DUNGEON DIRECTOR PROJECT: My 50 Favourite Directors #40 – #36
Two From Japan, One From France, One from the U.S.A. and One from Canada!! The Dungeon Director Project continues…
My 50 Favourite Directors #40 – #36
*NOTE: I did not include any made for TV movies in the numbers I used for each director’s full-length feature films.*
#40. Guy Maddin
What I’ve Seen: Tales from the Gimli Hospital (1989), Archangel (1991), Careful (1992), Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary (2002), Cowards Bend the Knee or The Blue Hands (2003), The Saddest Music in the World (2003), Brand Upon the Brain! (2006), My Winnipeg (2007),
Canadian director Guy Maddin has made 10 full length feature films and a ton of short films! I’ve seen 8 of 10 of his features and every last one has been a unique treat. I enthusiastically await seeing Twilight of the Ice Nymphs (1997) and Keyhole (2011)! Maddin is definitely a strange cat. His black and white masterpieces of weirdness are quite unlike anything you are likely to see. Tales from Gimli Hospital, Cowards Bend the Knee and Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary are pure gold! The early film making techniques borrowed from silent cinema and early talkies make an oddly effective partner for his bizarre stories. Like arsenic and old lace! Often set in his home province of Winnipeg, Manitoba (which we Canadians affectionately call Winter Pig) his films are funny, surreal, disturbing and psychosexual. Maddin is one of our finest exports!
#39. Shion Sono
What I’ve Seen: Suicide Club (2001), Noriko’s Dinner Table (2005), Strange Circus (2005), Hazard (2005), Love Exposure (2008), Cold Fish (2010), Guilty of Romance (2011)
Yesterday I posted a link to the Shion Sono Appreciation Society Podcast, where I chat with fellow film fanatic Jason about the director’s work. Sono is one of the most interesting and talented of the new wave of Japanese filmmakers in this gals humble opinion. Just a few days ago I re-watched Cold Fish which I had not seen since the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2010. What a fantastic film! I found even more to love about Cold Fish the second time and I think I would have to give the film a perfect score. Suicide Club also garnered a perfect score from me. I also had a chance to see Guilty of Romance recently and despite mixed reviews I thought it was fantastic! Shion Sono has yet to make a film I didn’t like! Sono has made 23 full length feature films and I have seen seven. I am psyched to see his newest entry The Land of Hope, which with any luck will turn up at VIFF this October. Sono forces ordinary people into extraordinary situations tackling subjects from incest, abuse and rape to suicide, peer pressure and abandonment. Sono’s genre-defying films prove there are still original ideas out there and filmmakers with the balls and talent to make them!
#38. Kaneto Shindo
What I’ve Seen: Children of Hiroshima (1952), The Naked Island (1960), Onibaba (1964), Kuroneko (1968),
Japanese director Kaneto Shindo made 45 full length feature films (2 are documentaries) and I have seen only 4! I have had no luck finding any other Shindo films on DVD. I gave Onibaba, The Naked Island and Kuroneko 5/5 and Onibaba and Kuroneko are on my top 100 favourite horror films of all time list. Be warned, The Naked Island, is incredible but unlike the two aforementioned it is not a horror film. Wonderful, moody, atmospheric tales that are perfect in every way. Visuals, sounds, intriguing stories and fantastic characters; it’s all here! I could not give this small list of films higher kudos! I will continue my quest for Shindo’s films. Evidently the director died this year, May 29 at the age of 100! Freaking 100 ya’ll!!
#37. Jean-Luc Godard
What I’ve Seen: Breathless (1960), A Woman Is a Woman (1961), My Life to Live (1962), Contempt (1963), Band of Outsiders (1964), Alphaville (1965), Pierrot le fou (1965), Masculin Féminin (1966),
French director Jean-Luc Godard is part of the 60s new wave of directors which ignited my imagination when I was younger. After discovering foreign films in college I couldn’t get enough, and Jean-Luc Godard was one of my earliest discoveries. I love the 60s style and no two women wore it better than Godard muses Jean Seberg and Anna Karina. Seberg and Karina were the epitome of cool and damn talented actresses too! Godard raged against the mainstream with his inventive camerawork, a hearty helping of his brand of politics and philosophy and a goodly amount of nods to other filmmakers. I have seen 8 of his 34 full length feature films and would be hard pressed to pick just one favourite. It would be a toss up between Breathless, Contempt, Band of Outsiders, Alphaville or Masculin Féminin. Godard has inspired countless directors, many of which will appear on this list or have already! I have so much more to explore in Godard’s world! Vive La France!
#36. John Carpenter
What I’ve Seen: Dark Star (1974), Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), Halloween (1978), The Fog (1980), Escape from New York (1981), The Thing (1982), Christine (1983), Starman (1984), Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Prince of Darkness (1987), They Live (1988), Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), In the Mouth of Madness (1994), Village of the Damned (1995), Escape from L.A. (1996), Vampires (1998), Ghosts of Mars (2001), The Ward (2010)
I have seen all 18 of American director John Carpenter’s full length feature films. Carpenter was a God of the 80s! Sadly, with the exception of In the Mouth of Madness and to a lesser extent Vampires; Carpenter’s post 80s films have been a bummer. That said, the man has made some epic contributions! The Thing and Halloween are two of the best horror films ever made! They Live, Assault on Precinct 13 and Escape from New York are also brilliant! Dark Star, The Fog, Christine, Prince of Darkness and Big Trouble in Little China aren’t chopped liver either. Carpenter’s films have entertained me immensely over the years! Carpenter’s great characters have freaked me out and made me laugh; the man can do action, comedy, Sci-fi and horror and he did em all so very well. Halloween was one of North America’s first successful slashers and would inspire a flurry of copy cats. It also set a bar in the sub-genre, one few other directors would achieve. The Thing was also a real game changer. The Thing has intensity to spare, a perfect chemistry among its cast and some of the best gore effects ever caught on celluloid. Mind-blowing effects from back in the day that few have topped. John fucking Carpenter…I salute you!