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lady_wakasa [userpic]

uh-oh, she's been thinking again...

October 13th, 2006 (11:59 pm)

In general, I don't like to make up lists. But I've been thinking about this for awhile, and decided to take a stab at it. So below: my favorite directors, along with a brief explanation why (and no, it's not a fascination with the letter M).

  • Murnau: his eye, and the way he says so much with just a few pictures. There's the opening sequence of Tartuffe, when you learn from a few well-positioned images about a servant who detests her master, but pretends devotion in order to pull something over on him - no dialog / intertitles needed. Great framing device for the story, and great story in and of itself. If a picture is worth a thousand words, and pictures are the first thing to encounter in film, then we can only be thankful that Murnau's career was rooted in silents.
  • Mizoguchi: ordinary people in overwhelming situations. Kurosawa is the better-known Japanese filmmaker in the West (possibly because of the timing of Mizoguchi's death), but Mizoguchi is more rooted in Japanese literature - and more than holds his own against Kurosawa. (Kurosawa, in fact, acknowledged a debt to Mizoguchi.) Greed, bad luck, tragedy, the wages of sin - all of these play out across Mizoguchi's screen.
  • Lubitsch: the Lubitsch Touch (and I shouldn't have to say more). He's got a wicked hit-and-run zinger of a sense of humor that often comes out of nowhere. There's sophistication and the comedies are actually funny. Wives and mistresses, thieves and the wealthy, all with tongue firmly in cheek. I'd happily spend much more than one hour with him, anytime.
  • Maddin: he's wacky, absurdist, and heavily influenced by silents. Whether it's his own material (with a wink at the audience) or a commission (still winking), he's got his own well-defined style stamped on what's playing out on the screen. Reviewers describe his work as fever dreams. The term's overdone, but it does give you a sense of what's going on.