Sunday, July 01, 2007

From One To One Hundred: The Favourite Film Directors Of film ick

I've just submitted my top 100 films to a list designed as an alternative, though not necessarily an answer, to the recent AFI countdown. Well, I almost did anyway.

Selecting 100 films proved rather too difficult so, instead, I tried to compile a list of 100 film directors (or directing teams) and to select just one film by each to submit. That almost worked perfectly, after a few sneaky tricks (Michael Lehmann wouldn't have made it on to the list if I was playing fair, for example - Heathers gets in more or less just for the incredible script by Daniel Waters) and it was only after I satisfied myself I was content and clicked the send button that I started to have second thoughts.

Of course, that's the nature of these things. But I'm supremely confident that at least 80% of my list is rock steady and won't be changing any time soon - and I'm certainly head over heels with the remaining 20% too, I'm just left wishing I could have had 200, or 300 maybe. Or a couple of thousand.

I'll run my full list of 100 films soon, but to tease a little, I'll give you the list of 100 directors below. You're bound to spot another cheat quite quickly: Terry Gilliam features as a solo director and also as part of a team with Terry Jones. You're probably rolling your eyes at me right now.

Robert Aldrich
Woody Allen
Pedro Almodovar
Michelangelo Antonioni
Dario Argento
Hal Ashby
Ingmar Bergman
Peter Bogdanovich
Robert Bresson
Luis Bunuel
Tim Burton
James Cameron
Jane Campion
John Carpenter
Jackie Chan
Stephen Chow
Joel and Ethan Coen
Larry Cohen
Wes Craven
David Cronenberg
Cameron Crowe
Michael Curtiz
Gerard Damiano
Joe Dante
Brian De Palma
Jonathan Demme
Jacques Demy
Walt Disney
Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly
Sergei Eisenstein
Federico Fellini
Dave Fleischer
John Ford
Milos Forman
Bill Forsyth
Bob Fosse
Georges Franju
Terry Gilliam
Michel Gondry
Hal Hartley
Howard Hawks
Monte Hellman
Werner Herzog
George Roy Hill
Jack Hill

Alfred Hitchcock
John Huston
Peter Jackson
Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam
Neil Jordan
Buster Keaton
Stanley Kubrick
Akira Kurosawa
John Lasseter
Michael Lehmann
Mike Leigh
Sergio Leone
Ken Loach
Ernst Lubitsch
Hamilton Luske and Ben Sharpsteen
David Lynch
Alexander Mackendrick
David Mamet
Hayao Miyazaki
Kenji Mizoguchi
Lukas Moodysson
F. W Murnau
Vincenzo Natali
Yasujiro Ozu
G. W Pabst
Alan Pakula
Chan Wook Park
Sam Peckinpah
Roman Polanksi
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Sam Raimi
Nicholas Ray
Rob Reiner
Jean Renoir
Leni Riefenstahl
Robert Rodriguez
David O. Russell
John Sayles
Ridley Scott
Brian Singer
Steven Soderbergh
Preston Sturges
Quentin Tarantino
Andrei Tarkovsky
Jacques Tati
Jacques Tourneur
Francois Truffaut
Lars Von Trier
Raoul Walsh
Peter Weir
Orson Welles
James Whale
Billy Wilder
Edward Yang
Robert Zemeckis

The list of 100 films will follow, most likely, tomorrow. In the meantime.. why not take a guess at a few? There's 99 unnamed, and a good handful are probably blindingly obvious.


Anonymous said...

What about Zbig Rybcynski, the famous shorts director? Here is the one he won the academy award for in 1983:

I find his work to be genious.

Brendon said...

I love Rybcynski too, but short directors were out (not my rule).

Hence, no Maya Derren, no Georges Melies, no Lewin Fitzhamon... and so on...

All of them would easily push out names that are on the list.

Andy Coughlan said...

What about Krzysztof Kieslowski?

Mark said...

My favourite Bunuel is THE PHANTOM OF LIBERTY. Love it. My favourite James Whale is BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, but I'll forgive you if you plump for SHOW BOAT instead. I'm incapable of picking one Peckinpah over another. That's just the sort of manly bullshit I adore. Well, except STRAW DOGS. Mostly.

Harmen said...

I'm mainly missing the Brad Bird and Satoshi Kon love here but that's about it.

Although, if Sideways was anything to go by then Alexander Payne could be on the list to for my money.

Anonymous said...

What about Scorsese, Fincher, and Sam Mendes?

Brendon said...

Mark's tastes seem quite similar to mine; I love The Dekalogue; Kon and Bird are real favourites too, no doubt; Alexander Payne is one of the greatest working film directors, I agree.

So, yes - there's lots missing. As I said, this wasn't an easy task.

I'm currently tortured over my exclusion of Mark Romanek. How could I?

And Tod Browning. And George Cukor. And Fernando Di Lio. And Sidney Lumet. And Stroheim. And Lang. And Pupi Avati. And maybe even Copolla. And Egoyan. And Ophuls. And Arthur Penn. And Jarmusch.

And - oh my lord - Cassavetes.

So, yes, I could have added LOTS of names.

Any more?

And any guesses on the films I selected?

Brendon said...

"What about Scorsese, Fincher, and Sam Mendes?"

Nope, nope and nope. Their names are not on the list and they're not coming in.

daniel moreira said...

Jackie Chan YES, Copolla NO? Wes Craven YES, David Fincher NO? James Cameron YES, De Sica NO?
WTF is that...

Anonymous said...

darren arronofsky, Wong Kar Wai??

Brendon said...

De Sica is missed, I agree - but Fincher over Wes Craven? Not in a million years.

Brendon said...

Aronofsky I like a lot, Wong Kar Wai I like a lot more...

droidguy1119 said...

Did you misspell "Bryan Singer"?

Brendon said...

That's why I have a proofreader, droidguy.

When he can be bothered.


abcdefz said...

I don't mind the absence of Fincher and Mendes -- applaud it, really, since Fight Club, Seven, and American Beauty are three of the most overrated poor movies of the last twenty years or so -- but no Scorsese films is a real problem. AGE Of INNOCENCE is my personal favorite and nearly his best, but GOODFELLAS is probably the best constructed film we've had so far.

Brendon said...

If abcdefz would like to explain their Goodfellas comment, I'd certainly like to read their thoughts.

Harmen said...

Hey wait a minute! Where's Guillermo Del Toro? Weren't movies like Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth to your liking?

Ankit said...

Wtf is Peter Jackson doing in this list.....I am looking at this pretty incredible list(i know how difficult it must hav been to come up wid it) when all of a sudden his name comes up....and you top it with Sam Raimi.....i consider 'LOTR' series to be one movie and its good but not good enough to get your name in top 100...and Raimi for what 'Spiderman 1&2'????.....or is it because of 'Army of darkness' and 'a simple plan'....plz i would like to know why u ruined such an intresting list

Brendon said...

I love Del Toro and his chum Alfonso Cuaron too.

100 seems like an even more restrictive number than ever.

Brendon said...

Jackson is not on this list because of any of the Rings films, though I do like them very, very much. Raimi is on her because of...

...well, I'll publish the list of the films very soon.

Then we can argue all over again.

abcdefz said...

Aw, jeez -- you want me to go into that much while I'm on the clock!? ;-)

In broad critical strokes, then: GOODFELLAS has a beautifully tight script (improvisation [spagetti and paintings] and rehearsed improvisation ["How am I funny?"] nothwithstanding). The acting is aces across the board (not enough love goes out to the guy who played Young Henry), the direction and set detail are masterly. The sound design is incredible -- music and narration included. Thematically, it does the very tricky job of making the mob life seductive and repellent as can be; the heck with DePalma's SCARFACE's histrionics -- nothing about "the Life" has ever felt as real as this, nearly from the grunt's eye view. It implicates the audience more easily this way, also, because Henry Hill is mobster as Everyman.

Anyway -- the entire mise en scene braces the story as the best movies do. It's not stop-any-frame beautiful like CITIZEN KANE or LA BELLE ET LA BETE, but that doesn't mean the visuals aren't supporting it. (Have you randomly frozen any given frame of QUATRE CENTS COUPS lately? They're all not handsome, but they all serve.) But then, as the movie climaxes, Scorsese suddenly does wed all the technique up 'til now in a powerfully rushing "coke sequence" which, again, emphasizes the films content while implicating the audience. We're high, we're paranoid, we don't want to get caught (but, yeah, we're exhausted though and exasperated and, yeah, maybe we do).

the final implication, then, takes us straight back to THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY: the simple thrill of an audience "being shot at." It's cinema, it's a lie we know we shouldn't believe but thrillingly want to anyway; it's danger, but without the nuisance of actual repercussion. The lights come up and we can leave -- and leave Henry to dangle and other crooks to rot in the ground or in jail as punishment, in part, for entertaining us -- enticing us, even. GOODFELLAS is a cruel sword, in that way, and wouldn't have such searing impact if it weren't so masterfully executed. Like very few movies -- MILLER'S CROSSING and CITIZEN KANE, maybe, MEMENTO almost surely -- there's not a frame I would touch.

...for what it's worth, that's off the top of my head. I'm sure there are extensive essays which do the film justice. Like I said, I'm at work! :-)

Thanks for your list. Sorry about this double post.

Brendon said...

Of course, you explained why yourself (broad critical strokes) but 'the direction and set design is masterly' lacks any kind of substantiation.

I'm interested in this comment: "It's not stop-any-frame beautiful like CITIZEN KANE or LA BELLE ET LA BETE, but that doesn't mean the visuals aren't supporting it"

I'd actually go the other way - it certainly looks quite prettified, but at the expense of useful or persuasive mise en scene.

There might be 'telling' shots, but that's why it strikes me as quite pandering and lecturous.

We could go on for months.

Anonymous said...

two important names that are missing: krzystof kieslowski and wong kar-wai, especially kieslowski.

Anonymous said...

oh and one more: PT Anderson

Brendon said...

I don't agree about P T Anderson. He's definitely not going on my list.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more about Scorsese, Fincher and Mendes, but what about Carol Reed, David Lean, Tony Richardson, Ken Russell, John Schlesinger, Jean-Luc Godard, Betrand Tavernier, Robert Enrico, Claude Berri, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Alejandro AmenĂ¡bar, Robert Altman, Terence Malik, Oliver Stone, Gus van Sant...