A director might perhaps be the most important aspect of a film. His or her interpretation and image of the film can be the very thing that makes or breaks it. And so, I’d like to give my own personal list of my own favorite directors.
(Note this is a personal list, in no way am I making any claim that any of these are the greatest of all time or any such lunatic statement, just my favorite directors)
In no particular Order:
4. Steven Spielberg
I put Spielberg on this list not for any insane masterpiece or mastery of technical techniques, but really for just his gigantic body of work. I mean just look at this list:
I mean come on! Just look! Its ridiculous! And this is just his directing work, his production work is an even larger list! This dude was basically a part of my childhood and older adolescence growing up: E.T, Indiana Jones, Saving Private Ryan, Jurassic Park, etc. He’s got timeless classics to his name, but as a directer he has had complete flops, such as War of the Worlds, and many others, which I feel detract from his legacy. But you can’t say he wasn’t ambitious, and with a body of work this large, its no wonder some of his work was a little below standard (or a lot.) Regardless, Spielberg helped usher in this modern day era of “New Hollywood” and is easily one of the most acclaimed and famous directors today, as well as one of the wealthiest. His influence on cinema is undeniable.
3. Quentin Tarantino
I have Quentin Tarantino on this list because there is a time where I don’t want to go look for camera angles, themes, or a bigger picture. Sometimes what I want to see is a violent, character driven epic that’ll blow me away while still impressing me visually and stylistically. And when that’s the case, Quentin Tarantino is the man for the job. Known as the King of Dialogue, Tarantino expertly does something that I feel many directors, writers, and producers leave out: letting their characters breath. Too many times I feel like we only see main characters interact and speak solely within the context of the story. They only do things or say things to advance the plot. But that’s not how real life is. We have conversations. We get sidetracked. And that aspect of real dialogue is what Tarantino does expertly. He breathes life into his characters, they are real and gritty. Tarantino is not scared to go R-Rated with his language and gore, his trademarks.
(Warning: Explicit Language)
His movies are stylized and have that spaghetti western/neo-noir feel to them that makes Tarantino movies unique. He’s got an intense cult following following from his early hits Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, a following rightfully earned, and is still in the game today with movies like Inglorious Bastards and Django Unchained, the highest grossing film of his career.
2. Alfred Hitchcock
Easily, the master of….suspense and once again a massive body of work. What we have here is one of the greatest filmmakers to ever set foot behind the camera. Working mainly in the late 20th Century and 21st Century, Hitchcock’s use of visuals and angles to create suspense was beyond his time. He attempted to frame his camera in a way that mimicked a person’s gaze, and created a sense of voyeurism to maximize fear and anxiety from the audience. His themes of spy thrillers and love triangles helped disguise the undertone for what was really psychoanalysis of the characters themselves. In addition, Hitchcock was not afraid to use psychology himself in his own films. Hitchcock is infamous for using what’s called the Kuleshov Effect while filming with Old Hollywood actor Jimmy Stewart. In essence, the Kuleshov effect is a phenomena in which an actor will deliberately have a blank face during a sequential shot after being shown something, and the audience will project their own emotion onto the actor. For example, after being shown an image of, let’s say, a dead child, the camera will cut to the actor who will have a blank face, but because of the Kuleshov effect, the audience will project seeing the actor with a saddened face, projecting their own emotions onto the film. Trippy stuff! But something else added to Hitchcock’s legacy and appeal….he was in his own movies! He placed himself within most of his works, like cameos, which, along with his controversial and thought provoking intros, only further peaked his popularity. Some of his most famous works from this list include: North by Northwest, Rope, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and of course, his most famous film, Psycho, with the infamous shower scene that has become a landmark image in the world of suspense and horror films.
Now, to all my friends, I hate horror movies, I’m just too much of a wuss to watch them. But really, I secretly love them. They’re gripping and pump me with adrenaline. The basis of modern day horror movies has a huge part to do with Alfred Hitchcock which is why I have him on this list.
1. Stanley Kubrick