Tarkovsky. The soviet’s answer to Kubrick until he defected in 1979 amid controversy surrounding the first day (an unmade movie with allegories critical of the USSR (apparently more overt than the others throughout his career)). Tarkovsky joins (and perhaps leads) the list of great auteurs to die way too young (54). Tarkvosky completed 7 feature fiction films. I’ve seen all 7 but don’t feel comfortable giving Nostalgia a grade I’ve only seen it once and it was 10 years ago so it really isn’t fair. The 6 of the 7 I have a grade on are all either MP’s or MS films and 3 of those 6 are many intelligent people’s choice for the best film of all time (the mirror, stalker, Andrei rublev) and one of the 3 remaining one is the “soviet sci-fi answer to 2001” (solaris) and yet another has one of the greatest shots and set pieces I’ve ever seen to close a film (the sacrifice). Tarkovsky had some of bergman’s depth but moved the camera like really nobody else in cinema history (certainly tarr, Antonioni, Kubrick, ophuls are all close relatives but different in their own way). If you haven’t approached his work yet then prepare yourself to be patient as these aren’t the easiest films or surely most accessible. I’d never recommend any to someone who wasn’t in or attended film school or had an unbelievable appetite for cinema.

Best film:  stalker. This isn’t close for me. It’s rated as his 3rd best film on TSPDT but it has been gaining steam over the last decade. It’s simply one of the greatest visual pleasures the cinema has to offer.

Most overrated:  the mirror.  I’m just not there yet and I’ve seen it 4 times (which leads me to believe I never will be). It’s really his most personal work and it’s got some beautiful direction I just really have a hard time with this and can’t get close to getting behind putting this as the #29 film of all-time as TSPDT does.

most underrated:   Tarkovsky doesn’t really have an underrated film. All 7 of his feature fiction films are ranked in the top 371 of all-time on TSPDT. If forced, I’d pick stalker since I have it closer to a top 10 film and the consensus still is lagging behind at #59.  

gem I want to spotlight: If you haven’t seen anything I’d go in order of my list below but at some point check out the sacrifice. It’s one of the two films tarkovsky shot in the west and his dp here is the bergman/allen longtime collaborator sven nykvist. It has the great final shot/set piece I describe earlier.

stylistic innovations/traits: Extremely meditative in both style and content. He’s a wonderful director who, like a few others (malick (ok, not late malick), Kubrick, coppola (for a while)), seems like he set out to make the best film of all-time just about every time he made a film.

top 10

  1. Stalker
  2. Andrei Rublev
  3. The Sacrifice
  4. Solaris
  5. The Mirror
  6. Ivan’s Childhood
  7. Nostalgia

Top 100 directors running list

100) Fuller– 3 must-see, 1 HR, 12 archiveable films

99) Cukor– 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 18 archiveable

98) Demy- 1 masterpiece, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 5 archiveable

97) Jackson– 1 masterpiece, 1 HR, 3 archiveable

96) Miller– 1 masterpiece, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 5 archiveable

95) Kazan- 1 masterpiece, 1 must-see, 3 HR, 12 archiveable

94) Sofia Coppola- 1 masterpiece, 3 HR, 5 archiveable

93) Zemeckis- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 7 archiveable

92) Preminger– 4 must-see, 15 archiveable

91) Miyazaki– 2 must-see, 4 HR, 10 archiveable

90) Lubitsch- 4 must-see, 2 HR, 11 archiveable

89) Tati– 3 must-see, 1 HR, 5 archiveable

88) von Stroheim- 1 masterpiece, 1 MS, 2 HR, 6 archiveable

87) Dardenne- 3 must-see, 3HR, 7 archiveable

86) Nicholas Ray- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 2 HR, 11 archiveable

85) Iñárritu- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 4 archiveable

84) De Palma- 3 must-see, 3 HR, 11 archiveable

83) Minnelli- 2 must-see, 6 HR, 10 archiveable

82) Curitz- 1 masterpiece, 6 HR, 17 archiveable

81) Aronofsky- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1.5 HR, 5 archiveable

80) Preston Sturges- 4 must-see, 1 HR, 8 archiveable

79) Walsh- 1 masterpiece, 1 must-see, 5 HR, 9 archiveable

78) Gilliam- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 6 archiveable

77) Tarr- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 4 archiveable

76) Nichols- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 12 archiveable

75) Melville- 3 must-see, 4 HR, 9 archiveable

74) Sirk- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 9 archiveable

73) Stone- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 2.5 HR, 9 archiveable

72) Almodóvar- 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see 4 HR, 12 archiveable

71) Roeg- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 2 HR 5 archiveable

70) Mizoguchi- 5 must-see, 3 HR, 8 archiveable

69) Wyler- 4 must-see, 8 HR, 18 archiveable

68) Jarmusch– 2 masterpieces, 2 MS, 1 HR 9 archiveable

67) Michael Mann– 1 masterpiece, 2 must-see, 2.5 HR 8 archiveable

66) Visconti- 2 masterpieces, 3 HR 10 archiveable

65) Haneke- 3 masterpieces, 3 HR, 9 archiveable

64) Linklater– 3 masterpieces, 5 HR, 12 archiveable

63) Satyajit Ray– 1 masterpiece, 3 must-see, 1 HR, 8 archiveable

62) Cuaron- 3 masterpieces, 6 archiveable

61) Cassavetes– 2 masterpieces, 4 HR, 9 archiveable

60) Cameron– 5 must-see, 7 archiveable

59) Huston- 2 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 5 HR, 17 archiveable

58) Bertolucci- 1 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 9 archiveable

57) Eastwood– 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 15 archiveable

56) Fincher- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 9 archiveable

55) Ozu- 1 masterpiece, 5 HR, 9 archiveable

54) Capra- 3 masterpieces, 4 HR, 11 archiveable

53) Keaton– 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 4 HR, 9 archiveable

52) Peckinpah– 2 masterpieces, 2 HR, 8 archiveable

51) Chaplin– 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 10 archiveable

50) Spike Lee– 3 masterpieces, 1 HR, 9 archiveable

49) Kiewslowski– 3 masterpieces, 3 HR, 10 archiveable

48) Dreyer– 1 masterpiece, 3 must-see, 5 archiveable

47) Von Sternberg- 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 3 HR, 10 archiveable

46) Fassbinder- 5 must-see, 4 HR 11 archiveable

45) Nolan- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR 8 archivable

44) WKW- 2 masterpieces, 1-2 must-see, 1 HR 8 archiveable

43) Herzog– 2 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 2 HR, 9 archiveable

42) Ridley Scott– 2 masterpieces, 3 HR, 11 archiveable

41) Wes Anderson- 4 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 8 archiveable

40) Lumet- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 4 HR, 17 archiveable

39) Polanski- 3 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 3 HR, 12 archiveable

38) Griffith- 2 masterpieces, 3 HR, 6 archiveable

37) Von Trier- 3 masterpieces, 1 HR, 8 archiveable

36) Bresson- 2 masterpieces, 6 HR, 10 archiveable

35) Wilder -4 masterpieces, 4-5 HR, 20 archiveable

34) Powell- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 2 HR, 10 archiveable

33) Rossellini- 2 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 3 HR, 10 archiveable

32) Spielberg- 4 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 2 HR, 18 archiveable

31) Cronenberg- 3 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 2 HR, 14 archiveable

30) De Sica- 2 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 1 HR, 9 archiveable

29) Altman- 3 masterpieces, 4 must-see, 2 HR, 16 archiveable

28) Lean 4 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 2 HR, 13 archiveable

27) Antonioni– 1 masterpieces, 5 must-see, 9 archiveable

26) PT Anderson- 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 7 archiveable

25) Coen- 4 masterpieces, 5 must-see, 1 HR, 16 archiveable

24) Eisenstein- 1 masterpiece, 4 must-see, 5 archiveable

23) Allen– 4 masterpieces, 5-6 must-see, 4-5 HR, 29 archiveable

22) Tarantino– 4 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 7 archiveable

21) Murnau– 2 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 7 archiveable.

20) Leone– 3 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 6 archiveable

19) Bunuel– 3 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 2 HR, 13 archiveable

18) Ophüls- 5 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 1 HR, 8 archivaeble

17) Malick– 4 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 6 archivaeble

16) Lynch– 2 masterpieces, 4 must-see, 9 archiveable

15) Renoir- 2 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 3 HR’s, 14 archiveable

14) Hawks- 5 masterpieces, 2 must-see, 3.5 HR’s, 19 archiveable

13) Godard- 3 masterpieces, 1 must-see, 3 HR’s, 12 archiveable

12) Lang- 2 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 4 HR’s, 22 archiveable

11) Truffaut– 3 masterpieces, 3 must-see, 2 HR’s, 19 archiveable

10) Tarkovsky- 2 masterpieces, 4 must-see, 7 archiveable