Friday, April 24, 2009

Favorite directors

Good news everyone! Regular random service will resume early May. This is great! Unfortunately, this means I have to keep thinking up other movies to talk about in the interim. I've got a couple Kitano movies that didn't get a domestic release that I can see stashed away on my hard drive, so maybe they will last me, but doing movies by memory is hard. So, instead, I will tell you all about my favorite directors in the whole wide world.

Takeshi Kitano: I mentioned this right? Kitano is fantastic because he's seemingly completely self taught. His movies don't worry about doing anything technically correctly, or following any formal structure or anything. He clearly just tells a story he wants to tell, in a way that he wants to tell it. You can tell a Kitano film pretty much from the first frame, with his use of static shots and odd yet clever editing choices. Nobody else makes movies like him.

Best film for the beginner: I don't think Hana-Bi has had a decent DVD release yet, but it is utterly fantastic. Plus, it gives a pretty good taste of his overall style and obsessions, and seems to be an early example of him actually moving the camera. A fascinating film.

Wong Kar-Wai: He's a Chinese director, who seems to film a bunch of stuff in a flashy style and piece together the story through the edit through voiceover. His films are often melancholy ruminations on love lost, with a couple exceptions. These are atmospheric films, and if you're willing, they can be extremely absorbing.

Best: I'll go with Fallen Angels. Again, an obscure entry, and mostly a silly story about an assassin, his boss, and a wacky mute guy, but it might be best to be eased into Wong Kar-Wai with a bit of goofy comedy, and this one is just endlessly entertaining.

Park Chan-Wook: Korean Filmmaker, famous mostly for Oldboy and is often marketed as an extreme filmmaker. His movies often have lots of gore, and the stories are usually messed up, but if you can handle that they are amazing in terms of cinematography and editing. Endlessly stylish, if a bit disturbing.

Best: Gotta go with Oldboy here. It's the one everybody knows, but it's shocking and stunning, a film that's completely unforgettable, for better or worse

Michael Mann: American, pretty well known actually. Like all the directors I like, very stylish, I have a feeling that I'd rip off a lot of his shots if I ever made movies on my own.

Best: Heat. I got into him through Collateral, but Heat is a fantastic movie anyway.

Michael Winterbottom: Not as familiar with him as I would like to be, but he directed to of my favorite comedies ever, Tristam Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, and 24 Hour Party People, both starring Steve Coogan, and both being gloriously self-referential.

Best: 24 Hour Party People has some odd tonal shifts, but it also helped me discover Joy Division. I still like Joy Division, thanks Winterbottom!

And those are just some of my favorite directors. Hooray for a filler post!

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