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

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