Great Directors, directed by Angela Ismailos, features conversations with ten of the world's greatest living directors: Bernardo Bertolucci, David Lynch, Liliana Cavani, Stephen Frears, ... See full summary »
Great Directors, directed by Angela Ismailos, features conversations with ten of the world's greatest living directors: Bernardo Bertolucci, David Lynch, Liliana Cavani, Stephen Frears, Agnes Varda, Ken Loach, Todd Haynes, Catherine Breillat, Richard Linklater and John Sayles. The film documents Ismailos' voyage of discovering the creative personalities behind the camera. She explores the filmmakers' artistic evolution and personal identity, the role of politics and history on their work, and the agony and dilemmas in the creative process. It also examines the challenges of being an artist in an age of commercialism and globalization. The film traces the influence of cinematic movements and iconic directors on these directors' work-from the role of Neo-Realism in Bertolucci's evolution to the influence of Federico Fellini on David Lynch, Ingmar Bergman on Catherine Breillat and Rainer Werner Fassbinder on Todd Haynes. Written by
Incredibly difficult not to make a bad pun out of the title...
The Great Directors takes 90 minutes to interview great directions, for which there is no discernible criteria. Squeezed into this run time is a bunch of conversations, some much more elucidating than others. Although the typical film buff might be interested to see so many voices collected in one sitting, the film comes off often as incoherent. The director, to quote another review, "awkwardly squeezes herself into one too many frames", often distracting from the real point. It does not help, again as others have noted, she rarely gets to the heart of the matter. Richard Linklater, in his grand total of 5 minutes, talks about the mixed reception of The Newton Boys but it comes more more as smarmy than education. Likewise his talk on growing up poor encouraging him to become an independent filmmaker does not gel well with the more self- effacing wit of a character like Agnes Varda.
Sometimes these filmmakers talk about their influences. The documentarian and Todd Haynes agree on the power of R.W. Fassbinder's work and segue into it. It's clear just how much Haynes respects the man but this comes off almost as inconsequential. We don't really hear Lynch or Sayles talk about their formative influences so it leaves one wondering where all these conversations are being generated from.
To summarize, one could easily find more interesting material from these filmmakers by watching more personal interviews or.. heck, just watching their movies.
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