stanley Kubrick
Style/system: American; worked in Hollywood and England; evocative films, strikingly beautiful films, incredibly influential, a prominent leader of the New Hollywood wave
Active: 1951-1999
Key films to see: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Barry Lyndon, and The Shining


Sergio Leone
Style/system: Italian; worked in Italy and America; known for his grand Spaghetti Westerns (modernizing and stylistically changing the western forever)
Active: 1954-1984
Key films to see: A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, The Good , the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West, and Once Upon a Time in America


Sidney Lumet
Style/system: American; worked in Hollywood; an actor’s director with expert craftsmanship, prolific, his films often address social realism
Active: 1952-2007
Key films to see: 12 Angry Men, Fail Safe, The Hill, Dog Day Afternoon, and Network


Style/system: American; worked in American independent film; ethereal filmmaking almost more montage than narrative, more poetic than structured, stunning visuals, deeply philosophical
Active: 1969-Presnet


Jean-Pierre Melville
Style/system: French; worked in France; a minimalist, French film noir and gangster films, his style is the epitome of cool, influenced the French New Wave
Active: 1946-1972
Key films to see: Bob le Flambeur, Le Doulos, Le Samourai, The Army of Shadows, and Le Cercle Rouge


Mike Nichols
Style/system: German; worked in Hollywood and Broadway; an actor’s director, experimental and aggressively progressive stylistically completely changing the narrative language on American cinema with one film (The Graduate)
Active: 1966-2007


Sam Peckinpah
Style/system: American; worked in Hollywood; innovative and explicit use of violence, reworked the western to be much grittier and moral ambiguous (replacing white hats and black hats with versions of gray)
Active: 1958-1983
Key films to see: The Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, The Getaway, and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia


Roman Polanski
Style/system: Polish; worked in Poland, England, France and Hollywood; a master of the thriller, an expressive style utilizing camera movement, framing and mise en scene to their greatest effect
Active: 1955-Present
Key films to see: Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby, Chinatown, The Tenant, and The Pianist


Nicolas Roeg
Style/system: English; worked in England; disjunctive editing, cryptic plots that are fascinating even so (to be revealed in full in the end), films that draw the view in, often terrifying due to a foreboding sense of atmosphere
Active: 1970-2007
Key films to see: Performance, Walkabout, Don’t Look Now, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and Bad Timing


Style/system: American; worked in Hollywood; a leader of the New Hollywood wave, revitalizing the American gangster film (along with Francis Ford Coppola), highly stylized use of music, camera moves and editing, cinema’s greatest student, fan and protector
Active: 1959-Present
Key films to see: Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and Casino


Style/system: English; worked in England and Hollywood; a grandiose scene of scope and scale, atmospheric visuals, modernization of sci-fi crossing it over with other genres (like the horror/thriller and noir/hard boiled detective)
Active: 1965-Present
Key films to see: Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, and Black Hawk Down


Steve Spielberg
Style/system: American; worked in Hollywood; created the modern blockbuster (along with George Lucas) and blockbuster filmmaking, a leader of the New Hollywood wave, maybe the world’s most famous director
Active: 1959-Present
Key films to see: Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and Schindler’s List


Andrei Tarkovsky
Style/system: Russian; worked in Russia, Italy and Sweden; a director’s director, changed film language for many to follow him with his style and storytelling, life as a reflection, as a dream
Active: 1956-1986
Key films to see: Ivan’s Childhood, Andrei Rublev, Solaris, The Mirror, and Stalker


Fran├žois Truffaut
Style/system: French; worked in France; a principal filmmaker of the French New Wave, a student and critic of cinema, as well-versed as any
Active: 1955-1983
Key films to see: The 400 Blows, Shoot the Pianist, Jules and Jim, Stolen Kisses, and Day for Night