Friday, October 12, 2012

My 100 Favorite Directors - UPDATED!

These Go To Eleven...111!



      Those who frequent my blog may wonder where in the hell have I been. But I like to maintain mystery in the digital world. I am not Amish; not that there's anything wrong with that (is it not a coincidence that Peter Weir's Witness features in this edition...). And I don't practice the Thoreau method. What I do is rigorously follow the wisdom of Wooderson from Dazed and Confused. "Living man, L-I-V-I-N!" Such an answer is perfunctory, I know. I am quite the cyber obscurest. All you need to know is that I am having fun and working hard. It is my social networking duty, first and foremost, to keep that perpetually curious aura alive. 
      As you stumble upon my blog, which I now dust off, and you begin to navigate the predominantly filmic terrain, a few things become abundantly clear. I love film. I love lists. I love filmmakers. I love making lists of my favorite filmmakers. So what impetus, therefore, could possibly drive me back to the blogging business if not an extravagant list? How about the extravagance of eleven. Yep, here's eleven more paramount directors whose films I've recently explored under a more critical gaze.
      Why eleven and why is such a number so extravagant? Well, pretty much anyone who has ever watched a movie can immediately recognize the significance. This Is Spinal Tap! Nigel, enlivened by the inimitable Christopher Guest with an energy seldom seen, gives us moviegoers a tantalizing image of performance excellence both brazen and brilliant. The mere prospect of even referencing this chestnut of musical, moviegoing magic intimidates me. But because my posts and general engagement with you readers—my irreplaceable, stellar blogging community—has been, to put it quite mildly, sparse, I feel an obligation to mark my reemergence by referencing the magnificence of Nigel Tufnel. Also, I realize after counting these new directorial additions that the total reaches eleven plus I save tons of money on my car insurance daily. In all sincerity, there exists no more inappropriately awesome overture of "Hey, look at me" than Nigel's spellbinding defense of his very special guitar amplifier. Ostentatious and unnecessary, yes. But that which is not necessary is often most fruitful. And nothing is more attention-grabbing than the exploitation of the extreme. 
      The verdict I have reached is straightforward. These auteurs, a title often invoked but routinely undeserved, are new inductees into what I realize has become an ultimately self-aggrandizing compendium of one-hundred-plus directors, who are united solely by my increasingly elastic definition of favorite. Bringing my burgeoning count to 111, these filmmakers I consider essential custodians of cinema. Their frequent flirts with genius divulge a true awareness of the medium, which I contend is expressly made to bolster and safeguard the transformative power of an image. Look no further than last year's Tree of Life or this year's Looper to understand the raw power of a moving image and what transformation precisely means. And I apologize for this somewhat abstract assessment. Studying the films of World Cinema will really empower your senses in a way you've never thought capable. Just look at some of these guys I've added.   

*Here's my initial post of "My 100 Favorite Directors." 

**My Favorite Directors: 101-111:

Lars von Trier
  
The Element of Crime, Europa, Breaking the Waves, Dancer in the Dark, Dogville, The Five Obstructions, Melancholia


Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Hsiao-hsien Hou Picture
A Time to Live and A Time to Die, A City of Sadness, The Puppetmaster, Flowers of Shanghai, Millennium Mambo, Cafe Lumiere

Louis Malle

The Fire Within, Atlantic City, My Dinner with Andre, Au revoir, les enfants, Vanya on 42nd Street

Peter Weir

Picnic at Hanging Rock, Witness, Dead Poets Society, The Truman Show, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Jacques Tati

Mr. Hulot's Holiday, Mon Oncle, Playtime, Trafic

Michael Haneke
Michael Haneke Picture
Benny's Video, Funny Games, The Piano Teacher, Code Unknown: Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys, Cache, The White Ribbon, Amour

Jim Jarmusch

Stranger Than Paradise, Down By Law, Mystery Train, Night on Earth, Dead Man, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Broken Flowers

Richard Linklater

Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Tape, Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Waking Life, The School of Rock, A Scanner Darkly, Bernie, Before Midnight

Jason Reitman

Thank You For Smoking, Juno, Up in the Air, Young Adult

Johnnie To

The Heroic Trio, Mad Detective, Throw Down, Election, Triad Election, Exiled, Vengeance, Life Without Principle, Drug War

Tim Burton
Tim Burton Picture
Beetlejuice, Batman, Batman Returns, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Big Fish, Frankenweenie

***Perhaps the future will involve a sweeping elucidation on the selection of these directors beyond simply listing what I consider to be their finest works (at least of their films I've actually seen). But studiously articulating on the inclusion of 111 directors is admittedly cumbersome. If the audience fervently demands it and my inclination grows vigorous, such a feature shall follow.

****Thanks for stopping by and for continuing to patronize my blog. I do greatly appreciate all the supportive readership. Without an audience my cyber imprint, and more importantly, my written word means nothing. So thanks to the eleventh degree.****

6 comments:

  1. Weir and Burton - excellent additions. Approve of the fact that this list goes to eleven.
    And my movie trivia today just happens to be about directors, which I am sure you would nail in a heartbeat.
    Good to hear from you, Matthew.

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    1. Weir first captured my imagination with The Truman Show, which I feel is a masterful satire that dramatizes our obsessive relationship with reality TV. When I finally got the chance to see Picnic at Hanging Rock and Witness, his placement among my favorites was assured. And Burton has always fascinated me.

      Thanks,

      P.S. I correctly answered 4 out of 5 trivia questions. Not too shabby.

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  2. There are few things I like more than a Matthew Vanacore film list. Discussing film with you is like going to a favorite class. I always learn something.

    These additions are impressive. I love all of these directors and have seen almost all of their films that you have included here. You know a list is by its definition meant to be expanded. And having an odd number is terrific and different. All the list makers seem to concentrate on even numbers.

    Speaking of directors, I'm hoping to catch Argo this weekend. Ben Affleck is turning into quite a directing talent.

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    1. You're too generous with your praise, Melissa, but please continue, lol.

      I agree. Lists should not be subject to arbitrary constraints particularly those whose purpose is merely to reflect satisfactory arithmetic.

      Yes, I'm especially looking forward to Argo. From what I've read thus far, it's Affleck's best work. That's quite an achievement considering the critical success of his first two efforts, films I quite enjoyed.

      Thanks.

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  3. A fine addendum to a stellar list, Matty! I am particularly delighted to see Jacques Tati and Tim Burton included - your cinema studies have been taking you hither and yon - and you're stopping in all the best places. There's actually one director up there I find unworthy to join your list - but I'll leave which one for another day. Wonderful to have you right back where you belong!

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    1. Thank you, kind sir!

      Ah, you have peaked my curiosity. Which of these glorious directors do you deem unworthy of my affection? Perhaps we can forge a hearty dialectic to determine where and why our impressions diverge. If you choose not to expose your prejudice, I understand, too :)

      Tati is such a refreshing cinematic voice; his comedies seem to exist in a nostalgic world that to me represents an undervalued canyon of ideas. Other filmmakers never explore his terrain or simply do so incompetently. He is a true original.

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