Thursday 20 December 2012

My Favourite Directors

        Well my blog is almost three now and I am celebrating this milestone with various lists. In this, I look at 15 of my most favourite directors, since I am simply incapable of stopping at just 10. Even though I might have not seen all the films that they have made, these filmmakers are my role models and people I admire the most in this world. Cinema is a gift and no one makes me more thankful for it than the following visionaries-

Tim Burton

In spite of the unfortunate choices Burton has been making of late, he was one of the first directors to make me crazy about films. His eccentric characters, dark humour, unique settings, but all with a romantic touch to it are usually a joy to watch. Not to mention he uses my favourite actor in everything ( that should stop for now though).
Favourite films- Edward Scissorhands, Big Fish, Ed Wood

Steven Spielberg

One of the few Hollywood directors introduced to me through my dad, I was instantly swept away in Spielberg's close encounters with adorable yet heart-breaking aliens. And after that came the ultimate hero in the form of a daredevil archaeologist. I began thinking of him as the coolest action director, only to then stumble upon Schindler's List and be stunned. Very few directors can do equal justice to childlike wonder and the worst of humanity.
Favourite films- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Schindler's List, Close Encounters of the Third Kind

John Hughes

I have had nothing resembling an American teenage, but I almost feel like I have because of Hughes's evergreen films (and yes, I know how depressing that sounds). No one understood young people like him. His films are as funny as they are perceptive and smart. Also, Kevin McCallister was every kid's role model.
Favourite films- The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Home Alone

Martin Scorsese

It was very recently when I actually started watching Scorsese's films. I started with Taxi Driver, and needless to say, I was completely bowled over. A true devotee of cinema, most of the films that I have seen of his are violent and edgy, with troubled characters and a lot of Rolling Stones. Then of course, there is Hugo, which is one of the most beautiful love-letters to films I have ever seen and kind of helped me turn my life around, something I am very thankful to Scorsese for.
Favourite films- Taxi Driver, Hugo, The Aviator

Pedro Almodóvar

When I first sat down to watch Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, it was more for that outrageous name than anything else. Instead, I got this hilarious, colourful, slightly crazy tale of wonderfully real women and I was instantly hooked on to Almodóvar. Every film I see of his turns out to be beyond anything I could have imagined. Complicated narratives that seamlessly mix melodrama and humour (in most cases), memorable characters and vibrant look have made him quite a favourite of mine, in spite of having watched only five of his films.
Favourite films- Talk to Her, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, The Skin I Live In.

Alfred Hitchcock

The master of suspense himself. It is not only the terror and the thrill of his films that is so engaging, but also the exploration of the human psyche that he did better than anyone before or after him. His storyboard precision and complete domination over his work is more than inspiring.  His films can be darkly funny, romantic, tragic, horrific and exciting. The way he crafted his scenes has caused some of them to be imprinted in our minds forever, from a crop-cutter to the birds in a playground to an unbelievably passionate kiss to of course, a murder in a shower.
Favourite films- Psycho, Notorious, Rear Window

Paul Thomas Anderson

I have seen five out of the six films that PTA has made and among them, I was indifferent towards one and hated another because of huge amphibians falling from the sky. Which leaves me with only three films and god, what mighty films they are in their own ways. He is prodigiously gifted in his craft. One of my favourite things about his films is how they have a momentum to them- they keep building up and they have the power to just leave you rapt. Added to that characters that have never been more broken, excellent single-takes, gorgeous cinematography and scores. Also, the existence of Boogie Nights never fails to baffle me- how did he do it?
Favourite films- Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood, Punch-Drunk Love

Billy Wilder

He possibly has the greatest range as a director that I have ever seen. I refused to believe that the man who made Some Like It Hot also made Double Indemnity. Same for The Apartment and Sunset Boulevard. His comedies and his noirs are equally fantastic and his characters unforgettable.
Favourite films- The Apartment, Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot

Wes Anderson

It really speaks to me when a director puts effort into making his film completely his own, so much so that even a single shot of his movies can make the viewer figure out that it is that specific director's movie. Basically, auteurs are the shizz and Anderson is one such singularity in today's world of cinema. His use of colours and music, with efficient yet troubled characters in the centre of it all is a joy to watch, even though his films usually have a dark undercurrent to them. The Bill Murray presence is also appreciated.
Favourite films- Rushmore, Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox

Edgar Wright

Now Wright has made only three films, but all of them are so full of awesomeness that I happen to love the shit out of him! He has a sort of Midas-like touch with which he takes over-used genres like zombie movie or buddy-cop movie or a video-game/graphic-novel inspired movie, and turns them into hilarious, smart, heroic tales about love and friendship and a girl with hair like this
Favorite films- Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Hot Fuzz (and The World's End 'cuz duh)

Stanley Kubrick

Like in the case of Wes Anderson, a Kubrick film is always distinctly-Kubrick. The camera angles, settings, music, movie adaptations of questionable books, sometimes nudity are what makes them so Kubrick. But the reason why he gets a higher ranking is, well, balls. I think his films are ballsy and bold and he is completely unafraid to show futility of war or glorification of violence or a sci-fi adventure that shows human evolution or a dream-like odyssey of self-discovery and so on. There is nothing I love more than ambition, and all his films were extremely, ballsily, ambitious, which is magnificent.
Favourite films- A Clockwork Orange, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, 2001: A Space Odyssey

Sofia Coppola

Yes I do realise that this list has a dearth of female directors, but if its any consolation, I happen to be in love with one. Ever since I saw The Virgin Suicides, Coppola's way of story-telling has enticed me. Her films are very feminine, with usually a beautiful and lonely girl at the centre. Still, it's not just flowers and clothes with her films, even though something like Marie Antoinette can make you believe that. Her later films all tackle with growing up around wealth and fame, and how lonely it makes a person. The atmosphere and lighting in her films, with a soft, lovely scores accompanying them, make her films uniquely dreamy and romantic.
Favourite films- Marie Antoinette, The Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation

David Fincher

The thing I love about Fincher is that he makes good, clean, practically perfect movies. While many of the other directors in this list are chosen for their particular quirks and trademarks, which Fincher has as well, he is here because of how well made his films are. Notorious for his incessant takes to get the perfect shot, it is evident from the end products why he does so. Probably because of his music video-director roots, Fincher's film are impeccably paced and his dark and gritty thrillers are a lot of fun to watch with their special brand of uncomfortably dry wit so (see: the Enya song in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo when a man is about to be raped and killed).
Favourite films- Fight Club, The Social Network, Se7en

Quentin Tarantino

I am tempted to write "BECAUSE HE IS AWESOME!!!!" and be done with it, but we all know it is more than just that. Tarantino lives and breathes films, and he uses this love for them to make an amalgam of the many, many, many things he has watched and give us his movies. His movies are gorgeously violent and incredibly funny, with some doomed romances on the side. His characters talk like no other, fight like no other and definitely dance like nothing I have ever seen before. The man even has his own filmography planned, which even though sounds nothing short of apocalyptic for us QT-worshippers, is infinitely cool because he is just that interested in movies, including those he makes himself.
Favourite films- Kill Bill Vol. 1, Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds

Woody Allen

While Hugo in many ways helped me get my film-loving back on track, it was Woody's The Purple Rose of Cairo that made me first realise how much I loved and lived cinema. I owe whatever life I am going to have to this man. And it's not just because of Cairo, but almost every film that I have seen of his. Woody Allen's movies have a knack of curing me of whatever mood is ailing me at a point of time and making me feel calm and happy because I have watched something I loved, and also incredibly wistful because I could never make anything like that. Woody does dramedies better than anyone else, which my favourite genre. His films can be deadly funny and still have a lot of poignancy in them. I laugh, I cry, I feel inspired by all the cultural aspects of his films, and even frightened by the bleakness in his dramas. 

Woody makes his films because he makes his films, and there is no other reason to it. He tells a story and moves on to the next, and though that makes it harder to catch-up, it is something magical when I stumble upon a Woody film that I know I will love forever (which thankfully happens often enough). 

His muses are as legendary as they are beautiful and his love for New York is contagious, even though I have never been there myself. The use of music, of arts and culture, lately the beauty of European cities are some of the things that make his movies so special. In the end though, it is all about the stories and relationships that he can show so masterfully.
Favoruite films- The Purple Rose of Cairo, Interiors, Midnight in Paris

Woody Allen is my film god and my greatest wish is to meet him once and to thank him (and then break down crying etc.).


  1. Great List !! More than anything, I am happy to see Wilder on the list as I consider him one of my favourites as well.

    1. Thank you :) Wilder is awesome. I must watch more of his stuff.

  2. Excellent picks here. Love that we have so many in common. And Jesus, where did you find these stills? I mean, is there anything better than Quentin Tarantino washing his Pussy Wagon?

    1. Thank you! Tumblr is the way. No, there is nothing better than QT washing his Pussy Wagon (must admit for a microsecond there, I didn't know what you were talking about :P).

    2. Ha, oh god, I'm so glad you figured it out. I'm really NOT a perv, I promise!

  3. Woody at #1? Hitchcock and Kubrick in the top 10? Love it! :)

  4. My heart just made a jump when I saw Woody Allen topping this list!!!

    Recently I've been reading many rather negative comments on him, while most people think he's a hit-or-miss, but for me he's hit-or-absolutelyawesome :D.

    The rest of the list is fantastic too, from Coppola to my current obsession Kubrick to Billy Wilder (who would've thought he made Some Like It Hot too? - I only watched Double Indemnity).
    And OMG Wes Anderson ;).

    1. I don't understand the negativity. Really do not. Woody is my one and only :P

      I love all these people. Glad you do too.