Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cannes: Maggie Cheung and Your Nine "Great Directors"

Before the Palme D'Or is handed out, I've got two last bits from our buddy in Cannes but first (sigh) a big old frowny face in regards to the following nugget.

<--- Maggie Cheung and her boyfriend Ole Scheeren in 2008

Maggie Cheung's scene in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds was cut before the Cannes opening and will not be restored even though Tarantino is returning to the editing room. Presumably he's tinkering for maximum audience playability. The cutting room floor is a regular habitat for actors with small roles but this time it really hurts: Maggie still works the red carpet, but never the silver screen. She retired from movies after Clean and 2046 five long years ago. Basterds was going to provide us with a rare chance to see one of the most bewitching living actresses on the big screen again. Damn!
*
On to cheerier topics.

The generous take on Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock appears to be that it's a "minor" effort. Rosengje found it charming and especially enjoyed the first "fun and frothy" hour, but understands why people aren't taken with it
...the movie loses a lot of momentum toward the conclusion, with the actual music festival not quite coming together in a cohesive manner. Ang Lee makes the puzzling decision to not include any concert footage. The managed chaos that defines Taking Woodstock's first hour feels like it has been building toward something that viewers are ultimately denied access to.

Liev Schreiber is the movie's real standout as a transvestite security guard -- the audience interrupted his first scene with boisterous applause. The actor has limited screen time, making probably around four substantial appearances. Demetri Martin was extremely enjoyable, giving a nuanced performance that belies his limited screen experience. He has great comic timing and definitely suggested the character's muted sexuality (he's closeted) effectively. The supporting cast is generally impeccable, with Emile Hirsch and Paul Dano making the biggest impressions in small roles.
Rosengje also notes that she thinks age will play a heavy factor in reaction to the movie. She admits that some of the details and mythos escaped her (she's in her 20s) but thought the movie was a pleasant diversion, nonetheless.

She also told me about a documentary I hadn't yet heard of from Angela Ismailos called Great Directors.
One of the treats of Cannes is the ability to see sprawling epics alongside small, intimate pieces. The endearing and informative Great Directors falls into the latter category. Pic focuses on nine directors that have influenced Angela's life: Bernardo Bertloucci, Agnes Varda, Stephen Frears, Todd Haynes, David Lynch, Catherine Breillat, Richard Linklater, Ken Loach and John Sayles. A mixture of new interviews, archival footage, and well chosen film clips craft winning portraits of each of the auteurs. David Lynch proves most memorable, putting forth a charmingly gregarious personality that bizarrely contradicts his films. Trying to reconcile clips of Eraserhead and Inland Empire with the man telling anecdotes about Mel Brooks is one of the film's chief pleasures.

The mix of genders, ages, and nationalities of the directors ensures that the topics discussed do not become repetitive, but are constantly revisited in fresh and innovative ways. Despite the unique elements and perspectives, common threads do emerge. Hearing Sayles discuss working on Hollywood scripts to finance his own efforts evokes and contradicts Frears’ and Loach’s development through the BBC. Though the documentary is interview heavy, Ismailos varies her visuals to correspond to the character of her subjects: Bertolucci is shot primarily in formal interviews, while Linklater and Haynes are shown in a variety of interactive locales (i.e. driving, perusing books).

I wish the film shed more light on the Angela herself, who remains an enigmatic presence throughout “Directors,” occasionally revealing her presence during interviews or walking through shots on perilously high heels. She grants the directors a platform for expressing their own inspiration and intentions, but never really delves into the specifics of her own. With such unusual and impeccable taste in auteurs, I constantly wanted to know more about her own pursuits.
Indie Wire has more on the screening and the yacht party that I also sent Rosengje too.

The film sounds intriguing and it certainly prompts a completely necessary! commenting exercize. If I were making a documentary about nine living auteurs that influenced my life (not necessarily my favorites) I might have to go with: Tarantino, Haynes, John Hughes, Mike Nichols, Tim Burton, Paul Thomas Anderson, Woody Allen, James Cameron and Pedro Almodovar... but it's tough to say.

What about you?
Which nine men or women would you choose if you were making a personal documentary about auteurs that shaped you?
*

62 comments:

Jeff said...

Nathaniel! you killed me with that info about my godess Maggie Cheung! I am very sad I was looking forward to seeing her again...

NATHANIEL R said...

me too. Now, tell us who your 9 directors are to take away the sting.

Mikadzuki said...

"Great Directors" sounds exciting!

I'd go with Terrence Malick, David Lynch, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wong Kar-Wai, Hayao Miyazaki, Gus Van Sant, the Coens, Spielberg and maybe Wim Wenders. But the majority of the running time would focus on the first three.

Sid said...

Gosh. That's a difficult question for anyone to answer, but I'll try. These are not necessarily the ones that I consider the "greatest" but the nine that "shaped me" the most:

Woody Allen
Paul Thomas Anderson
Ingmar Bergman
Cameron Crowe
Stanley Kubrick
David Lynch
Terrence Malick
Martin Scorsese
Lars von Trier

... with maybe an honorable mention to Tarantino.

I know Crowe is the odd one out there, but as I said this is not necessarily a "greatest of all time" list.

Sid said...

On second thought, I'm wondering why I left QT out. I'd probably replace Crowe with him.

Guy said...

Looking at it not as my "9 favourite directors," but "9 directors who most shaped my relationship with film at different points in my life" (gee, that sounds clunky), I'd go with:

Woody Allen
James Ivory
Krzysztof Kieslowski
John Schlesinger
Ingmar Bergman
Charlie Chaplin
Martin Scorsese
Billy Wilder
Jacques Demy

Francis S. said...

Reflects my age (I grew up in the 70s), my sexuality and my silly faux-boho pretensions - and probably more has to do with individual films than with the directors: Woody Allen (Annie Hall), Alfred Hitchcock (The Birds), Howard Hawks (Bringing Up Baby), Gus Van Sant (Mala Noche, My Own Private Idaho), Todd Haynes (Velvet Goldmine), Pedro Almodóvar (What Have I Done to Deserve This, Women on the Verge, Bad Education, Volver), Brothers Coen (Miller's Crossing), Roman Polanski (Chinatown), James Ivory (Maurice).

Bonus points to Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show), Volker Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum), Derek Jarman (Caravaggio), Wes Anderson (Rushmore).

Seeking Amy said...

=( I'm with Jeff.

Nine directors that shaped me? Oh geez

Hayao Miyazaki, Robert Altman, David Lynch, Pedro Almodovar, Woody Allen, Tim Burton, PTA, Martin Scorsese,
and Coen Bros.

There's many more that I would want to include, but as i'm feeling right now, those would be the ones.

NATHANIEL R said...

well if you're including dead directors my list changes quite a lot!

i was trying to be honest about the living ones. I don't even really like John Hughes movies all that much on the whole ;) i also have lots of issues with Tim Burton but both definitely influenced / shaped.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I'll swipe John Sayles from the list, because I really do enjoy his films--one of the few directors that actually makes me think. The rest are "the usual suspects": Buster Keaton, Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, Anthony Mann, Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, Preston Sturges and Jacques Tourneur.

Cagatay said...

K, here's my list

Nicole Holofcener
Woody Allen
Trey Parker (The lone South Park movie does it for me)
Sam Mendes
Miranda July
Sofia Coppola
Noah Baumbach
François Truffaut
Pedro Almodovar

I've had hard time leaving out The Coens, Spike Jonze, Tim Burton (well... not so much) and Stephen Daldry, whose value took a huge hit after uninspired the Reader. Oh well.

reuven said...

9 Who Influenced MY Life is Quite Different from the 9 all time bests. With that said, I'd pick in no particular order:

Steven Spielberg
Robert Zemeckis
Gus Van Sant
Andrew Stanton
Chris Columbus
Quentin Tarantino
Roman Polanski
Woody Allen
Mike Nichols

J.D. said...

This is hard for a 16 year old who's still so very little to answer. But I'll try anyway:

Alfonso Cuarón
Stephen Daldry
Peter Jackson
Baz Luhrmann
Hayao Miyazaki
Martin Scorsese
Gus Van Sant
Wong Kar Wai
Joe Wright

That sounds about right. At least of living people. Though Bergman or possibly Capra would be the only dead directors who would factor in otherwise at this point in my life, I think.

I feel so young right now.

Kevin D. said...

The Coens
Pedro Almodovar
Mike Nichols
Johnathan Demme
Francis Ford Coppola
Woody Allen
Todd Field
Darren Aronofsky
Rob Marshall


...That was fun!

Christine said...

Off the top of my head:
1) Peter Greenaway
2) Christopher Guest
3) Roman Polanski
4) Jane Campion
5) Ken Loach
6) Martin Scorsese
7) Mike Figgis
8) Werner Herzog
9) Stephen Frears

Of all of these directors who have projects coming oout this year, I'm most anxious to see the new Loach film. Eric Cantona works with the king of social realism? A strange and potentially awesome combination.

Michael W. said...

The 9 directors would for me be:

Martin Scorsese
Woody Allen
Steven Spielberg
Robert Altman
Stanley Kubrick
Paul Thomas Anderson
Kevin Smith
Billy Wilder
Steven Soderbergh

NATHANIEL R said...

J.D. well you feel young because you ARE young. But that's a good thing. And look at it this way -- you're already WAY ahead of many many 20 and 30somethings in your film culture / film history knowledge. Good on you.

Mikadzuki i like the idea of unfairly divvying up the running time for focus. In that case it's quite obvious that ALMODOVAR and WOODY ALLEN are going to hog the camera in mine.

Christine christopher guest. I should have thought of that. I wanted to include CAMPION but I don't really think she shaped me if i'm being honest. Though i prefer her to some of the ones on mylist.

Reuven interesting pick with Zemeckis but i could totally see that. I always think i don't like him but then I remember things he made that did mean a lot to me, so...

adam k. said...

I don't consider Mike Nichols an "auteur" at all. I don't mean that in a bad way, per se. He's still one of my favorite filmmakers. But he's like the anti-auteur in that he doesn't write his films, they're generally quite mainstream and easy to digest, they're incredibly diverse (in both quality level and style), and they have no real signature stamp other than often great performances and storytelling.

But Nichols' filmography is fascinating. How can the same person who made The Graduate, Silkwood and Angels in America also have made Working Girl and Charlie Wilson's War?

I'd probably go with Haynes, Almodovar, Allen (the 3 big ones), Kaufman/Jonze (can I just take them as a pair? if not, I'll drop Jonze and just take Kaufman), Peter Jackson (I was a burgeoning cinephile in college for LOTR, and also love Heavenly Creatures), PT Anderson, John Cameron Mitchell (Hewdig counts for a lot when it helps you get over being closeted), Robert Wise (I LOVE Sound of Music, West Side Story and even Star Trek: The Motion Picture... oh come on, he just recently died, he was alive when his films were shaping me), and Von Trier (I was obsessed with him for a while between Dancer and Dogville).

Also, big shout outs to:

Aronofsky
Ang Lee
Ridley Scott
David Lynch
Robert Zemeckis (if I'm being honest)
Alfonso Cuaron
Gus Van Sant
Mike Nichols (auteur or no)

And Gene Roddenberry, Ronald D. Moore and David E. Kelley may have figured in, if TV could count.

adam k. said...

Oh, and a shout out to Altman! Damn, I totally meant to include him.

Guy said...

Oops, I missed the "living" caveat, despite the helpful italicisation. I guess I was making my documentary in the afterlife, given that two-thirds of my subjects are very much not with us.

Sigh. Now I need to think again. I hate thinking.

NATHANIEL R said...

well if we're including dead guys my nine becomes you have to boot out a few of mine to include at least: ROBERT WISE, ALFRED HITCHCOCK and ROBERT ALTMAN and that's just the one that come up without thinking about it for more than a few seconds.

adam k. said...

Nat, I'm totally with you on Zemeckis. I tell myself I've outgrown him/don't like him anymore, but a lot of his films were quite prominent in my childhood and teen years. The Back to the Future Trilogy (obsessed as a kid), Roger Rabbit, Contact (obsessed as a teen, and still love it), even Forest Gump... he was very big.

But I look at him now and I'm like "eeewww, how pandering and mainstream" (even with regard to films I still love). Weird.

Also, I think every one of us (myself included) would have to include Spielberg on this list, if we were truly being honest (at least anyone in their 20s or 30s).

I mean, who wasn't shaped in some (major) way by E.T., Jaws, Indiana Jones, Hook, Jurassic Park, et al? Spielberg is a pop culture ubiquity. Developing cinephiles (and even the general public) can't avoid him.

adam k. said...

I think at least people who only died in the last few years should count.

NATHANIEL R said...

adam k .. i hear what you're saying on SPIELBERG but i'd still not include him on my own list. I was too young to be fully invested / shaped by his 70s stuff and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK aside i was never really gaga for his work (in retrospect i love the 70s stuff). I didn't even like ET that much when i was a kid.

my fav spielbergs are Jaws & Raiders without a doubt with maybe Schindlers & Jurassic Park as chasers.

adam k. said...

Jurassic Park is quality. I was obsessed with it upon its release. Of course, I was 9 years old at the time... but I still think it's a solid B or B+ movie.

And the book, which I read afterward, is even better.

And Nat, I know you don't like Hook, but that was another pillar of my childhood. And I have a feeling I'd still like it even today.

Sid said...

I missed the "living" part, in which case, this list changes to:

Woody Allen
Paul Thomas Anderson
Cameron Crowe
The Coens
David Lynch
Terrence Malick
Martin Scorsese
Quentin Tarantino
Lars von Trier

rosengje said...

Woody Allen will always and forever be my number one. After that:

2) Wong Kar-Wai
3) Paul Thomas Anderson
4) Wes Anderson
5) Quentin Tarantino
6) Todd Haynes
7) Steven Soderbergh
8) Jane Campion
9) Kathryn Bigelow
10) Zhang Yimou

Robert Altman and Billy Wilder would be the dead additions to the list.

rosengje said...

Ooh and Peter Jackson. Lord of the Rings made me believe in the power of CG in the right hands.

Catherine said...

On the ladder of my Top Nine Directors Who've Shaped My Life, Pedro Almodóvar is perched somewhat incongrously at the tippy top, grinning bemusedly down at Peter Jackson, David Lynch and Todd Haynes who are chatting amiably just a few rungs below. Underneath, Woody Allen is ogling Sofia Coppola, who's engaging Martin Scorsese in conversation, angling for anecdotes about her father back in the day. Jonathan Demme is hanging on, blasting Talking Heads out of a boombox and wondering where Terrence Malick has got to, whose name is written on a rung but is nowhere to be seen.

NATHANIEL R said...

Catherine you've just outdone us all! List subjects that interact with each other? it's like the supposed revolution with 3D movies. Only better!

Danielhardy23@gmail.com said...

i'm gonna cheat this list, and make it two.

AUTEURS: (deceased)

akira kurosawa
sergio leone
stanley kubrick
david lean
jean-pierre melville
hal ashby
alfred hitchcock
federico fellini
andrei tarkovsky
ingmar bergman


AUTEURS (still working)

martin scorsese
wong kar-wai
coen brothers
paul thomas anderson
david fincher
hayao miyazaki
ang lee
steven soderbergh
pedro almodovar
terrence malick

The Demarest said...

1. Howard Hawks
2. Alfred Hitchcock
3. Eric Rohmer
4. Woody Allen
5. David Lean
6. Francis Ford Coppola
7. John Ford
8. Charlie Chaplin
9. Warren Beatty

Encore Entertainment said...

which directors have shaped my life - not necessarily the best...
Scorsese for delivering RAGING BULL, which I didn't love at first but has grown to be a favourite
Ivory because HOWARDS END is a favourite novel of mine and he introduced me to Helena Bonham Carter...
Woody Allen because he made me realise I was ALMOST as neurotic as he is in ANNIE HALL
Anthony Minghella because without the cinematic beauty that is THE ENGLISH PATIENT I would not have knowns Kristin Scott Thomas and Juliette Binoche until years later.
George Cukor for THE PHILADELPHIA STORY which will forever remain a classic
Mike Nichols because without WHOSE AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF I may have beeen tempted into alcoholism.
Fred Zinnemann for FROM HERE TO ETERNITY and more...
Robert Altman, for many but really for GOSFORD PARK.
and Ang Lee mostly for his diversity, but really for introducing me to Kate Winslet in SENSE AND SENSIBILITY

Gilidor said...

Just 9? Ok, let's give it a try:

Cameron Crowe
Quentin Tarantino
Steven Spielberg
Robert Zemeckis
Kevin Smith
Martin Scorsese
Paul Thomas Anderson
The Coen brothers
and, hum...
let's say Woody Allen!

Runs Like A Gay said...

Thanks for this Nat, I'm just writing this before I go to bed, and I'm sure I'll wake up in the middle of the night with incredible guilt about missing off so-and-so or thingy whatsit.

In alphabetical order:

Paul Thomas Anderson
Mel Brooks
Terry Gilliam
Mike Leigh
George Lucas
Roman Polanski
Walter Salles
Martin Scorcese
Gus van Sant

I've tried to keep it varied like Ismailos, although I've failed on the equal ops front.

Must go and not sleep now.

Bing147 said...

Hmmm... nine living...

Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino, The Coen Brothers, Rob Reiner, Yimou Zhang, Wes Anderson, Mel Brooks, Terrence Malick, Jean Luc Godard.

The living part made it hard...

Carl said...

If the list is restricted to those directors whose work had the greatest influence on how I became the me that I became, then television directors are going to dominate (I was in the first generation for whom the tube was truly a substitute babysitter.) In alphabetical order -

Marc Daniels

Peter Fernandez

Walter Grauman

Bud Greenspan

George Lucas

Joseph Sargent

Steven Spielberg

J. Michael Straczynski (okay, I cheated…he only directed one episode of “Babylon 5” - but every frame of that series bears his mark)

Joss Whedon

And, if archival footage were allowed, take off Sargent and Straczynski and replace them with George Pal and Robert Wise.

Denzel Hawke said...

So my list may not be the most film savy list of directors but it's mine, made of my influences. So, here it goes.

Steven Speilberg
Coen Brothers
Spike Jonze
Paul Haggis
Frank Capra
Cameron Crowe
Quentin Tarintino
Woody Allen
Joe Wright

Ben said...

Todd Haynes for giving Julianne Moore two of her most definitive roles.
Robert Altman for Short Cuts, which I saw when I was relatively young and was bowled over by.
Terence Malick for never disappointing with any of his films.
Peter Jackson for Heavenly Creatures, which I saw when I was 15 and made me want to watch and know more about films.
Wes Craven. Between the ages of 16 and 19 I watched so many horror films, most of them dreadful sequels, but I watched Wes Craven's films repeatedly. His best films seem so completely of their time without ever seeming dated.
Ang Lee. Just for sheer quality. I've loved every single one of his films (with the obvious exception of Hulk, but even that was interesting in its way).
Rob Reiner. Because I judge all romantic comedies by When Harry Met Sally and all coming-of-age stories by Stand By Me.
Curtis Hanson. Because I love the top quality genre fare like The River Wild and The Hand That Rocks The Cradle and because LA Confidential staggers me every time I see it.
David Cronenburg. For combining great, elemental horror with often fantastic performances from an always eclectically-chosen cast.

Vince said...

Woody Allen
Paul Thomas Anderson
Tim Burton
James Cameron
Todd Haynes
Neil Jordan
Ang Lee
Mike Leigh
Baz Luhrmann

/3rtfu11 said...

-oliver stone

-paul verhoeven

-quentin tarantino

-pedro almodovar

-david cronenberg

-rachel talalay

-david lynch

-wayne wang

-spike lee

Kamila said...

Audrey Hepburn
Edward Norton
Julianne Moore
David Fincher
Alan Parker
Steven Spielberg
Nicole Kidman
Cláudia Abreu
Selton Mello

NATHANIEL R said...

/3rtfu11 some new names and diverse too. I wish mine were moreso but it's a product of my time.

ben i love reading the reasoning behind. OK. NOW EVERYONE SHOULD REWRITE THEIR LISTS WITH EXPLANATIONS ;)

why can't I stop bossing everyone around?

encore DAMN. really Merchant/Ivory shoulda been on my list. My bad. between a room with a view and maurice and howards end and all the Brit actors they enamored me of... I can't really have the list without them.

Arkaan said...

Alfonso Cuaron
Gus van Sant
Martin Scorsese
Atom Egoyan
David Cronenberg
Steven Spielberg
Wong Kar-Wai
Andrew Stanton/PIXAR
Richard Linklater

Christine said...

I didn't know that we were allowed to give explanations! My list is solely based on films that I quote a lot or directors that have personal associations for me (e.g. on my first date I saw Peter Greenaway's The Belly of an Architect, so that is why he's there). Also, no fair to the people sneaking in dead directors. It is the living directors caveat that makes this difficult.

One other note: J.D., that is some impressive director list for a 16 year old. I hope your teachers appreciate you.

Wayne B. said...

My Nine Directors would be (in personal discovery order):
Tim Burton
Ang Lee
Robert Rodriguez
Sofia Coppola
Quentin Tarantino
Martin Scorsese
Darren Aronofsky
John Cameron Mitchell
Pedro Almodovar

Peter Nellhaus said...

Roger Corman
Richard Lester
Martin Scorsese (Hey, he was the reason I went to NYU and I got to know him a little when I was there.)
Jean-Luc Godard
Maya Deren
Michelangelo Antonioni
Fritz Lang
Tsui Hark
Wisit Sasanatieng

Eric said...

Sad to hear about Maggie Cheung… As for my nine directors, I guess it might be:

Yasujiro Ozu
Krzysztof Kieslowski
Mikio Naruse
Robert Altman
Terrence Malick
Tim Burton
Nicholas Ray
Douglas Sirk
Jean Renoir

NATHANIEL R said...

Christine. Greenaway on a first date, huh? You're brave!

arkaan -- andrew stanton. good choice. I imagine adults making these lists in 20 years will also list him.

Jesus Alonso said...

my 9 directors would be: John Carpenter, Frank Oz, Javier Fesser, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Ang Lee, Bretrand Tavernier, Jane Campion, Julie Taymor, Paul Verhoeven.

Anonymous said...

One of the main reasons to watch INGLORIOUS...miserably vanished...

let's hope Maggie will have an actual comeback some day...

At least, we know that Brigitte Lin will work again with Wong Kar-wai. maybe Maggie could follow her example. If only Wong...

mirko s.

Jesus Alonso said...

well, my 9 directors mentioned above are "alive and kicking". If talking about the ones I'd like to interview from all movie history, thing changes dramatically:

Charlie Chaplin
Billy Wilder
Sergei M. Eisenstein
Luis Buñuel
Akira Kurosawa
Alfred Hitchcock
Howard Hawks
Steven Spielberg
Stanley Kubrick

redcommieapples said...

Brian de Palma - gobsmacked he's not been mentioned yet. He's dipped now, but you can never fault him for not being OTT entertaining.
Mike Leigh - because he made the movie that's become my annual sobfest - "Secrets & Lies"
Arnaud Desplechin - I imagine he's someone who just can't still still - always changing genres, always going off on tangents, throwing in a new character - sublime.
Ang Lee - he makes the best family dramas.
Michael Haneke - because life can't always be like a Mike Leigh film. People are perverse.
Jean Luc Godard - for making '60s France effortlessly cool, and even when he went didactic on us, he threw some gorgeous carcrashes into it.
John Waters - because even de Palma is sometimes too highbrow.
Francois OzonZhang Yimou - because few people can make bloodbaths so melodramatic and ostentatiously gorgeous at the same time.

goatdog said...

If they have to be alive: Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Jane Campion, Quentin Tarantino, Jean-Luc Godard, Takeshi Kitano, the Coens, John Sayles, Werner Herzog, Yimou Zhang.

Kurtis O said...

Pedro Almodovar, David Lynch, Ridley Scott, Martin Scorsese, Gus Van Sant, Mike Nichols, Federico Fellini, Quentin Tarantino, Peter Jackson.

I don't think any modern film lover should disclude Steven Spielberg or Woody Allen, but for reasons of obviousness, I'm only giving them a post-list shout out.

I also adore much of the work of Michael Mann, who I'm pretty shocked hasn't been mentioned yet.

I'm also quite fond of the work of consistent "American auteurs" like Tom McCarthy, Ramin Bahrani and Craig Brewer (that's right, the "Hustle & Flow," "Black Snake Moan" guy...I love his films).

You'll notice I haven't included a single woman. Shame on me. The sad fact is, there just aren't enough of them, and I can honestly say that many of the ones working (save, of course, Sofia Coppola) haven't wowed me all that much. Top of the heap, I'd say, is Isabel Coixet and Sarah Polley who, with one film ("Away From Her") has proven herself a supremely gifted visual storyteller. I enjoy Campion, but not enough to give her a spot in the top nine. Perhaps "Bright Star" will change that.

Fun post, Nathaniel.

Bernardo said...

Sofia Coppola
Lars von Trier
Kar-Wai Wong
Woody Allen
Pedro Almodóvar
Gus Van Sant
Hayao Miyasaki
Stephen Daldry
PT Anderson

extremely unoriginal i know...

Only counting live dirs of course

Joe Kuster said...

Hmmm...

Terence Malick
Quentin Tarantino
Jane Campion
Darren Aronofsky
Steven Spielberg
Sophia Coppola
Alfonso Cuaron
Zhang Yimou
Andrew Stanton

Honorable mentions go to Ang Lee, Paul Greengrass, and Danny Boyle!

David S. said...

Terrence Malick
Ingmar Bergman
Woody Allen
Hayao Miyazaki
Lars von Trier
Sofia Coppola
Wong Kar-Wai
David Lynch
Stanley Kubrick

NicksFlickPicks said...

I've been stumped by this since you put it up. Since we're sticking with the living folks, Jane Campion, Todd Haynes, and David Cronenberg are far and away my Holy Trinity. I have gone off at such irritating length about all three of them that I won't repeat any of it here. Had you asked just a couple years ago, Robert Altman and Ingmar Bergman would have followed shortly upon them, but then mortality intervened.

For sheer influence back when I was first getting hooked, I guess Woody Allen and Martin Scorsese have to be there. So, that's five.

Terrence Malick and Abbas Kiarostami completely knocked my socks off in college when everything was coming together to make movies a real life for me, so I'll have to add them. Barbara Kopple single-handedly demonstrated to me why I needed to pay attention to documentaries, and how little I actually knew about how other people live.

The last is a toss-up among the astonishingly eclectic and unpredictable Steven Soderbergh, who broke up all the mainstream/indie categories just when I was in danger of being hooked on them; Peter Greenaway for being the first director I encountered to pose huge questions about what "counts" as cinema and what movies can do (even though I often disliked or didn't understand what he did); Michael Winterbottom and Claire Denis, who changed the way I thought about the world as often as they changed the way I thought about films, and often in relation to each other; and Lynne Ramsay and Aleksandr Sokurov, for making the last two movies that made me jump up and down in theater and keep returning upwards of three and four times in the cinema. I'm going to say Soderbergh, but it could really have been any of them.

So: Campion, Haynes, Cronenberg, Allen, Scorsese, Malick, Kiarostami, Kopple, and Soderbergh.

NATHANIEL R said...

Nick... you can always go on and on about your holy trinity. we won't mind ;)

mrx16 said...

Being a flim student, these are the nine who most influenced my work:

1. David Lynch
2. Coen Brothers
3. Wes Anderson
4. Tim Burton
5. Paul Thomas Anderson
6. Jim Jarmusch
7. Michel Gondry
8. Woody Allen
9. Danny Boyle

Honerable mentions to Kevin Smith and Tarantino. I love their works, but I take no influence from them.

Daniel Silva said...

Can't wait to see this movie!

If I had to choose nine directors they'd be:
-Woody Allen
-Quentin Tarantino
-David Fincher
-Paul Thomas Anderson
-Darren Aronofsky
-Martin Scorsese
-Jason Reitman
-Steven Soderbergh
-Sofia Coppola

Kubrick would be on the list if he was still alive.