Just a few hours ago, the wonderful and talented writer Nostra at My Filmviews started a brand new blogathon, entitled the Ten Best Directors of All Time Relay Race. Now, if you’re a blogger or read blogs, you may have noticed Nostra’s simple but clever blogathons trailing around from site to site recently. Nostra has started the still-continuing Ten Best Actors and Ten Best Actresses blogathons, both of which I’ve had the privilege to have participated in. Now, the newest one has piqued my interest more than ever, as it aims at highlighting an aspect of filmmaking I find even more intriguing and powerful than acting: directing. Here’s how the blogathon works, in Nostra’s words:
So what’s the idea behind the relay? I’ve created a list of what I think are the ten best directors. At the end of the post I, just like in a real relay race, hand over the baton to another blogger who will write his own post. This blogger will have to remove one director (that is an obligation) and add his own choice and describe why he/she did this. At the end the blogger chooses another blogger to do the same. We will end up with a list (not ranked in order) which represents a common agreement of the best directors. If you are following the relay race it is also a great way to be introduced to new blogs!
So who are The Ten Best Directors of All Time? Well, here are the ten Nostra has started off with:
Joel and Ethan Coen
Boy. Boy oh boy oh boy. This is a tough one. A hell of a tough one. I’m familiar with all of these directors except for Miyazaki, however I won’t remove him because I think that would be unfair. By process of elimination, here’s what I was thinking: “I can’t remove Kurosawa, Scorsese, Kubrick or Hitchcock. They’re timeless and incredibly influential. No way. The Coens are awesome, Spielberg refined the adventure genre, and Tarantino is just damn good. I won’t touch Miyazaki, because I’m not familiar with his work.” That only left Aronofsky and Nolan. Now believe me – believe me – this was a bloody difficult decision. I still partially regret it because I know a few bloggers who will be very pissed off at me for it, and will probably remove my choice or just be angry at me for doing it. But put yourself in my shoes: I have to remove someone. Those are the rules. Be disappointed, be angry, be frustrated – all that’s fine, but at the end of the day, someone has to go. And I apologise profusely to huge fans of his work, but the filmmaker I am removing is Nolan. Why? Well, first of all, before anyone rushes to call me “unqualified” to make that decision, I will say I have seen every single one of his films, and I do love some of them. Memento and Inception will remain two films that startle and refresh me with their power and originality. But as a whole, the rest of Nolan’s work just doesn’t impress me as much. I don’t hate any of his films, but let’s just say some of them didn’t impress me as much as they did others *cough The Dark Knight*. But let me please remind you one final time that I do think Nolan is a really good filmmaker. Got it?
So… who am I adding? I know what you’re probably expecting: some ridiculous foreign name no one has heard of, yadda yadda yadda, obscure arthouse bullshit. I know some (not all) of you are probably expecting some unpronouncable name that’s “nowhere near the same league as the others.” I apologise if I sound like I’m getting angry, because many of my favourite filmmakers have been described as these things before, and I want to clear up that I hope you won’t groan and roll your eyes when I make my selection. I put a lot of thought into it, so I hope it’ll be taken seriously, and not just hang on the end as “the obscure guy Tyler put in there to fuck with us.”
That said (and I hope you’ll forgive me for that rant which was probably not aimed at you), my choice is the wonderful Pole who made great films in Poland and France and died too young, in 1996 at the age of 54. What is his name? Of course, it is my absolute, definite favourite filmmaker of all time, Krzysztof Kieslowski. Who is he, some of you may be asking? Well, in the 70s, 80s and 90s, he directed some of the most memorable, beautiful, stunning films in creation, including the famous Three Colours trilogy, the sensual The Double Life of Veronique and the epic ten-part masterwork The Decalogue. In my eyes, everyone who proclaims they love film needs to see at least one of the films in this man’s delightful, superb catalogue.
So there you have it. For this post I’ve had to make two difficult decisions: who to remove and who to add, and while I’m reasonably happy with the result, I of course want to know what you think, so leave a comment below.
As for the most important thing… who am I going to pass this onto? Well, I think I’ll pass it onto the man who passed Nostra’s last blogathon onto me, the talented filmmaker Alex Withrow of And So It Begins…