The 191st Best Director of All-Time: Cristian Mungiu

Mungiu. Cristian Mungiu is the leader of the Romanian New Wave that took place during the 2000’s—the crowning achievement of the entire movement is pretty easily Mungiu’s 4 Months 3 Weeks, 2 Days. Mungiu has made five feature films to date (4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days was his second film) since 2002 (his debut) and I’ve been able to get my hands on three of them—all of them in the archive below. He’s one of the few auteurs left that I have not mentioned that has a masterpiece and that’s his strength, though certainly Beyond the Hills and

The 191st Best Director of All-Time: Cristian Mungiu2020-07-03T10:28:07+00:00

The 190th Best Director of All-Time: Danny Boyle

Boyle. Boyle’s trademark kinetic style makes him an easy-to-spot auteur. He’s often been accused throughout the years (decades) over over-directing. I don’t believe in such a thing—or if I did—it would meant as a compliment that is shared by Kubrick, Hitchcock, Fincher, Wes Anderson, and many others—even if Boyle isn’t quite in their class (I believe they’d say those other four have more control and balance). Trainspotting is a big beacon, a shining light and clear top 500 of all-time film (and there are fewer and fewer directors with a top 500 film left and a definite aesthetic as

The 190th Best Director of All-Time: Danny Boyle2020-07-03T10:28:07+00:00

The 189th Best Director of All-Time: John Sayles

Sayles. Sayles is an Altman acolyte surely influenced by Nashville-largely making politically charged ensemble dramas set in a specific area and at a specific time. His debut Return of the Secaucus Seven was a thoughtful portrait of a group of friends reflecting on their past and where they are today- a film that would influence (or at least remarkably resemble) the 1983 ensemble hit The Big Chill from Lawrence Kasdan. Sayles often wrote screenplays or acted to make money for his films and is a major figure in independent cinema (a career arc remarkably similar to John Cassavetes). After

The 189th Best Director of All-Time: John Sayles2020-07-03T10:28:07+00:00

The 188th Best Director of All-Time: Joseph Lewis

Joseph Lewis. New York born Lewis made over 40 features, all of them B-movies, but many were destroyed or are permanently lost so there aren’t a ton available today. He ended his career in the mid-1960’s making television shows but around that time he was discovered by the New Wave critics—Gun Crazy a bellwether film, and clearly Lewis’ crowning achievement—but The Big Combo proves he’s no one-hit wonder. Best film: Gun Crazy. There is not a lot separating Lewis’ Gun Crazy and Penn’s Bonnie and Clyde in quality. The 1967 masterpiece has the bravura montage finale but Lewis’ work

The 188th Best Director of All-Time: Joseph Lewis2020-07-03T10:28:07+00:00

The 187th Best Director of All-Time: Zhangke Jia

Zhangke Jia. Like all most great auteurs it is the accumulation of Zhangke Jia’s body of work that you can fully appreciate the artist. He’s the leading director of the sixth generation of Chinese directors (fifth generation is the likes of Yimou Zhang and Kaige Chen). I’ll get to it more below but he likens himself to Ozu and Hsiao-Hsien Hou but I see more Antonioni in Zhangke Jia. The filmography depth is really what lands him here- A Touch of Sin is a really strong effort and I have it as his sixth best work. He’s a formal

The 187th Best Director of All-Time: Zhangke Jia2020-07-03T10:28:09+00:00

The 186th Best Director of All-Time: Tony Richardson

Richardson. Tony Richardson is the leading voice of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s Kitchen Sink Realism movement in the UK—also known as the angry young men movement or the British New Wave. What a stretch he had from 1959-1965! Richardson made four (the first four below) in this mode—sort of a combination of neorealism and like the Brando/Clift Elia Kazan movement in the early 1950’s. Jack Clayton’s Room at the Top is there, Resz’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, The Sporting Life by Lindsay Anderson and Kes from Loach later in the decade is part of this school.

The 186th Best Director of All-Time: Tony Richardson2020-07-03T10:28:09+00:00

The 185th Best Director of All-Time: Fred Zinnemann

Zinnemann. So, currently the list of the directors with seven of more Academy Award nominations for best director are Wyler, Scorsese, Wilder, Woody Allen, David Lean, Steven Spielberg and… wait for it… Fred Zinnemann. Wild. Austrian-Hungarian born Zinnemann doesn’t belong in this company, he wasn’t one of the best directors of any decade as the academy would have you believe and it is a bit of a stretch to call him an auteur—but he’s not exactly a slouch either. Zinnemann made some special films and his filmography is his strength- it is why he’s at this slot here- just

The 185th Best Director of All-Time: Fred Zinnemann2020-07-03T10:28:09+00:00

The 184th Best Director of All-Time: Satoshi Kon

Kon. Satoshi Kon made just a total of four films before passing away at a very young 46 years of age. All four films land in the archives. I saw Millennium Actress after doing my top 100 of the decade so it misses the metric below but will most likely be on it when I update that list. Kon is an auteur-driven animator—incredibly rare. Only Hayao Miyazaki has the clearly superior filmography and resume in that mode. Rarer still in animation is the level of ambition involved in Kon’s films. Admirable. Few auteurs—Herzog, Coppola Tarkvosky and a handful of

The 184th Best Director of All-Time: Satoshi Kon2020-07-03T10:28:12+00:00

The 183rd Best Director of All-Time: Warren Beatty

Beatty. Beatty is on the all-time actor list (like others including Eastwood, Chaplin and Keaton) but also directed a total of five films (he didn’t direct Bugsy- Levinson did—people always think it was Beatty), four of them in the archives and two of them (Reds, Dick Tracy) land very easily on the top 100 of their respective decade. Beatty’s strengths for the purposes of this list are those two films—two gorgeous films- that land on the top 100 of their decade—there aren’t many directors with a resume like that left. I can’t call him a style-plus director but the

The 183rd Best Director of All-Time: Warren Beatty2020-07-03T10:28:12+00:00

The 182nd Best Director of All-Time: John McTiernan

McTiernan. Just finished Edward Yang and now on to John McTiernan—talk about a pair- haha—hopefully anyone reading this gets a chuckle out of the juxtaposition here. McTiernan delivered not one, but two superb action films in the 1980’s—Predator and Die Hard. Die Hard lands in my top 500 of all-time (fewer and fewer directors left that can say that on the list of course) and that’s a strength. Many call it the ultimate/best/definitive action film- tough to say (another great debate is whether it’s a Christmas film? Haha) but the consistency genre work from McTiernan is worthy of praise

The 182nd Best Director of All-Time: John McTiernan2020-07-03T10:28:12+00:00

The 181st Best Director of All-Time: Edward Yang

Yang. Along with Hou Hsiao-hsien is the leading voice of the Taiwanese New Wave of the 1980’s. I am very eager to get back to Yang’s work after my breakthrough on Ozu in 2018 (and HHH in 2019). Yang’s reputation amongst cinephiles is far greater than where I have him here. I hope I’m wrong on him. For the purposes of this list his strength is certainly Yi Yi- a wonderful film. The compositions on this page are impossible to deny as well- a style+ auteur even if the filmography a little underwhelming in comparison with a few others

The 181st Best Director of All-Time: Edward Yang2022-03-20T23:07:14+00:00

The 180th Best Director of All-Time: Spike Jonze

Jonze. Exploded onto the scene in the now famous 1999 American Wave (along with wife at the time Sofia Coppola with dueling debuts in the year I believe they were married). His background before features was in making music videos- some of the most famous and iconic videos for Weezer, The Beastie Boys, Bjork and Fatboy Slim. It is no wonder that after his stunning debut (still his best film ever so slightly over Her) he was dubbed one of the generations most talented young wunderkind auteurs. For the purposes of this list, Jonze’s three films that land in

The 180th Best Director of All-Time: Spike Jonze2020-07-03T10:28:12+00:00
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