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.*

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#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!

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#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!

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#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!!

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#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!

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#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!

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16 Responses to “DUNGEON DIRECTOR PROJECT: My 50 Favourite Directors #40 – #36”

  1. John Carpenter is one of the most underrated directors ever.

    • goregirl Says:

      Won’t get an argument from me! He really should probably be in my top 30…but bloody hell I love a lot of directors!

  2. Ahhhh,with the exception of Godard and Carpenter,more uncharted territory for me. I have yet to catch up with the films of Guy Maddin. Also must try to broaden my Japanese horizons beyond Toho and Gamera. Longtime fan of Jean Luc Godard. John Carpenter would be on my list as well. Every time I watch Escape From New York,it takes me back to the Summer of 1981,and seeing the film at the Evergreen drive-in(still there!) on a double bill with another favorite from the 1980’s Fear No Evil. I was lucky enough to see all of Carpenter’s 1970’s and 80’s films at theaters and drive-ins near me. He could do no wrong in my book in those two decades,but like you,I have been disappointed for the most part in his post 1980’s movies. Still,watching films such as Escape(“Call me Snake!”),Assult on Precinct 13(love the soundtrack),Halloween,The Fog,etc give me the same rush as when I first saw them.

    • goregirl Says:

      I certainly could not recommend Kuroneko and Onibaba more highly!….a great place to start if you are interested in exploring Japanese horror…well, or Japanese cinema period. I’ve seen most of Carpenters films on the big screen too, and a few were at the drive-in. The Number 5 in Oakville (Ontario) is still there now! http://www.5drivein.com/ The Thing remains one of my most favourite big screen experiences ever! Rocked my world back than…still does!

      • Very happy the Number 5 drive-in is still there! Thanks for the link. The Thing is indeed a great big screen experience! I remember the special effects gave me the same emotional response as when I first saw Ray Harryhausen work his magic on the big screen in the 1960’s. It’s all CGI now for the most part,and taking nothing away from that process,it’s just not the same for me.

  3. John Carpenter is great:

    Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), Halloween (1978), The Fog (1980), Escape from New York (1981), The Thing (1982), Big Trouble in Little China (1986), Prince of Darkness (1987), They Live (1988)

    Now that is a solid run of films! I could watch The Thing all day on repeat… well, as long as there were breaks for food and drink. The others are flawed but still enjoyable.

    Kaneto Shindo’s Onibaba, and Kuroneko should be more widely known and appreciated because they are brilliant. Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg is wonderful and shows how film can deliver mind bending experiences.

    You know I like my Sion Sono films.

    The only chap I’m unfamiliar with is Jean-Luc Goddard. I’ve watched other French New Wave films but none of his.

    These guys would make it into my top twenty. I am very intrigued as to who makes it to the top of your list!

    • goregirl Says:

      Carpenter rocks…looking at his list I wonder why I didn’t put him in my top 30 😉

      Glad to hear people dig Guy Maddin! Maddin sways far from the mainstream, but his titles are readily available at the library. I guess we don’t have all that many directors that have had success outside the country…Denys Arcand, Bruce Macdonald, Atom Agoyan, (Agoyan made the shortlist actually) and of course Cronenberg (spoiler…yeah, he sure as hell will be on this list).

      When I was in my late teens early 20s I was really interested in the laste 60s and early 70s culture…Warhol and the factory, Timothy Leary, The Beatles, and Godard was all part of this. I always appreciate directors and musicians who march to the beat of their own drum instead of attempting to appeal to the general public. Godard’s films are easy on the eyes, and if for no other reason, you must appreicate the beauty and talent of Ms. Anna Karina!

      What? You like Shion Sono?!

      • Denys Arcand’s and Agoyan’s films are regularly screened in the UK and Cronenberg is a major name. That’s a great list of directors.

        “Godard’s films are easy on the eyes, and if for no other reason, you must appreicate the beauty and talent of Ms. Anna Karina!”

        • goregirl Says:

          NiCe!! I am digging The Field Mice! I can’t believe I have never heard of this band…and they have been around since the 80s! Yeesh.

  4. Guy Maddin is my number 60 director in my personal list, I’ve only seen some of his short films and not a single one of his features, but his distinct style and craftsmanship make it a great director already for me, one that has made beautiful and nostalgic works. My favorite of the films he’s directed and that I’ve seen is “The Heart of the World” (2000) which I rated 9/10.

    Sion Sono is in number 69 in my personal list, and he’s one of the best working directors right now, japanese or not, and one that tackles a lot of modern issues and in a really crude way, and he also made one of the best movies ever made, which is my favorite of the films he’s directed and that I’ve seen is “Love Exposure” (2008) which I rated 10/10.

    Kaneto Shindo is not listed, as I’ve only seen one of his films

    Jean-Luc Godard is in the number 70 in my personal list, and I just love his overall moviemaking style, always rebelious and with great and deep ideas at every turn here and there, I even like his more recent films, more than anyone I guess, and I always look forward to see every film of his catalogue.. My favorite of the films he’s directed is “Breathless” (1960) which I rated 10/10.

    John Carpenter is in the number 33 in my personal list,and I just love him and actually think that we are actually connected regarding his films, they are fun and scary at the same time, he is one of the masters of horror and sci fi and he maintains this title to this day, no question about it. My favorite of the films he’s directed is “Halloween” (1978) which I rated 10/10.

    My 5:

    40. Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Alive in Joburg) *District 9 10/10
    39. Ingmar Bergman (Hour of the Wolf, Wild Strawberries) *Wild Strawberries 10/10
    38. Ben Affleck (The Town, Gone Baby Gone) *Gone Baby Gone 10/10
    37. Sam Raimi (Drag Me to Hell, Spiderman Trilogy, Army of Darkness, Darkman, Evil Dead II, The Evil Dead) *The Evil Dead 10/10
    36. Peter Jackson (The Lovely Bones, King Kong, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Frighteners, Braindead) *The Lord of the Rings Trilogy 10/10

    • goregirl Says:

      Maddin fan! I love it! and Shion Sono too?! Excellent! Both directors deserve FAR MORE appreciation!

      We have Carpenter ranked practically the same…I am feeling a little bad having about not including him in the top 30.

      I don’t feel like I should comment here…TWO people in your top FIVE are on my upcoming lists…and ONE of them is in my Top 10 spot! I shall say no more!

  5. Guy Maddin kicks ass. I just caught Keyhole a few weeks ago. It wasn’t my favorite Maddin, but even average or bad Maddin is still good stuff. I don’t think I could pick a favorite. It’d be Cowards Bend the Knee, My Winnipeg, or Brand Upon the Brain. Cowards was the first one I saw and I sat there with my jaw on the floor. All I could think was “I don’t know what the hell I’m watching but it’s amazing”.

    I really, really need to see The Fog and Christine.

    • goregirl Says:

      I’m jealous you’ve seen Keyhole!! I’d really like to get my hands on more of his short films too! I really love Cowards Bend the Knee, definitely one of my favourites of his. Illegal abortions in the back of beauty salons and women who keep their dead father’s blue stained hands in a jar AND a hockey theme??!! I mean come on!! I really do like (or love) all of Maddin’s flicks!

  6. Cool list, Godard’s a little too low 😉

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