Author Topic: Filmspotters' Top 100 Film Directors: Your Lists  (Read 37009 times)

pixote

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Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Film Directors: Your Lists
« Reply #210 on: December 01, 2008, 08:02:12 PM »
Mizoguchi, I get - he dwells in bleak melodrama; the women suffer.  I can see that with the non-samurai Kurosawas (though, it maybe exactly his samurai pics that you feel are chores!).  But Ozu...  Have you seen his comedies?  There are lots of humor in his melodramas as well.  I chuckle throughout Late Spring, for instance.  It seems like people (not you) lump Ozu with directors like Bresson and non-early Dreyer (see what you did Paul Schrader), but Chaplin's, Harold Lloyd's (who, for my money, is up there with Keaton and Chaplin) and Lubitsch's influence can be spotted in Ozu's films.  On the other hand, it's probably Ozu's comedies that you feel are chores so nevermind :)

I'm trying to remember what Ozu comedies I've seen.  I Was Born But... and Ohayô were both delightful.  Yeah, it's not really that.  It's more just that the last Ozu film I watched was Floating Weeds (1959), and I was looking as forward to seeing that about as much anything, and it ended up really disappointing me.  So I've sort of been shying away from Ozu for a bit.  Presumably, the next film I see from him will get start the cycle again, with me excited to see everything he's done, only to get disappointed somewhere in there and back off for a while, etc.

Don't forget the incredible The Little Foxes!  I think it's Wyler's best film.

You know, I actually haven't seen The Little Foxes yet.  It's one of those film I've recorded a bunch of times or planned to watch live or whatever, but it's not yet happened.  There was also probably a time in there where I thought, hmm, maybe I should read Hellman's play first.  It's not on TCM anytime soon, so I might have to rent it, now that you've reignited my interest.  The Big Country is on TCM in a couple days, though.  Looking forward to that one.  I should also maybe watch Ben-Hur at some point, but that's another one of those where I always make an excuse (need to read the book first, need to see the silent version first, need to see it in 70mm, like I've had more than a couple chances to, etc.).  Plus I'm scared of Charlton Heston.

What's the reason for that?  The Big Sky is pretty underrated.  And, yes, I am one of those who thinks Rio Bravo is his best film.

My hesitancy to see more of Hawks' work from after 1950 is mostly just an instinct thing — a reluctance to see him work in color, fail to grow more as a director, recycle more of his older work, and such.  I've seen only seen Rio Bravo and bits and pieces of Monkey Business and Gentleman Prefer Blondes, and I just got a bad vibe from all of those.  I wish I remembered more clearly why I didn't like Rio Bravo; I suppose I should watch it again.  I'll try to catch The Big Sky at some point, too — but probably after Ceiling Zero and Air Force.

Have you seen Victor Erice's Dream of Light?

No, but I just put a hold on one of the VHS copies at the library.

What do you think of the films of Bill Douglas, Morris Engel, Ermanno Olmi, early Milos Forman, the Dardenne brothers, Cassavetes, and Peter Watkins?

I'm totally unfamiliar with Bill Douglas.  What should I hunt down first?  I think Engel's The Little Fugitive is such a special film, just on it's own, but also in the way it was made and the influence it feels like it had on The 400 Blows.  Haven't seen anything else by Engel.  For Olmi, I've only seen The Tree of Wooden Clogs, which didn't do much for me, but I don't remember it very well at all, and the fact that I'm surprised to see Olmi's name among these others tells me I should probably watch The Legend of the Holy Drinker sooner rather than later.  Except for Svankmajer, really, Czech film is a huge gap in what I've seen, and that extends to early Forman (and Chytilová).  I should really get on that.  The Dardennes seem like they'll probably be on my top directors list if we do it again in five years — and I base that on having seen just La Promesse.  Their style is perfectly appealing to me.  Cassavetes is a director I respect but don't really like — but I really haven't seen enough to make that kind of judgment (Shadows and A Woman Under the Influence, I guess).  In my head, I've sort of written off his films as having too many scenes of people shouting at each other.  That said, I still really really want to see The Killing of a Chinese Bookie.  I finally saw Watkins' The War Game and Culloden recently, the first of which I thought was good but not great.  I remain really optimistic about Edvard Munch.

I get the feeling that you took an 'outside the box' approach to your list.

That wasn't my intent, really.  There was a moment where I thought I might throw in some tv directors (Mark Tinker!) or directors with just one film to their credit (Lee Kwang-mo!), but the more time I spent thinking about it, the more effort I put into creating I list that I feel like I can truly stand behind.  I didn't even try to game the system by ranking the underdogs higher or anything like that.  What I posted was as accurate as I could make it.

I'm genuinely surprised at the inclusion of [Bresson] since I've never seen pix talk highly too highly of him.

I just feel very very comfortable in his world.

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Verite

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Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Film Directors: Your Lists
« Reply #211 on: December 01, 2008, 11:08:16 PM »
It's more just that the last Ozu film I watched was Floating Weeds (1959), and I was looking as forward to seeing that about as much anything, and it ended up really disappointing me.  So I've sort of been shying away from Ozu for a bit.  Presumably, the next film I see from him will get start the cycle again, with me excited to see everything he's done, only to get disappointed somewhere in there and back off for a while, etc.
I see.

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You know, I actually haven't seen The Little Foxes yet.  It's one of those film I've recorded a bunch of times or planned to watch live or whatever, but it's not yet happened.  There was also probably a time in there where I thought, hmm, maybe I should read Hellman's play first.  It's not on TCM anytime soon, so I might have to rent it, now that you've reignited my interest.
See it soon.

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My hesitancy to see more of Hawks' work from after 1950 is mostly just an instinct thing — a reluctance to see him work in color, fail to grow more as a director, recycle more of his older work, and such.  I've seen only seen Rio Bravo and bits and pieces of Monkey Business and Gentleman Prefer Blondes, and I just got a bad vibe from all of those.  I wish I remembered more clearly why I didn't like Rio Bravo; I suppose I should watch it again.  I'll try to catch The Big Sky at some point, too — but probably after Ceiling Zero and Air Force.
I think Hawks grows as a director in that period in that Rio Bravo is, looking at it from an auteurist stance, the pinnacle of Hawksian themes and the Hawks film world found in all the Hawks films prior to it (not that I think that was his intent).  But I'm with you in that that's the period in which Hawks recycles his older work with the obvious example being El Dorado and in a way repeats himself and, on the whole, I agree he doesn't grow.  So yeah, Rio Bravo is the only essential Hawks of that period from what I've seen of that period so far.

Have you seen Victor Erice's Dream of Light?
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No, but I just put a hold on one of the VHS copies at the library.
Considering your love for Kiarostami, I think that Erice is definitely something you should look into.  Critics often bring up Kiarostami when talking about Dream of Light with its blurring of reality and fiction.  There was a Erice-Kiarostami retrospective a while back that also included the two directors, I believe, creating artworks in response to the other's or something like that.

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I'm totally unfamiliar with Bill Douglas.  What should I hunt down first?
He only made four feature-lengths and only three of them are available as part of The Bill Douglas Trilogy:



It was released on DVD not too long ago by both the BFI and Facets.  Prior to that they had quite a reputation despite being underseen.  The films clock in at 46, 55, and 71 minutes respectively so the trilogy is not a daunting task.  There have been articles covering it because of the DVD release, and it's something I think you'd like given your love for The 400 Blows, The Little Fugitive and films with documentary impulses.  Keep in mind the Douglas films are very different in tone from the Truffaut and Engel.

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I think Engel's The Little Fugitive is such a special film, just on it's own, but also in the way it was made and the influence it feels like it had on The 400 Blows.  Haven't seen anything else by Engel.
I feel the same way.  Though, I think Lovers and Lollipops is better!  Weddings and Babies should be on TLF and LaL's level, but it's marred by the acting.  However, Weddings and Babies' footage of the street festival in Little Italy is wondrous; great documentary value.

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For Olmi, I've only seen The Tree of Wooden Clogs, which didn't do much for me, but I don't remember it very well at all, and the fact that I'm surprised to see Olmi's name among these others tells me I should probably watch The Legend of the Holy Drinker sooner rather than later.
Yeah, Wooden Clogs is extremely different from the films I have in mind for you when bringing up the brilliant Olmi.  I haven't seen The Legend of the Holy Drinker, but it also sounds different from what I have in mind for you.  I'm thinking about the masterpieces, Il Posto and I Fidanzati.

Have you been to the new Criterion Collection site?  They contain trailers for their films.  The trailer for Il Posto:
trailer

The film is also currently available for download for a $5 fee from them.  I assume there's compression involved.  I still haven't seen the site's orientation video.  If there is compression, I say rent the DVD which also has his very good, charming short La cotta.

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Except for Svankmajer, really, Czech film is a huge gap in what I've seen, and that extends to early Forman (and Chytilová).  I should really get on that.
If you liked the Engel and end up liking the Olmis, I think you'd like The Loves of a Blonde and Black Peter especially the former.

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The Dardennes seem like they'll probably be on my top directors list if we do it again in five years — and I base that on having seen just La Promesse.  Their style is perfectly appealing to me.
Man, if you found that film and its style to be appealing, I think you're gonna love The Son and The Child which I think are their two best films.  For my money, the former being one of the top ten (maybe) films this decade.

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Cassavetes is a director I respect but don't really like — but I really haven't seen enough to make that kind of judgment (Shadows and A Woman Under the Influence, I guess).  In my head, I've sort of written off his films as having too many scenes of people shouting at each other.
Just brought him up because it's in the ballpark of films with documentary impulses in my opinion.  Same with Peter Watkins.  Well, in the case of Watkins, it's pseudo-documentary.

I hope you see Il Posto soon.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2008, 11:10:36 PM by Verite »
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Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Film Directors: Your Lists
« Reply #212 on: December 01, 2008, 11:15:20 PM »
I didn't post my list here, but I was 20 for 20!
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Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Film Directors: Your Lists
« Reply #213 on: December 01, 2008, 11:15:48 PM »
I, too, was 20/20. Me and saltine rock very hard.
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Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Film Directors: Your Lists
« Reply #214 on: December 01, 2008, 11:17:50 PM »
17/20

Craven, Apatow, Rob Reiner didnt make it. But I knew that going in,.
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Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Film Directors: Your Lists
« Reply #215 on: December 01, 2008, 11:19:26 PM »
19/20

Kazan was the only one of mine that didn't make the list.
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Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Film Directors: Your Lists
« Reply #216 on: December 01, 2008, 11:19:51 PM »
19/20. Not bad. Soderbergh is all that matters though.
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Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Film Directors: Your Lists
« Reply #217 on: December 01, 2008, 11:25:22 PM »
12/20 i believe. Also, 2/5 for my top 5.
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Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Film Directors: Your Lists
« Reply #218 on: December 01, 2008, 11:25:59 PM »
I was 12/13.

People are not ready to accept Harmony Korine, I guess.

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Re: Filmspotters' Top 100 Film Directors: Your Lists
« Reply #219 on: December 01, 2008, 11:30:22 PM »
I was a surprising 19/20. I think it's the first time my tastes were reflected in a top 100 so overwhelmingly. My friend Denys Arcand was a casualty of war sadly.
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