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Thread: Favorite Film Directors

  1. #1
    Torchbearer Demian's Avatar
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    Favorite Film Directors

    Here's hoping there are some fans out there of strange filmmakers and the visions they create. Anyone who'd like to talk about another director/writer is welcome.

    Just to get the ball rolling...I decided to post this after seeing Lynch's latest. It was a two disc thing with over 4 hours of material on it. The first film was a kind of exploration of the whole simulacra/simulacrum conundrum. Laura Dern played an actress who could no longer distinguish the events unfolding in her life from the movie she was making. I thought it really hit home on the old "how do you determine which is the real fake" question. Being a Lynch film, this was a bit hard to follow in the beginning (and middle at times). But Lynch, as always, came through in the end. The title eludes me (someone else picked it up) but I'll add it to the list when I find it if anyone is interested (or someone out there who knows can volunteer the info).

    "When you listen to the radio you are a witness of the everlasting war between thing and idea, appearance and reality--the human, and the divine."
    -Hermann Hesse

  2. #2
    Mad Hatter Mark F.'s Avatar
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    Inland Empire's the film you're talking about. I just piicked it up on DVD, haven't watched it yet though. I've seen every Lynch film except that one and Twin Peaks. My favourite is Lost Highway and I love his other two film noir twists, Mulholland Drive and Blue Velvet. I also like his two more mainstream films, The Elephant Man and The Straight Story. A great director, his films may be puzzling in many ways but they always have an impact onthe audience.

    I've seen a lot of Cronenberg's films as well, I'm more a fan of his earlier work, even though Spider and History of Violence are good flicks. Crash stands apart as it's really something special and disturbing. Very erotic. I mean that in a good way. Videodrome is his masterpiece though, and some of his early films like Rabid, Scanners and Dead Zone (starring Walken) are definitely worth seeing. If you're a Burroughs fan, what he did with Naked Lunch is very interesting, mixing the story with events from the author's life (like the William Tell episode). Good film about artistic creation.

    I wonder what you mean by strange filmmakers though, I don't think they're strange, or that their films are strange. I guess one director who may be compared to them in the way I think you're getting at is Shinya Tsukamoto, a Japanese director. His first films, Tetsuo and Tetsuo 2 (in English, The Iron Man) tell the story of a man who's body is slowly covered by metallic parts like cogs and sheets of iron, his arms turn into guns, it's very weird. The editing of the first film is also experimental, making it something very special. I've seen some of his other films, Tokyo Fist and Bullet Ballet, I liked both but they're very violent. Bullet Ballet is filmed in a beautiful black and white, sort of a film noir taking place in Tokyo.
    "And the worms, they will climb
    The rugged ladder of your spine"

  3. #3
    Torchbearer Demian's Avatar
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    Thanks for the reccommendations-I'll definitely give them a shot. I'd have to say that these gentlemen are if not strange then at the very least offbeat and unconventional. Being strange is not necessarily something bad. I remember seeing an interview that Cronenberg gave in which he was quoted, "Imagine drilling a hole in someone's forehead and capturing the entire content of their dream on film and you will have a good idea of what I am trying to do." I could imagine Speilberg using the dream analogy when talking about his work, but I couldn't imagine him putting it quite this same way. This captures the strangeness of Cronenberg (and Lynch, too) to me.
    Last edited by Demian; 09-10-2007 at 06:36 AM. Reason: added letters

    "When you listen to the radio you are a witness of the everlasting war between thing and idea, appearance and reality--the human, and the divine."
    -Hermann Hesse

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    malkavian manolia's Avatar
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    Mark has pretty much said everything..I'll second "Lost highway" which is my favourite Lynch film too and "Twin Peaks" the series (the best thing i've seen on tv, ever). Do watch the series first and then watch the movie "Twin peaks, fire walk with me". If you try to watch the movie first, you'll be confused. This movie was destined for fans of the series
    Anyway, Lynch is one of my favourite directors (*points signature*) and i really like Cronenberg. But i don't think they are strange. They are simply great
    Last edited by manolia; 09-10-2007 at 06:46 AM. Reason: typo
    Through the darkness of future past
    the magician longs to see
    one chance out between two worlds
    'Fire walk with me.'


    Twin Peaks

  5. #5
    Mad Hatter Mark F.'s Avatar
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    How many seasons of Twin Peaks did he make? One or two? I'll pick them up one day, and the film as well.

    Yeah, they're offbeat and I understand why you think they're strange. What I meant is that it's not really the same strange. Does that make sense? By the way, if you want more offbeat modern film makers, check out Kusturica, Jarmusch and Ferrara.
    "And the worms, they will climb
    The rugged ladder of your spine"

  6. #6
    malkavian manolia's Avatar
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    There are two seasons of Twin Peaks but not all episodes* are directed by Lynch. Somewhere in the second season he got really tired, lost interest and somewhat abandoned the whole project. That's why the second season isn't as good as the first and it has a quite abrupt ending (an ending it is but it has the "to be continued sense" but alas! it was never continued ).
    Have you seen "Wild at heart"?

    *Don't remember exact number. I'll search for a link..wait..
    Through the darkness of future past
    the magician longs to see
    one chance out between two worlds
    'Fire walk with me.'


    Twin Peaks

  7. #7
    Torchbearer Demian's Avatar
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    I would add Linkletter to this list of 'distinctive' and distinguished filmmakers. He made a number of mainstream movies like Before Sunrise and The Newton Boys, but he also made smaller gems like Waking Life, Slacker and A Scanner Darkly for his hardcore followers. He worked with a team that invented a new type of animation for Waking Life (called rotoscope) which he used also in A Scanner Darkly as well. He's got his own unique vision going on. I also think Stuart Gordon deserves a nod here. He put out the only two descent Lovecraft pictures--Re-Animator and Dagon. I thought Dagon was brilliant; truly the first movie to really latch on to the philosophy of Lovecraft and not get all caught up in monsters and gore.
    P.S.--I'd put Wild at Heart right after Lost Highway as being my favorite Lynch film.
    Last edited by Demian; 09-10-2007 at 07:04 AM. Reason: Post Script

    "When you listen to the radio you are a witness of the everlasting war between thing and idea, appearance and reality--the human, and the divine."
    -Hermann Hesse

  8. #8
    malkavian manolia's Avatar
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    Here's a guide to the episodes of both seasons

    http://www.lynchnet.com/tp/episodes.html

    You'll see that even in the first season there were a few directors involved, but under Lynch's guidance.

    There is another site with FAQ

    http://www.twinpeaks.org/faqtop.htm

    Mark, if you don't like Twin Peaks, please be gentle

    Edit

    In "Wild at heart" most of the characters Nicholas Cage meets down the road (from the persons involved in the car accident to the "angel like" blond girl towards the end) are the actors from Twin peaks, it was kinda Lynch's inside joke in the movie
    Last edited by manolia; 09-10-2007 at 07:13 AM.
    Through the darkness of future past
    the magician longs to see
    one chance out between two worlds
    'Fire walk with me.'


    Twin Peaks

  9. #9
    Mad Hatter Mark F.'s Avatar
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    I've seen Wild at Heart but it's not my favourite Lynch film. I'll have to watch it again some day though as I've only seen it once. Thanks for the Twin Peaks links.

    I saw A Scanner Darkly but thought the film was confusing and not as good as Dick's novel, one of his very best with Ubik and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

    Re-Animator is good fun, but I wouldn't put Gordon on the same level as all the other directors who've been mentioned in this thread. Still, a film where the bad guy is a severed head on a tray carried around by his own headless corpse is a great concept, heh.

    Since you mentioned a horror director, what about Romero? Of course his living dead films have a pretty big cult following, but his best film IMO is called Martin. A vampire film with a very interesting and modern take on the theme. Actually it's one of my favourite horror films, and the best vampire film I've seen. Another good Romero film is called The Crazies which has some haunting imagery.
    Last edited by Mark F.; 09-10-2007 at 07:58 AM.
    "And the worms, they will climb
    The rugged ladder of your spine"

  10. #10
    Torchbearer Demian's Avatar
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    I don't know if they'll ever be able to translate a PKD or Lovecraft novel with a large degree of success. A Scanner Darkly did leave out quite a bit from the novel version, but I felt that he captured the spirit of the novel. There was a scene in Waking Life in which a filmmaker was commenting on the fact that good literature rarely translated into good films. I don't agree with this idea in every case. But using PKD as an example, his novels are loaded with a number of abstract concepts, bits of religion and philosophy and when you add in his own vision the whole thing would probably look daunting to tackle. Of course, there's always the filmmaker's vision, and you could argue that this is what turned Bladerunner into a cult movie. When PKD saw it, he was floored by the entire look of the film but disappointed with their handling of the plot. He chalked all this up to working with Hollywood, though, and thought they did the best they could.
    Last edited by Demian; 09-10-2007 at 11:26 AM. Reason: 'n' for novel

    "When you listen to the radio you are a witness of the everlasting war between thing and idea, appearance and reality--the human, and the divine."
    -Hermann Hesse

  11. #11
    Torchbearer Demian's Avatar
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    Scorcese, Allen and Coppola

    The trinity of America's greatest directors in our time. Would anyone care to submit a favorite film, character or cinematic moment from these artists?

    "When you listen to the radio you are a witness of the everlasting war between thing and idea, appearance and reality--the human, and the divine."
    -Hermann Hesse

  12. #12
    Mad Hatter Mark F.'s Avatar
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    I'm not a huge Woody fan, Annie Hall is brilliant and I've seen a few others. I didn't enjoy Match Point, but loved Scoop, and I've seen some others I have mixed feelings for.

    Scorsese has finally woken up after a few years of doing nothing much, No Direction Home, his documentary on Dylan, and The Departed are so much better than his previous efforts (Aviator, Gangs of New York). His best film though, is Taxi Driver. Travis Bickle is the perfect antihero and the atmosphere of the film is so bleak.

    Coppola, he's something special. He directed four films in the 70's and they're all masterpieces. Most people have seen Godfather parts 1 and 2 and Apocalypse Now. The fourth film is called The Conversation, a smaller film, starring a paranoid Gene Hackman. If you haven't seen it, you must check it out. I couldn't pick one of those four films as being his best. I also like Rumble Fish with Mickey Rourke and the constant Tom Waits cameos in his films.

    However, there are a couple of directors I need to mention here cause they were involved in the New Hollywood era of the 70's which saw the birth of the Allen/Scorsese/Coppola trio. Sidney Lumet is still making films, Dog Day Afternoon and 12 Angry Men are classic. Jerry Schatzberg brought the best out of Al Pacino in The Panic in Needle Park and Scarecrow.

    Peckinpah is my favourite modern American director though, between 1969 and 1974 he made The Wild Bunch, The Ballad of Cable Hogue, Straw Dogs, The Getaway, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. All those films were highly influential on the following generations of film makers.
    "And the worms, they will climb
    The rugged ladder of your spine"

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    Mad Hatter Mark F.'s Avatar
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    Bergman, Pasolini, Tarkovski

    Following Demian's example I thought I'd get a thread going about my favourite European directors. I know there are other fans on the forum, so what are youre favourite films and who are your favourite European film makers?

    I'll start with Tarkovski as I've only seen a couple of his films which makes it easier to talk about him. I know that's not much to judge him on but I was blown away. The cinematography in Stalker is beautiful and the way The Mirror is writtenis very puzzling. I'm craving for more of his films but the dvds are very expensive so I have to be patient.

    Bergman's films are unique, they're all very different but they're also immediately recognisable as Bergman films. The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries and Persona are my personal favourites, but his catalogue is so huge that it's hard to pick a few. Some of his less famous films, like Hour of the Wolf and Shame are worth checking out.

    One thing I like about Pasolini is the fact that the catholics hated him cause he was gay, the neofascists hated him because he was a communist, the communists hated him because he was catholic and intellectuals hated him because he constantly disagreed with them. He is also the only director I know of who was murdered for reasons pertaining to his work. Accatone and Salo show how much his style evolved between his first and last films.
    "And the worms, they will climb
    The rugged ladder of your spine"

  14. #14
    malkavian manolia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demian View Post
    The trinity of America's greatest directors in our time. Would anyone care to submit a favorite film, character or cinematic moment from these artists?
    I love Allen. I don't have a favourite film. He always makes me laugh, despite the fact that his movies are so alike and he always seems to be playing the same character. He is brilliant.
    Scorcese is very nice. "Taxi driver" is my favourite (no surprise there) and i like lots of his other films. I didn't much enjoy watching "The departed" though.
    Coppola. What can i say? I like every film i've seen. "Conversation" is indeed brilliant and kind of disturbing. I also loved "Dracula". I am a big fan of the book and although this wasn't exactly an adaptation, i loved the film nevertheless. I have seen it 15 times

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark F. View Post
    Following Demian's example I thought I'd get a thread going about my favourite European directors. I know there are other fans on the forum, so what are youre favourite films and who are your favourite European film makers?
    I agree with what you say about Pasolini and Bergman. As for Tarkovsky, having seen only "Solyaris" i don't have much of an opinion. But "Solyaris" was a beautiful film.

    I'll add to the list Michelangelo Antonnioni and Luccino Visconti. Favourite films "L'eclisse" and "Rocco and his brothers" respectively.
    I'll also add Reiner Werner Fassbinder which is my favourite european director (but the first place changes from time to time ). Favourite film "In a year with 13 moons".
    Last edited by manolia; 09-14-2007 at 08:32 AM.
    Through the darkness of future past
    the magician longs to see
    one chance out between two worlds
    'Fire walk with me.'


    Twin Peaks

  15. #15
    Torchbearer Demian's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed The Age of Innocence and was a little bewildered by the notion of a Scorcese film without any violence. It was like Match Point for Allen, a real departure from his usual fare. I can't recall Coppola coming out with anything since Dracula, besides producing movies for his daughter and others. As for the European directors I have only seen one of Bergman's films (shame on me) and know nothing of the other two. I'll dig on in as soon as I can so we'll have more to discuss.

    "When you listen to the radio you are a witness of the everlasting war between thing and idea, appearance and reality--the human, and the divine."
    -Hermann Hesse

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