Robert Altman – hit or miss; best films are moody, folky (folksy is a dumb word), melancholy atmospheric, antiheroic
Woody Allen – comedy; you know what Woody Allen
Theodoros Angelopoulos – saw Landscape in the Mist. Liked it. Very Tarkovsky-like. I could not finish seeing Ulysses’ Gaze (or however it has been translated into English). I failed three times!
Michelangelo Antonioni – meditative (sublime, spiritual,
insert word), visual composition, very architectural eye, focus on spaces, light,
shadow. (Good films in the 50s- L’Avventura, La
Jacques Becker – stylish, smooth, very French, themes of honor, gangster narratives move along and compel plenty. Films are to be savored along with suitable (French) wine (and cheese).
Ingmar Bergman – master storytelling using symbolism, ellipsis, and just going straight to the gut-wrenching emotional core of the thing. But because of this his films, with few exceptions, are very painful and taxing to watch, like undergoing psychotherapy yourself. But again there are moments of such beautiful film stock (usually black and white but Cries and Whispers is a tour-de-force in color) that no amount of pain is too much; once punched a film critic! With a surplus of irony, he’d be almost perfect.
Stan Brakhage [see attachment]
Robert Bresson – cerebral, meditative, seemingly detached but gripping (if you pay attention), meticulous, detailed, mis-en-scene, let’s you do some of the work (imagining), use of ellipses, narratives (working with the style) are engrossing. Unique
Luis Buñuel – a trouble maker alright. More later.
Tim Burton – peculiar and unique style. Like a less-perverted Greenaway. I hope I am not selling TB short here.
Leos Carax – I have seen The Lovers of the Pont Neuf, a film on losers, on people who live on the street. Sometimes compared to the early Wong Kar-wai
John Carpenter – for mid-80’s desolation. Can’t beat it. Quirky bleak fun. Not an entirely intellectual filmmaker, but not entirely mindless action either.
Claude Chabrol – I am refusing to investigate Chabrol thinking he will just be a lesser version of Godard and other French New Wavers, of which I am—let’s just say, I’m okay thanks (like when they ask if you want dessert in a Taqueria).
Henri-Georges Clouzot – cynical (but with some humanity), very suspenseful (like a darker alternative to Hitchcock—which is of course a very lazy way to describe this great director). Timeout Guide and others vastly underrate this great director. But I do not underrate Timeout, when I say they suck ballsacks.
Jean Cocteau – indeed. Very important—as a historical figure in the history of art (particularly in the French modernist movement) as much as a film director. Just see Orpheus (1950) and decide for yourself. Then see Beauty and the Beast (1946). And decide for yourself. Then go back and see Blood of a Poet (1930). And decide for yourself. Compare self-injection to Welles. Compare style to his French-temporaries like Clouzot, Becker, Melville (And Buñuel regarding Blood). Not that I’m saying they’re the same, but just to give you a reference point.
Francis Ford Coppola – I would say just watch The Godfather I & II and see what you think. Apocallipse Now is a masterpiece. Oh, yeah right. Forgot.
David Cronenberg – weird, stylized, homoerotic. Definitely interesting.
Brian De Palma – just see Scarface. And see what you think. De Palma is to Cassavetes what Digital Underground is to George Clinton (P-Funk).
Carl Theodor Dreyer – start with Joan of Arc (1928). Gertrud is a must, perhaps theatrical in its composition, but deep and touching (especially for middle-aged women, I guess)
Sergei Eisenstein – essential for film buffs. Some may be bored.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder – more later. I need to see more first. And God that’s no small task.
Federico Fellini – who cares what I think about Fellini?
Samuel Fuller – quirky, film-noir-esque, but stories always end up being quite odd—and interesting.
At the beginning, in the early 1950s, there was the minority report offered by Manny Farber, who praised Fuller among those post-'40s filmmakers who find their "best stride in a culture-free atmosphere that allows a director to waste his and the audience's time", calling fond attention to the "episodic, spastically slow and fast" rhythm of the work, its "skepticism and energy". – Senses of Cinema
Terry Gilliam – visionary, fantastical, sort of like a prelude to Alfonso Cuarón.
Jean-Luc Godard – experimental, juvenile, brilliant. Entertaining but nontraditional (nonlinear) style will appeal to some more than others. Beautiful images. Beautiful ideas. Do they always work? Forces one to ask questions like “what is art?” and “what is coherence?” and “how should a film be made?”
Michael Haneke – film is on the way (Netflix). If you like it, try The Piano Teacher, and Benny’s Video, and Caché (his last film)
Werner Herzog – the ecstasy of truth. As visionary and skilled as Kubrick, Tarkovksy, others, but with an empathy and a profound connection to story like that of Fassbinder, Renoir, or take your pick. I know no other director who can blend fiction and reality so seamlessly—and make so much pleasure from it.
Alfred Hitchcock – again, my input is as irrelevant as my dick.
Jia Zhangke – see Tsai review for now. I’ll say more later.
Chuck Jones – my favorite of the four major Looney Tunes directors.
Abbas Kiarostami – slow films, he likes showing a lot of takes from a car, it is interesting, but I wonder how much is lost in the negociation between cultures
Krzysztof Kieslowski – good. I agree. Elegant, with characters always struggling with the most important concerns in life. Maybe sometimes a bit too obvious in his symbols.
Takeshi Kitano – exciting, wide ranging themes.
Stanley Kubrick – meticulous, perfectionist, classic films have entered our vocabulary (whether you realize it or not). Just look at his titles. You’ve probably seen most of his films already. And for a good reason.
Akira Kurosawa – Just see Seven Samurai if
you haven’t already. And go from there. One of film’s most
deft masters. And I thought that even before I worshipped
Fritz Lang – Just see M or Metropolis and go from there.
Sergio Leone – amazing. Films a guy can watch over and over and over and never get bored. Once Upon a Time in the West must be considered for one of most momentous and re-watchable films of all time.
David Lynch – very idiosyncratic. I love Dune and I don’t care what anyone says.
Terrence Malick –
Luis Malle -
Jean-Pierre Melville – slick.
Kenji Mizoguchi – what the hell? Criterion…needs to get off their ass here. Big time.
Hayao Miyazaki – makes the same film over and over, but man what a film it is…a totally sublime fantasy of anachronism only possibly through animation but which entirely transcends animation like only a very small handful can.
Mikio Naruse – see Mizoguchi (re Criterion and what they know they need to do).
Mamoru Oshii – I’ve seen the anime Ghost in the Shell; it’s really good. Haven’t seen his other stuff yet.
Yasujiro Ozu – one of film’s all-time master storytellers (and filmmakers). You cannot not cry watching any of his films (with exception of Good Morning, which is great, but you don’t have to cry). Films you will want to watch again, although you only need to see once for them to be permanently burned into your brain. Unique filmmaking style which you will just have to see for yourself.
Pier Paolo Pasolini – sensual, disturbing, jarring. Mixing his kind of realism with classical stories. I, myself, have not yet formed a solid opinion of 3P.
Sam Peckinpah – violent and possibly misogynistic films with the most intense and memorable moments. Ripping. Just ripping.
Powell & Pressburger – the most beautiful body of Technicolor works I can think of alongside the best Hitchcock’s
Otto Preminger – great grip. Great historical context too. More when I’ve seen more.
Nicholas Ray by Jonathan Rosenbaum
Satyajit Ray –worthwhile
Carol Reed – very competent, some solid films. I hear.
Jean Renoir – the definition of humanity in cinema. One of the all-time great masters.
Nicolas Roeg – idiosyncratic, melancholy, desolate style.
Eric Rohmer – meticulous, skillful, crafty, big into heady dialogue. Some will get bored. I like him, never get bored- educated French people talk like that.
Roberto Rossellini – I need to get off my ass and see some of his films. This is my hole. Germany, Year Zero is a good point of departure
Douglas Sirk – master of melodrama. Once in a while, one can indulge something like that
Preston Sturges – witty, clever dialogue. Plots move along. No time to meditate here, just go. Classic stuff here. Slices of history as well, which will resonate more with Americans.
Seijun Suzuki – Branded to Kill is one of the most brilliant films ever made. (I take note) You have to watch several times. It takes a while to appreciate fully.
Andrei Tarkovsky – lyrical, meditative, one of the most profoundly unique visions of filmmaking that ever was. All of his films are revelations. His technique has been called “sculpting in time” and that is what he does. Just see one and go from there.
Jacques Tati – His comedies are a certain style which will appeal to some but not all. Playtime, however, is a completely unique experience in film, but it must be seen on a large screen.
Bertrand Tavernier – a very special filmmaker. What a mind—containing both the playfulness of Buñuel but a seemingly more mature and empathetic nature. His films draw you in and hold you. They can be seen and grasped once, but can also be re-watched again and again for an infinity of details.
François Truffaut – Jules and Jim, The 400 Blows, it is interesting the series on Antoine Doinel (5 films with the same protagonist playing the same character, from his childhood to his late 30s). I have them, just haven’t watched yet.
Tsai Ming-liang – subtle, understated (but perfectly artful), in-no-hurry, lyrical, things just happen, you have plenty of time to contemplate while you watch, stories about ordinary people, nothing not to like. If you are a patient person. If you like Tsai, try Jia Zhangke.
Agnès Varda – I’ve only seen Cleo from 5 to 7; it’s great, but particularly on a projector.
Paul Verhoeven – Robocop, Starship Troopers. Fun, quirky sci-fi with great cynicism.
Andy Warhol – art films? Whatever.
Peter Weir – beautiful images always. Lots of period films. They tend to mesmerize for a while, then you saturate. Sometimes there are moments which seem too blatant or unsubtle, but nonetheless the images and sounds do haunt. The feeling at the end of Year of Living Dangerously is very special.
Orson Welles – such playful and epic genius. His inability to not inject himself into his works so forcefully and flagrantly will be and has been off putting to some. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. There is some truly great stuff here. Besides of course Citizen Kane, I also truly love The Trial (again, especially on a projector with Welles).
Wim Wenders – another hole, of mine. Please
give me time. Irregular-
generally and particularly speaking.
– very clever, dry
sense of humor,
Wong Kar-wai – lyrical, haunting, blends melancholy with exhilaration in a very special way. Provides as many “nicotine moments” as any director I know. Epic but intimate at the same time. Nostalgia in the extreme.
Edward Yang – Yi-Yi was good.
Zhang Yimou – I’ll say something some other time. It’s late. Raise the Red Lantern. Saw it. It’s fine.