Sunday, June 27, 2010

Directors - creme de la creme

By Lakshya Dutta
....who are still active and only getting better.

Martin Scorsese
He has made so many great films in his time that naming even a couple that stand out would do injustice to the rest. He is an artist, and his every frame is masterfully constructed. He's done every genre: drama, crime, horror, suspense, biography, comedy, musical, documentary - and delivered classics each time. Leonardo Dicaprio, who has collaborated with Scorsese in 4 films, calls him "the film encyclopedia". A true living legend.

Steven Spielberg
He has worked with everyone. His movies earn oscars, and are also huge blockbusters at the box office. He runs successful TV and film production companies that, along with his directorial jobs, make him the richest artist in hollywood. He is most popular for directing Jurassic Park (1993), Jaws (1975), Indiana Jones and E.T. (1982); but I would also suggest watching:Schindler's List (1993), Empire of the Sun (1987) , Munich (2005), The Terminal (2004), and The Color Purple (2005).

Woody Allen
A better writer than a director, he has a few misses every decade or so. Still his best work is in the hall of fame and its the content of his films that sets him apart from the rest. His scripts don't have dialogues - only descriptions and plot points, and the rest is improvisation. This technique is highly risky for a film crew as well as a studio, but Allen delivers every time. Some like his humor, while some like his take on morality; his films have everything for everyone - philosophy, comedy, suspense, drama, satire - mostly all in one! While most people prefer his earlier works (Annie Hall (1977), Hannah and her Sisters (1986)), I would consider myself a fan of his newer films, my favorites being Match Point (2005), and Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) (watch this one for improvised dialogue).

Quentin Tarantino
I will always watch anything he makes. His scripts are true genius. And he knows it. What's even better - he doesn't just direct; he creates art with his camera, where every scene is beautifully crafted and framed. He even publishes his screenplays to share his gift (the ego is part of the package I guess). His films have form and content both, and are perfectly executed. But what impresses me most about his work is how he learned how to do it - he used to work at a video rental store, so he watched everything. When someone asked him what film school he went to, his reply was "I didn't go to film school, I went to films." More on his films later.

Christopher Nolan
As I mentioned in an earlier post, this man made superhero films real. His first film is still one of the most innovative screenplays I have ever come across. His style is modern-Scorsese, plus he writes his own scripts. For these reasons he happens to be the most sought-after director in hollywood and also one of the most highly paid. And he's just getting started. Within only a decade of entering the industry, he has written and directed 6 films, and 5 of those names can be found on the Best 250 Films of All Time List ( When the studio saw how he made superhero films profitable and oscar-worthy, they asked him to reboot the Superman Franchise, which he will be writing and producing in the coming years.


  1. Nolan is still to young to say that he's still active... even Tarantino... I think they are at the prime of their craft now...

    Would put Jean Luc Godard in this category...

  2. Godard, a great director of course, didn't make the list since his best work is behind him. He ruled the 60's and 70's.
    I wanted to focus on the ones who are still "active" to filter out the legends such as Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Charlie Chaplin, etc.
    Nolan and tarantino are young but they've already produced films that defined the past decade (or past two decades in Tarantino's case).
    I would have left out Woody Allen if he hadn't make Vicky Cristina Barcelone :)


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