Best Director Live or Dead

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Re: Best Director Live or Dead

Postby cola » Tue Apr 10, 2001 7:17 pm

Oh! Nobody has mentioned Sergei Paradjanov's name yet, so I'm going to. SHADOWS OF FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS is one of the greatest films ever made. THE COLOR OF POMENGRANATES is close behind (forget what AMG says about it being superior). He's a very different kind of filmmaker, but deserves to be acclaimed alongside Tarkovsky.

Re: Best Director Live or Dead

Postby katsuben » Wed Apr 11, 2001 12:41 am

Rather than merely making these purely personal lists, would someone like to set up some criteria for proper argument? I mean, even Andrew Sarris has his pantheon.

Re: Best Director Live or Dead

Postby firetree65 » Wed Apr 11, 2001 10:16 am

Funkyduck, that's an interesting proposal but I doubt if that would find better results in naming best director after what you call as "proper" argument. Film makers or film students would probably better come up with a criteria wherein the every aspect in film making is properly or equally weighed down and shared in. I remember in the 60's when film students and critics were ecstatic with the coming of Godard's films and almost everyone regarded him as the greatest film maker of all time. Expectedly, innovation generally takes a great weight in finding the best. I thought so myself when as a young teen, I thought Bertolucci's technical expertise was what made up for a great film. This decade, we have Lars Von Trier, Wong Kar-Wai and possibly Atom Egoyan pumping adrenaline for serious film buffs. But for regular film buffs (where I belong), it is difficult not be personal about a film or a director. For instance, if I were to choose the best director in form and narrative (that would include editing) I would find Resnais hard to beat. For visuals (which should not be confined to surrealism or dazzling qualities), Antonioni is unparalleled and maybe Bertolucci trailing behind. For originality, complexity, Godard comes to mind. For ensemble acting, the neo-realist directors and perhaps Bergman. Fellini for over-all rhythm. In none of these categories does my favorite director Tarkovsky emerge the best and yet he to me is greatest filmmaker of all time. I can't even think what his greatest film is because every one is. His films' form, rhythm, visual and verbal (which is the most visceral aspect in his works) have touched me like no other films ever did.

For dan-2, I don't mind sharing my personal views. It's fun to find out what others think. If you don't feel like sharing yours, then don't. This message board is for people who want to post their views, personal or otherwise.

Re: Best Director Live or Dead

Postby acquarello » Wed Apr 11, 2001 10:37 am

Okay, I'll bite. I alluded to the reason behind my submission of Carl Theodor Dreyer back in June (second post from top), which was his constant experimentation to create something original and unique in each of his films. His philosophy was never to create the same film twice.

"The President" – Used montage in this early silent film, even before Eisenstein. Used non-professional actors (before Robert Bresson) who were chosen based on facial characteristics that displayed the emotions that he wanted to convey.

"Master of the House" – Dreyer shows versatility by directing a successful, popular comedy, in addition to his more serious fare.

"The Passion of Joan Arc" – a completely innovative film in the use of variable distance close-ups that had not been done before or duplicated since.

"Vampyr" – Dreyer experimented with the idea of visually translating the dream state

"Day of Wrath" – Defied film convention by showing a denounced witch (Herlof's Marthe) as being tied to a tall stake then allowed to "fall" (or dropped) onto a bonfire, instead of the conventional image of a person tied to the stake then set on fire. This made the death seem quicker and more "humane". Also, all of the actors were selected because of their angular features, except for Anna Sverkier (Herlof's Marthe) who has rounded features, and whose character represents a secularity and "earthiness".

"Ordet" – Symbolic use of light and shadow. The character Johannes, who was mentally ill for most of the film, was underlit relative to the other characters in order to suggest his state of mind. When he commands the miracle, his lighting intensity is the same as the others in the room in order to show that he is now rational.

"Gertrud" – Experimented with the creation of a "statuesque" film in order to reflect the moral and social rigidity of the period.


Re: Best Director Live or Dead

Postby maya » Wed Apr 11, 2001 5:45 pm

it's good to hear that "some" people on this forum are down to earth and honest about who they realy are. thanks firetree.

Re: Best Director Live or Dead

Postby cola » Wed Apr 11, 2001 5:52 pm


But if you're seriously looking for the single most important, influential and innovative filmmaker in the history of the medium, there is but one man: D.W. Griffith. Yes, his best pictures are old. Really old. THE BIRTH OF A NATION is a struggle for many people to sit through (I personally found it quite engaging), and INTOLERANCE is an incomparable ordeal. But with those two films, Griffith laid the groundwork for every important "discover" that would follow. Lev Kuleshov's students penned the theory of montage after a copy of INTOLERANCE slipped through the censors. Almost every important director sites Griffith as an influence, and those who don't are only fooling themselves. Some say that there's been nothing original since Griffith, and while I tend to disagree, there's no doubt that almost everything springs from the original cinematic supergenius.

After Griffith, Sergei Eisenstein is doubtlessly the most influential director of all time. As I said above, the Kuleshov students "invented" montage after seeing INTOLERANCE; it was Eisenstein, however, who truly set the theory into stone. BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN is still often regarded as the greatest film ever made, though it has fallen down on the critics' lists somewhat in favor of CITIZEN KANE, LA REGLE DU JEU and the like. Certainly, no film is more studied than POTEMKIN internationally. And Eisenstein's six other films are all landmarks in their own right. His small body of work truly forms the heart of modern film tradition.

After Eisenstein? Here it gets difficult. I'd have to say that Charles Chaplin made the next greatest mark on the global film community, despite his many shortcomings. THE KID, THE GOLD RUSH, CITY LIGHTS and MODERN TIMES are some of the most enduring silent films (the last two's status as "silent films" beind somewhat in question). Chaplin was not a very significant person in the actual development of narrative film, however. Therefore, I'd have to stick both Jean Renoir and Orson Welles in after Eisenstein, and quite a ways ahead of Chaplin. Renoir's body of work is for me the most impressive of all directors. THE GRAND ILLUSION and THE RULES OF THE GAME are still two of the greatest films ever made; I might go so far as to call the latter THE greatest. Welles, however, probably made the greater impact. CITIZEN KANE, despite all arguments to the contrary, remains the most influential of all American sound pictures. THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS would have been an equal masterpiece had so much of it not been lost. And TOUCH OF EVIL defined the film noir genre as well as any feature, before or since.

There are other names, as well, that should be added to such a list. John Ford was simply a titan - there's little that I can say about him, except that his masterpiece, THE SEARCHERS, sends chills down my spine to this day. And Bergman is my personal favorite, the director who speaks to me the most, and whose artistic vision I find the most intriguing. Both Andrei Tarkovsky and Sergei Paradjanov made quite an impact on me...particularly the former, whose ANDREI RUBLEV is one of the most treasured installments in my collection. And still others--Robert Bresson, Yasujiro Ozu, Akira Kurosawa, Satyajit Ray (you're right, it's a shame he's gone forgotten for so long), etc.--deserve to be acknowledged for their mighty contributions.

But Griffith and Eisenstein deserve the top spots, in that order, given the truly objective criteria. They simply changed EVERYTHING, and for ALL time. Every one of their films belong in an art museum, alongside the paintings of Rembrandt and Picasso (not that those painters works would be side by side, but you know what I mean).

Re: Best Director Live or Dead

Postby inzer » Sat Apr 14, 2001 2:44 am


Re: Best Director Live or Dead

Postby maxdname-1 » Tue Apr 24, 2001 7:14 pm

Whoops, did someone forget FW Murnau?

1931 Tabu,1930 City Girl,1927 Sunrise,1926 Faust ,1925 Tartuffe,1924 The Last Laugh,1922 Nosferatu, 1921 The Haunted Castle...

Not a bad body of work for a 10 year span

Re: Best Director Live or Dead

Postby cola » Fri Apr 27, 2001 10:16 pm

I sure did.

F.W. Murnau: what an amazing director. Also one of history's most tragic. I must confess of having seen SUNRISE for the first time only recently; it dumbfounded me. I never thought myself capable of being so moved by a piece of melodramatic fiction. And, of course, THE LAST LAUGH and NOSFERATU are exemplary pieces of German Expressionism.

Along with Griffith and Eisenstein, Murnau is probably one of the most influential silent directors. However, I still contend that the two former film figures made a more lasting and crucial mark on cinematic history.

Re: Best Director Live or Dead

Postby PunkWashGurl » Sun Apr 29, 2001 9:58 pm

i have MANY favourites! but right now i think that Alejandro Gonzalez Iniarritu is a genius!!! Amores Perros was a WONDERFUL movie.. it left you thinking... for a long time. it was such a good movie, the director was a GENIUS, and then you learn that that was his 1st film.....


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