Oh yes, it’s time to start another of these! Who are the ten best directors? I have the feeling that this is going to be one of the most discussed ones.
Making the initial list has been very hard and there are tons of directors I think should be mentioned, but of course I had to narrow it down, which means some of your favorites might not be in here. Don’t worry though as the rules of this relay race are as follows:
So what’s the idea behind the relay? I’ve created a list of what I think are the ten best directors. At the end of the post I, just like in a real relay race, hand over the baton to another blogger who will write his own post. This blogger will have to remove one director (that is an obligation) and add his own choice and describe why he/she did this. At the end the blogger chooses another blogger to do the same. We will end up with a list (not ranked in order) which represents a common agreement of the best directors.
If you are following the relay race it is also a great way to be introduced to new blogs!
So which directors are on the starting grid? Who are The Ten?
Even though I’ve only started watching his movies a few years ago I’ve quickly become a big fan of the Master of Suspense. With more than 50 movies to his name Hitchcock has managed to make his mark in cinema. His movies featured great stories full of suspense, violence and crime often revolving about a MacGuffin, the term he coined for something which really isn’t important, but brings something to the movie that would drive the plot.
Most notable films: Psycho, The Birds, Dial M For Murder, Vertigo, North by Northwest, Rear Window
Tarantino is a director who lives movies. He gained a lot of film knowledge working as an employee of the Video Archives. He took inspiration from all the various genres he loved and started writing scripts. When his first film Reservoir Dogs came out he was a fresh breath of air and has been ever since. A director who to me hasn’t made a bad movie yet.
Most notable films: Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Inglorious Basterds
A list of the best directors wouldn’t be complete without Kubrick. He is known for “unique cinematography, attention to details to achieve realism and an inspired use of music scores” (from Wikipedia). He was a director who almost had complete control over what he made and it makes his films unique. He managed to stun with 2001 and shock with A Clockwork Orange.
Most notable films: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket, The Shining
Can’t leave Steven Spielberg out of this list. I grew up watching a lot of his movies and every time I hear his name I somehow associate it with magic. It’s difficult to put my finger on what that magic is, but I’ve been enjoying his work since E.T. He has shown that he can tackle any genre, whether it is family friendly stuff or drama.
Most notable films: E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Indiana Jones, Saving Private Ryan, The Color Purple, Schindler’s List, Jaws, Jurassic Park
In making this list I just couldn’t leave out Miyazaki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli. He was relatively unknown in the West, but with Princess Mononoke he gained popularity. His movies have very strong links with nature. The worlds he creates are full of color and imagination with characters you immediately fall in love with. With his studio has shown that animation can be brought to amazing heights, outdoing Disney.
Most notable films: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service
Although he might not have as many movies under his belt as some of the other directors on this list, Aronofsky is responsible for creating some very memorable films, including my all time favorite movie Black Swan. He manages to tell stories in a way you haven’t seen before and does so in a visceral way. A director to watch in the coming years.
Most notable films: Black Swan, Requiem for a Dream, Pi, The Wrestler
Together with Tarantino probably the biggest “movie nerd” on the list. This is a man who loves movies and he has talked about it in several documentaries. Behind the camera his knowledge of film is clear and his filmography impressive. He finally got his Oscar (which many agree he should have received many years ago) for directing The Departed.
Most notable films: Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Raging Bull, The Departed, Mean Streets, Casino, The Last Temptation of Christ
Just looking at the movies these brothers have created, it’s clear these are two very talented men. I found this quote on coenbrothers.net about their movies and couldn’t describe it better myself: They “built a reputation as one of the most visionary and idiosyncratic filmmakers of the late 20th century. Combining thoughtful eccentricity, wry humor, arch irony, and often brutal violence, the films of the Coen brothers have become synonymous with a style of filmmaking that pays tribute to classic American movie genres — especially film noir — while sustaining a firmly postmodern feel.”
Most notable films: Fargo, No Country for Old Men, Barton Fink, Raising Arizona, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Big Lebowski, Miller’s Crossing
As one of the most important and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema, Kurosawa needs to be included in the list. He inspired George Lucas to make Star Wars and Spielberg has said to have learned more from him than any other filmmaker. Many other directors have praised him and he used many techniques in the same film to add drama to what you experience. An example is his use of slow motion or the framing of the appearance of men on top of a hill in Seven Samurai. Things which have been copied many times, but he was exploring it as one of the first.
Most notable films: Seven Samurai, The Hidden Fortress, Ikiru, Ran, Rashômon, Yojimbo, Kagemusha, Throne of Blood
Nolan is another director who to me has made an almost perfect set of movies. Known as very technical director (preferring to shoot on film and do as much as possible without special effects) he has succeeded to bring unique stories to the screen, whether it is the story about a man with memory issues, the rivalry between magicians, the power of dreams or a caped crusader, there is no director like him. I always describe his movie as cerebral, you can’t help but think about them while you are watching them.
Most notable films: Memento, The Prestige, Inception, Batman trilogy
With the initial list now set it’s time to hand over the baton for the first time to Tyler from Southern Vision.
So what are your thoughts on the list? Are you missing directors or are there directors that I shouldn’t have put in?