As we come to a close on the films of John Cassavetes, its that time to decide a new director to spotlight. The choices are from below:
Claude Chabrol (1930 – 2010)
He was never quite a renowned as his peers Truffat and Godard, but Chabrol produced a respectable body of film that was part of the French New Wave. Chabrol eventually transitioned out of the experimental New Wave and adopted a more Hitchcock-esque style, which would become his trademark.
Sydney Pollack (1934 – 2008)
Pollack was a filmmaker who came into his own during the 1970s by adopting a simultaneously radical and commercial approach to cinema. While many directors fought to remain independent, Pollack worked to make thoughtful and intelligent films that could be sold to the mainstream.
Films I’ve Seen: They Shoot Horses Don’t They, Three Days of the Condor, Sketches of Frank Gehry
Robert Bresson (1901- 1999)
Bresson was an intense French filmmaker who worked to strain performances from his actors. The actor would be made to do multiple takes until Bresson saw the “acting” fade away and more layers of reality come out. His work was strongly influenced by his Catholic upbringing. Bresson was also heavily influenced by a year spent in a POW camp during WWII. His work features characters who are victims of a culture that has accepted or ignored injustices.
Werner Herzog (1942 – present)
The insane German director who has a singular vision he compromises for no one.
Films I’ve Seen: Stroszek, Nosferatu the Vampyre, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, My Son My Son What Have Ye Done
Leave comments as to what director you think I should focus on next.
As we wrap up my look at Brian DePalma’s career with Redacted on Friday, I’m looking ahead to the director I will spotlight beginning in August. Below are the four choices. Vote by leaving a comment below.
John Cassavetes – To many he was the father of modern American independent cinema, filming on New York Streets without permits, making films that would never receive major accolades, but would inspire filmmakers for decades to come. His wife, Gena Rowland starred in many of his pictures, and his children have all gone into the film industry. While he is most famous for his role as Guy in Roman Polanksi’s Rosemary’s Baby, Cassavettes is also one of the most independent voices film has ever seen.
Films I Have Seen: Faces.
Sam Fuller – He didn’t give a damn if they liked his work or not, he made films the way he wanted them. Fuller was a newspaper writer and crime novelist who joined up with the Army when World War II broke out and saw action in both the European and African theaters. It was during the liberation of a concentration camp that he made his first cinematic work, footage that was included in a documentary. Fuller focused on gritty crime drama and war films, but didn’t present pretty pictures of anything. Studios hated his work, and it was with the shelving of his controversial film White Dog, which tackled issues of racism, that he left America never to make another film here again.
Films I Have Seen: Pick Up on South Street
Derek Jarman – Jarman was a filmmaker that optimized the British punk movement. He made films that took cultural tradition (The Queen, Shakespeare) and turned them on their heads. Jarman was diagnosed with AIDs in 1986 and died in 1994. Despite his illness he continued making films till the ending, becoming more meditative and thoughtful in his latter work.
Films I Have Seen: None
Werner Herzog – Herzog is nuts. This is something I have learned through reading about and seeing only a few of his films. Herzog likes to play with the viewer, fooling us and confusing us. He is obsessive, meaning his films are tightly crafted. His battles with frequent acting collaborator and peer in insanity Klaus Kinski are the stories of movie legend. And he’s still making films.
Films I Have Seen: Strosek, Nosferatu, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Grizzly Man
This month will be my last covering the films of director John Sayles. For my next director, I’d like the readers to choose. The poll will be open till the end of the month. Below are the choices and brief description of them:
Francois Ozon – French director specializing in films focused on female characters, sexuality plays a key role as well as the surreal. I have seen Swimming Pool and Ricky.
Pier Paolo Pasoloni – Italian poet and author whose films adapted great works of literature such as The Canterbury Tales and Oedipus Rex. I have never seen any of his films.
Claire Denis – French director who positions her actors in carefully intricate poses and shots, focus on sexuality in her work. I have seen Trouble Every Day.
Brian DePalma – American director who makes slightly surreal and highly stylized noir and thriller films. I have seen Phantom of the Paradise, Raising Cain, Mission: Impossible, and Mission to Mars.
Vote in the poll on the left side of the page. Excited to see who everyone picks.