15 Directors Meme
I’ve been tagged by filmgeek at Final Cut. This one is simple enough, I’m to list fifteen directors who have changed the way I look at motion pictures. See filmgeek’s selections here. Without putting too much thought into it, here are fifteen directors who came to mind sooner, rather than later (in reverse alphabetical order by first name, because I had to think less that way).
Stanley Kubrick was one of the first directors I started checking out when I decided to dedicate myself to film. It’s easy to understand why his films like 2001, The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut and A Clockwork Orange whet my appetite for more. I couldn’t hold him in higher regard. P.T. Anderson needs no explanation. He directed one of my all-time favorites, Magnolia, his films are larger than life. He’s my own, personal, updated version of Robert Altman.Mike Nichols directed by gateway film Wit, and a recent favorite Closer, but he’s also been cutting edge since the sixties when he directed Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. I love his way of putting plays on the big screen, focusing on emotion and dialog rather than action or suspense.Michel Gondry piked my interest as much with his features films, as with his music videos for Bjork and Daft Punk. He refuses to conform, and he’s just weirdly beautiful. The severity of Michael Haneke took my breath away with the original Funny Games. And each of his films I saw after didn’t leave much to be desired. He’s brutal, and poignant, and unforgiving with his work. I know I’m going to be beat to hell when watching his stuff, but I’ll come out of it grateful for the experience.Whether I like it or not, Michael Bay has hugely influenced my view of film, particularly popular film. He’s a steadfast beacon of everything film shouldn’t be, and what I should avoid. His influence to get me to not see something is only rivaled by my favorite directors who’s influence could get me to see anything. Matthew Barney has widened my idea of the film spectrum. He has taken the art much further than I ever thought possible. I probably won’t really get it, but I’ll watch anything he puts out.Like Haneke, Lars von Trier is a brutal filmmaker who pushes all my buttons in the right way. I may not like what he puts out (see: Antichrist), but his filmmaking is distinct, and emotional and violently interesting as a push-and-pull interaction between director and viewer. I love French New Wave, which is how I was introduced to Jean-Luc Godard. But even more than his early films, the stuff he did in the seventies, namely Week End stand as a perfect example of everything film can and should be. No one on this list has influenced my idea of film more than Ingmar Bergman. I know it’s cliche, but it’s true. His pondering, metaphysical filmmaking is mesmerizing to me and no one could ever compete with his canon of work.Gus van Sant was an early introduction for me. The way he moves between popular film, and art house stuff served me well, as I wasn’t afraid to attempt his lesser known films. My Own Private Idaho and Drugstore Cowboy will also stand out in my mind as great films. Even his lesser stuff like Gerry is better than most films in theatres today.What is there to say about Federico Fellini? This may sound like a backhanded compliment, but it’s not. Fellini taught me patience. His pacing is slower, and I was used to Hollywood, nonstop-explosion-pacing. But after watching five or six Fellini films, I learned to appreciate different styles of film.David Lynch, in my opinion, is an auteur of the very best kind. I don’t think he’s weird for weirdness’s sake. He really just does what interests him. Which turns out to be some freaky awesome movies. And while no one comes close to his caliber, I can’t thank him enough for his surrealist influence on the industry.David Fincher taught me it’s okay to be an angry young man in Fight Club. He scared the shit out of me with Se7en, and messed with my mind in The Game. What more could I want from a director?Andrei Tarkovsky taught me that not everything that came out of the Soviet Union was retarded. He also taught me that I didn’t need to understand every aspect of a film or its meaning to enjoy, or get anything out of a film. Thanks, Andrei.