5 Mar 2010

Top 50 European Directors Currently Working: 20-11

So after much careful deliberation, we here at LastSite have compiled a list of the greatest European directors currently working within the field. Each has been rated and the results are a comprehensive top 50. Directors are scored by their average IMDB score (all their film scores divided by total films), the amount of awards they have won and been nominated for and finally three categories judged by LastSite (Style, Originality, and Filmography, that being the strengh of their entire body of work) Obviously they'll be some disagreement so feel free to comment. Hopefully similar lists will be compiled for the rest of the world.

All profiles taken from either IMDB, The Auteurs or Wikipedia.
*Awards and nominations compiled from the following awarding bodies: Cannes, Sundance, Berlin Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Academy Awards, BAFTAs, Golden Globes and European film institute awards.

50-41 can be read here
40-31 can be read here
30-21 can be read here

20. Jean Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Belgium, 1951 & 1954)

Auteurs Profile:

After studying drama in the arts institute, Jean Pierre Dardenne and his brother Luc made some videos about the rough life in blue-collar small towns in the Wallonie. After their meeting with filmmaker Armad Gatti and cinematographer Ned Burgess, they decided to enter in the movie business.
In 1978 they shot their first documentary, Le chant du rossignol, about the resistance against the Nazis during the second world war in Belgium. In 1986 they shot their first fiction movie, Falsch, about a Jewish family massacred by the Nazis. After their second movie, Je pense a vous, they released La Promesse, a movie about inmigration in Belgium. The film was a success worldwide winning awards in many festivals.
In 1999 they had another hit with Rosetta, that won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Festival. The movie tells the story of a blue collar worker with an alcoholic mother who tries to have a better life in a small belgium city.
In 2002, they came back to Cannes with their last movie, Le Fils, that won the ecumenical jury prize and the award for best actor for Olivier Gourmet.

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):

(7.68) - La promesse (1996) 
(7.40) - L'enfant (2005)
(7.39) - Le fils (2002)
(7.19) - Le silence de Lorna (2008)
(7.19) - Rosetta (1999)

Trade Mark: Believe that the truth is always less interesting than fiction
Last Site Favorite Film: The Son
Upcoming: None known as yet

Average IMDB Rating: 7.28
Awards: 7
Nominations: 6
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 16
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 14
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 16
Total: 66.28

19. Nanni Moretti (Italy, 1973)

Auteurs Profile:

Giovanni (Nanni) Moretti was born in 1953 in Bolzano. Both his parents are teachers and researchers. His first passions, cinema, water-polo and political commitment mark his works and his biography. After having graduated, Moretti tries to find work as assistant-director before shooting his first Super-8 shorts. He is also an actor for the Taviani Brothers (Padre padrone). His first feature-length film Io sono un autarchico brings him success both with the critics and the public. His second (Ecce Bombo) is selected by Cannes Film Festival. The success of the film makes Moretti one of the main European new authors.
Sogni d’oro wins the Jury Prize in Venice, and after Bianca (1983), La messa è finita wins the Silver Bear at the 1985 Berlinale.
In 1987, toghether with his long-time friend Angela barbagallo, Moretti establishes his production and distribution company, Sacher Film. They will then purchase and run a theater in Rom, called Nuovo Sacher.
Some dialogs and characters of Palombella rossa (1989, Venice Critics’ Week) are known to a whole generation of Italian filmgoers. The film, with Moretti once more as his fictionary “double” Michele Apicella, is a bitter reflection about Italian politics and about a generation, in a year of major changes in Europe.
At the beginning of the 90s, Sacher Film produces Daniele Lucchetti’s Il Portaborse, in which Moretti plays a corrupted and unscrupulous cabinet member. Italian television refuses to co-finance the project.

Always close to the political situation in his country, Moretti shoots La Cosa (The Thing), a documentary about the end of the Italian Comunist Party which becomes the Democratic Party of the Left in 1989.
Moretti 7th film Caro Diario is a huge public success and is awarded in the major international film festivals.
In 1995 Moretti and other filmmakers produce the short L’unico paese al mondo in order to awaken audiences’ conscience about the possible consequences of Berlusconi’s election. That same year, Moreti produces La seconda volta cortometraggio che si propone di far riflettere sulla situazione che si verrebbe a creare nel caso l’Italia decidesse di mandare al governo Silvio Berlusconi; lo stesso anno produce Mimmo Calopresti’s La seconda volta in which he also plays together with Valeria Bruni Tedeschi.
In 1998 Nanni dedicates his Aprile to his son Pietro. In 2001, his austere and dramatic La stanza del figlio is awarded the Palme d’Or in Cannes.
Il caimano (2006), in which the filmmaker plays himself the part of Silvio Berlusconi is an enormous success which sparks off great polemics in Italy and abroad.
After 3 years dedicated to the direction of Torino Film Festival, Moretti is now preparing a new film…

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):

(7.39) - La stanza del figlio (2001)
(7.20) - Ecce bombo (1978)
(7.18) - Caro diario (1993)
(7.05) - Bianca (1984)
(7.04) - Palombella rossa (1989)
(7.01) - La messa è finita (1985)
(6.81) - The Last Customer (2003)
(6.78) - Aprile (1998)
(6.78) - Il caimano (2006)
(6.75) - Io sono un autarchico (1976)
(6.62) - Sogni d'oro (1981)
(6.03) - La cosa (1990)

Trade Mark: Has become one of the most radical opponents to Silvio Berlusconi's government and policy in Italy. Many people believe his movie Il caimano (2006), which is inspired by Berlusconi's figure, influenced the 2006 Italian general election.
Last Site Favorite Film: The Sons Room
Upcoming: We Have a Pope (2010)

Average IMDB Rating: 6.82
Awards: 9
Nominations: 9
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 14
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 15
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 13
Total: 66.82

18. Mike Leigh (UK, 1943)

Auteurs Profile:

One of contemporary Britain’s most renowned directors, Mike Leigh is known for his depictions of the dramas inherent in the everyday lives of regular people. Often compared to compatriot Ken Loach for his emphasis on “slice-of-life” realism (a comparison Leigh has deemed inaccurate, as his films, unlike Loach’s, have no absolute political agenda), Leigh makes films remarkable for their level-headed, unsensational portrayals of topics that would become four-hankie “message” melodramas in the hands of most Hollywood directors.
Born February 20, 1943, in Salford, Manchester, Leigh originally wanted to go into acting. While training at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, however, he found himself drawn toward directing and writing, and he eventually transferred to the London Film School. He began his career on the stage, with two of his most important works, The Box Play and Bleak Moments, brought to life through collaborative experimentation during rehearsals. The latter play, a drama about a woman looking for satisfaction in life, later comprised Leigh’s 1972 feature-film directorial debut. The film earned wide acclaim, but was virtually ignored by the public. Returning to the stage, Leigh occasionally ventured into the television arena with a number of made-for-TV films. Two of these, Meantime (1981) and Four Days in July (1984), gained limited theatrical release, while Nuts in May (1976) and Who’s Who (1978) were given video distribution.
Leigh had his first real success as a film director with High Hopes in 1989. The recipient of the Venice Film Festival’s FIPRESCI Prize, it was a bitingly satirical portrait of life in post-Thatcher England. Although the film received wide acclaim, it failed to find equally far-reaching theatrical release, a fate that also befell Leigh’s subsequent effort, Life Is Sweet (1991). A blithely funny comedy that explored the dramas inherent in the apparent superficiality of everyday life, it featured excellent performances by its leads, including an award-winning turn by Jane Horrocks as a bulimic, woefully insecure young woman. Leigh’s true international breakthrough came in 1993 with Naked. A disturbing, relentlessly bleak account of the misanthropic wanderings of a philosophy-spewing drifter, the film earned both raves from critics and rants from various feminist groups, who found it to be deeply misogynistic, due to the violence carried out against some of its female characters. Naked was rewarded lavishly at the Cannes Festival, where Thewlis won Best Actor for his terrifying performance and Leigh was honored with the festival’s Best Director prize.
Even more acclaimed was Leigh’s subsequent film, Secrets & Lies (1996). A family drama, it revolved around the relationship between a young woman and her biological mother who gave her up for adoption at birth, and the complications that ensue when the mother’s family learn of their reunion. For their excellent, largely improvised performances, Blethyn and Jean-Baptiste were nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress Oscars, respectively, and Blethyn received a Best Actress Golden Globe. Blethyn also won the Best Actress prize at Cannes, where the film won the Palme d’Or. Secrets & Lies also earned a slew of additional honors, including a Best Film BAFTA Award. Leigh’s follow-up, Career Girls (1997), was a decidedly more low-key affair. A look at the friendship between two thirty-something women and their disparate personalities, it received a fairly strong critical reception but failed to resound with much of the public. Leigh was back in 1999 with Topsy-Turvy, a biographical comedy about famed 19th-century opera composers Gilbert and Sullivan. The film represented a drastic departure for Leigh, although it did feature collaborations with some of his regular actors, including Jim Broadbent (who won the Venice Film Festival’s Volpi Cup for his portrayal of Gilbert), Timothy Spall, and Lesley Manville.

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):

(8.16) - A Sense of History (1992) (TV)
(7.90) - Secrets & Lies (1996)
(7.90) - Naked (1993)
(7.80) - Vera Drake (2004)
(7.50) - All or Nothing (2002/I)
(7.39) - High Hopes (1988)
(7.36) - Cinema16: British Short Films (2003) (V)
(7.30) - Life Is Sweet (1990)
(7.20) - Topsy-Turvy (1999)
(7.10) - Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)
(7.07) - Four Days in July (1985) (TV)
(7.00) - Career Girls (1997)
(6.94) - Bleak Moments (1971)
(6.92) - Meantime (1984) (TV)
(6.87) - The Short & Curlies (1987) (TV)

Trade Mark: Films act as a mirror to British culture
Last Site Favorite Film: Secrets & Lies
Upcoming: Another Year (2010)

Average IMDB Rating: 7.22
Awards: 8
Nominations: 18
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 12
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 11
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 12
Total: 68.22

17. Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Turkey 1959)

Auteurs Profile:

Nuri Bilge Ceylan (born 26 January 1959 in Istanbul) is a Turkish photographer and film director. He is married to the filmmaker, photographer, and actress Ebru Ceylan, his co-star in İklimler.
Ceylan learned photography at age 15, and developed an interest in film at 22. After graduating from Boğaziçi University with a BSc degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, he went on with his studies on cinema for two years at Mimar Sinan University.
Ceylan’s first short film Koza (Cocoon) was screened in the Cannes Film Festival in 1995. He received many awards with his debut feature Kasaba (Small Town). His third feature Uzak (Distant) received many awards including the Grand Jury Prize and the Best Actor Prize at Cannes, and was praised internationally. His 2006 film Iklimler (Climates) won the FIPRESCI Movie Critics’ Award at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival and received international praise by critics and experts. The film won 5 awards at the 2006 Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival, bringing him the “Best Director” title. During the preparation of this movie, Ceylan turned his attentions to photography again. He won the best director award in the 2008 Cannes Film Festival for Üç Maymun (Three Monkeys). At the end of his speech, Ceylan stated, “I dedicate this award to my beautiful and lonely country, which I love passionately.”

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):

(7.60) - Uzak (2002) 
(7.30) - Üç maymun (2008)
(7.30) - Mayis sikintisi (1999)
(7.20) - Iklimler (2006)
(7.02) - Kasaba (1997)
(6.94) - Koza (1995)

Trade Mark: He is also a photographer which shows through the cinematography in his film.He loves snow very much and he always uses it in his films.

Last Site Favorite Film: Uzak
Upcoming: None as yet

Average IMDB Rating: 7.23
Awards: 6
Nominations: 7
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 16
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 16
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 16
Total: 68.23

16. Jacques Audiard (France, 1952)

Auteurs Profile:

Born in Paris, France, in 1952. Jacques Audiard’s family has always been involved in movie business. His father, Michel, was a popular screenwriter and director and his uncle a producer. But in his teens he refused that world and wanted to be a teacher. He studied literature and philosophy at the Sorbonne but didn’t finish his degree. By that time, his then girlfriend suggested he work as a trainee editor during his university holidays. He worked as an assistant editor on several movies like “Le locataire” (1976) directed by Roman Polanski.
He also joined a theater where he did all kinds of work. He specially enjoyed adapting works for stage. In the eighties he wrote the screenplays of some successful movies like “Mortelle Randonnee” (1983), “Reveillon Chez Bob” (1984), “Saxo” (1987), “Frequence meurtre” (1988) and “Grosse fatigue” (1994). Most of those films were thrillers directed by prestigious filmmakers like Claude Miller and Michel Blanc. He also directed some well received short movies.
Thanks to the success of those movies he was able, in 1994, to raise up the money to make his first movie “Regarde les hommes tomber” a somber road movie starred by two of the most important French actors: Mathieu Kassovitz and Jean Louis Trintignant. That movie won 3 Cesars of the French academy for best editing, best new director (Jacques Audiard) and best new actor (for Kassovitz).
Kassovitz also became the star of his second movie “Un heros tres discret” released in the Festival de Cannes in 1996 where it won the award for best screenplay. “Un heros tres discret” undermined the myth of the French resistance to the Nazis by telling the story of a young impostor who rises high in French society after World war by concocting a past for himself as a hero. It also won awards in the festivals of Stockholm and Valladolid and made his name internationally.
In 2001 he made his third movie “Sur mes levres”. The love story between two outsiders (a deaf office worker and a hoodlum) who decide to con a group of gangsters also became a success. It also won three Cesars (best actress, sound and screenplay).
His last movie, “De battre mon Coeur sest arrête” (a remake of “Fingers” a James Toback’s movie) was released in the Berlin festival of 2005.
With those movies, Audiard has become the new master of the “polar” (French thriller) and inheritor of others great French directors like Jean-Pierre Melville (1917-1973) and Henri Georges-Clouzot (1907-1977). —IMDb

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):
(8.09) - Un prophète (2009) 
(7.49) - Un héros très discret (1996)
(7.40) - Sur mes lèvres (2001)
(6.96) - Regarde les hommes tomber (1994)

Trade Mark: Perhaps due to his screenwriter father, likes to work hard on dialogue and narrative structure. Crime movies, Takes time making films, likes to work on them for 4 years before production.

Last Site Favorite Film: Un Prophete
Upcoming: None as yet

Average IMDB Rating: 7.45
Awards: 5
Nominations: 7
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 17
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 15
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 17
Total: 68.45

15. Claude Chabrol (France, 1930)

Auteurs Profile:

Widely credited as the founding father of the French Nouvelle Vague movement, Claude Chabrol is responsible for a body of work that is as prolific as it is boldly defined. A master of the suspense thriller, Chabrol approaches his subjects with a cold, distanced objectivity that has led at least one critic to liken him to a compassionate but unsentimental god viewing the foibles and follies of his creations. Inherent in all of Chabrol’s thrillers is the observation of the clash between bourgeois value and barely-contained, oftentimes violent passion. This clash gives the director’s work a melodramatic quality that has allowed him to drift between the realm of the art film and that of popular entertainment.
Born in Paris on June 24, 1930, Chabrol was educated at the University of Paris, where he was a pharmacology student, and at the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques. Following some military service, he developed an interest in the cinema and worked for a brief time in the publicity department of 20th Century Fox’s French headquarters. Chabrol’s true film career began during the 1950s, when he became one of a legendary group of critics for Cahiers du cinéma. Writing alongside the likes of Eric Rohmer (with whom he wrote a groundbreaking study of Alfred Hitchcock), Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Rivette, and François Truffaut, Chabrol developed theories of authorship that are still influential today, and attempted to revolutionize the cinematic value system.
One of the founders of the Nouvelle Vague (New Wave) movement, Chabrol began his filmmaking career in 1958 as the director, writer, and producer of Le Beau Serge. Modeled after Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt, the film charted the visit of an ailing city-dweller (Jean-Claude Brialy) to his hometown, where he is reunited with his childhood friend (Gérard Blain), who is now a self-pitying alcoholic. Their transference of personal guilt, and then, in the words of Chabrol scholar Charles Derry, “exchange of redemption,” gave audiences an initial taste of the deeply-psychological situations Chabrol would continue to examine with chilly objectivity throughout his career, and established him as an important new talent.
Chabrol’s next film, Les Cousins (1959), proved to be another great critical success, earning a Best Film award at the Berlin Film Festival. Reuniting Jean-Claude Brialy and Gérard Blain as two cousins who are polar opposites, the film continued to develop Chabrol’s distanced approach to his subjects, and also introduced the director’s use of the names “Charles” and “Paul,” names he would continue to use in a number of his films to represent, respectively, the more serious bourgeois man and his pleasure-seeking counterpart. The same year he made Les Cousins, Chabrol released his first color feature, À Double Tour; a crime drama centering on the effects of the murder of a woman upon a dysfunctional family, it contained a measured critique of bourgeois moral values and the social and familial causes of violence.
These films, as well as L’Oeil du malin (1962) – which revolved around another triangle formed by a bourgeois couple and an outsider – constituted what many critics refer to as the more “personal” works of Chabrol’s early period. When they failed to do well at the box office, he turned to more commercial assignments (such as Le Tigre Aime la Chair Fraiche, 1964) that tended to alienate the critics who had championed his previous efforts. The director again won critical favor in 1968 with Les Biches, a psychological drama that addressed one of the central themes of his work, that of an outsider affecting a relationship between two people. The film, which revolved around the intrusion of a man (Jean-Louis Trintignant) upon a lesbian relationship, was a critical success, and heralded a new, more mature phase of Chabrol’s career. The film also starred Stéphane Audran, an actress who was both Chabrol’s muse and, for a number of years, his wife. That same year, the director released another tale concerning a relationship fractured by external forces, La Femme Infidèle. One of Chabrol’s most celebrated – and, to a number of critics, self-assured – film, it starred Audran as Helene, a woman whose marriage to Charles (Michel Bouquet) is drastically altered when Charles kills Helene’s lover, Victor (Maurice Ronet).
Time and again, Chabrol would revisit the theme of the simmering, potentially dangerous passion that chafed against the constraints of bourgeois repression – as well as those of a disrupted relationship – and did so through triangles formed by characters called Charles, Paul, and Helene. Que La Bête Meure (1969) saw Charles hunt down the hit-and-run killer of his son, and in doing so interrupt the relationship between the killer, Paul, and his sister-in-law Helene. In Le Boucher, released the same year, Poupaul, a possibly homicidal butcher, tries to have a relationship with uptight schoolteacher Helene, who has displaced her sexual energies onto Charles, one of her young students. Further conundrums of passion are on display in Juste Avant La Nuit (1971), when Helene, the wife of the adulterous Charles, must resort to an act of violence to squelch the passion that threatens her ordered bourgeois existence.
Toward the end of the 1970s, Chabrol began making television films and international co-productions, something that marked a departure from the nature of his previous work. His team of regular collaborators, who included Audran, Jean Yanne, Michel Bouquet, composer Pierre Jansen, producer Andre Genoves, and cinematographer Jean Rabier, also changed – with Chabrol’s son, Matthieu, replacing Jansen, and new actors such as Isabelle Huppert starring in his films. Huppert essayed the title character in Violette Nozière (1978), one of Chabrol’s most acclaimed films of the 1970s. Based upon the true story of a 19-year-old girl (Huppert) who was convicted of poisoning her father and attempting to kill her mother, the film achieved the remarkable feat of lending its unlikable protagonist a degree of three-dimensional sympathy, and drew favorable comparisons to Hitchcock, whose work provided Chabrol with a constant source of inspiration.
Chabrol’s films of the 1980s and ‘90s largely suffered in comparison to his earlier work; some critics noted that they lacked the unity and quality that gave the director’s films of the 1950s and ‘60s such enduring resonance. Still, he continued to work prolifically, earning particular international acclaim for Une Affaire de Femmes in 1988. Starring Isabelle Huppert as an abortionist who ends up holding the dubious honor of being the last woman guillotined in France (by the Vichy government), the film – like Chabrol’s earlier Violotte Nozière – succeeded in painting a complex, sympathetic portrait of a fairly unlikable woman, and offered one of the most insightful and balanced looks at abortion ever recorded on celluloid.
Chabrol’s subsequent collaborations with Huppert formed his most celebrated films of the 1990s: 1991’s Madame Bovary was a great success in France, while the 1995 psychological thriller La Cérémonie earned transcontinental plaudits. Boasting a strong cast that included Huppert, Sandrine Bonnaire, Jacqueline Bisset, and Jean-Pierre Cassel, the César-nominated film provided an incisive look at class tensions, jealousy, and the politics of murder. Many critics declared that Chabrol was back at the top of his form. Although his next two major thrillers, Rien Ne Va Plus (1997) and Au Coeur du Mensonge (1999), were not as warmly received, there was no denying the director’s continued impact on both French and world cinema.

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):

(7.74) - Que la bête meure (1969)
(7.64) - Une affaire de femmes (1988)
(7.57) - Le boucher (1970)
(7.48) - La cérémonie (1995)
(7.46) - La femme infidèle (1969)
(7.40) - La rupture (1970)
(7.29) - Juste avant la nuit (1971)
(7.24) - Les bonnes femmes (1960)
(7.13) - Violette Nozière (1978)
(7.04) - Les cousins (1959)
(6.98) - L'enfer (1994)
(6.95) - L'oeil de Vichy (1993)
(6.88) - Les biches (1968)
(6.86) - Le beau Serge (1958)
(6.85) - Les noces rouges (1973)
(6.79) - La demoiselle d'honneur (2004)
(6.77) - Betty (1992)
(6.77) - Masques (1987)
(6.76) - À double tour (1959)
(6.76) - Paris vu par... (1965)
(6.73) - Une partie de plaisir (1975)
(6.69) - Rien ne va plus (1997)
(6.69) - Au coeur du mensonge (1999)
(6.69) - L'oeil du malin (1962)
(6.60) - Madame Bovary (1991)
(6.59) - Inspecteur Lavardin (1986)
(6.59) - Poulet au vinaigre (1985)
(6.57) - La ligne de démarcation (1966)
(6.50) - Le cri du hibou (1987)
(6.50) - L'ivresse du pouvoir (2006)
(6.50) - Merci pour le chocolat (2000)
(6.50) - Les godelureaux (1961)
(6.41) - Nada (1974)
(6.32) - Le cheval d'orgueil (1980)
(6.31) - La fleur du mal (2003)
(6.25) - Landru (1963)
(6.21) - La fille coupée en deux (2007)
(6.18) - M. le maudit (1982) (TV)
(6.17) - Docteur Popaul (1972)
(6.16) - La décade prodigieuse (1971)
(6.15) - Les liens de sang (1978)
(6.06) - Bellamy (2009)
(6.00) - Les magiciens (1976)
(5.96) - Le scandale (1967)
(5.68) - La route de Corinthe (1967)
(5.34) - Le sang des autres (1984)
(5.22) - Dr. M (1990)
(5.17) - Folies bourgeoises (1976)

Trade Mark: Credited with starting the French New Wave
Last Site Favorite Film: La Boucher
Upcoming: None known as yet

Average IMDB Rating: 6.66
Awards: 5
Nominations: 9
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 17
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 16
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 15
Total: 68.66

14. Ridley Scott (UK, 1937)

Auteurs Profile:

One of the most promising directors of the late ‘70s, Ridley Scott displayed stylistic flair and remarkable storytelling abilities in such films as The Duellists (1977) and his landmark Alien (1979). Born in 1937, in Northumberland, England, Scott was educated at the West Hartlepool College of Art and London’s Royal College of Art. After completing his education, he became a set designer for the British Broadcasting Company in the early ’60s, eventually getting promoted to director of such popular BBC series as the long-running police adventure Z Cars. With the establishment of his own firm, Ridley Scott Associates, Scott was in on the ground floor of some of the most inventive European TV commercials of the 1970s.
The director’s transition to the big screen came with his direction of 1977’s The Duellists, a visually striking Napoleonic war film that won the Jury Prize for Best First Feature at the Cannes Film Festival. Further success followed with 1979’s Alien, which established Scott as both an important director and a shining knight for horror and sci-fi devotees. In 1982, the director found himself at the center of a storm around his production of Blade Runner. After repeated clashes with studio executives over the film’s complex content and downbeat finale, Scott added a voice-over narration and a more positive ending. The results sparked an outcry from film purists, and Blade Runner fell victim to negative reviews and poor box-office results. It wasn’t until the early ‘90s that the director’s cut was finally released, theatrically and on video cassette, and the film was recognized as a science fiction masterpiece.
In the meantime, Scott continued to direct such films as the 1986 fantasy Legend, starring Tom Cruise, and 1989’s Black Rain, which featured Michael Douglas. In 1991, he encountered critical and commercial triumph with Thelma & Louise. Starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, the film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Director for Scott. Though, his next project, 1992’s 1492: Conquest of Paradise, proved to be a complete flop, and for the next few years Scott relinquished his directorial duties in favor of producing such films as Monkey Trouble and The Browning Version (both 1994). Scott returned to the director’s chair in 1996, with White Squall, an action-adventure film set on a boat full of troubled teenage boys. Unfortunately, the film performed poorly among critics and at the box office, and Scott’s next feature, G.I. Jane (1997), suffered a similar fate. He then returned to producing, working on the 1997 TV series The Hunger. After producing the 1998 black comedy Clay Pigeons, Scott returned to directing with Gladiator (2000), a Roman epic starring Russell Crowe as its titular hero. The film was hailed by some critics who saw it as a return to grand-scale moviemaking, while others saw it as merely overblown. Regardless of the critics’ opinions, Gladiator was undoubtedly wildly popular, earning five Oscars, including Best Picture, at the 73rd Annual Academy Awards.
In 2001, Scott applied his icy-cool visual style to Hannibal, the much-anticipated sequel to 1991’s Silence of the Lambs. Although the film broke the box-office record for the largest opening weekend for an R-rated film, critics were less than pleased with Hannibal’s combination of smug, stuffy disaffection and vomit-bag-worthy gore. Scott’s skills as a director of action were better put to the test later that year with Black Hawk Down. While some critics objected to Black Hawk’s simplified portrayal of the U.S. military involvement in the region, public lined up in droves for the flag-waving Jerry Bruckheimer production, which would also garner Scott his third Best Director Oscar nomination. Recoiling from the high-profile prestige projects for a spell, Scott turned his focus to the big-screen adaptation of Matchstick Men, a dysfunctional-con-man tale. Though hardly a blockbuster, the heist comedy garnered mixed but generally positive reviews. In 2005, the director helmed the would-be epic Crusades historical film Kingdom of Heaven with a Gladiator-esque budget and all-star cast. Unfortunately, the film was a dud both with critics and audiences, so Scott returned to a more intimate kind of storytelling with the 2006 drama A Good Year. The film starred Russell Crowe as a hotshot broker who finds himself in the depths of a life-crisis when he inherits his beloved uncle’s estate and discovers that the simple lifestyle it offers may give him more satisfaction than his fast-paced, high-power job.

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):

      (8.50) - Alien (1979)

      (6.40) - Black Rain (1989/I)
      (6.40) - White Squall (1996)
      (6.20) - 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)
      (6.11) - Someone to Watch Over Me (1987)
      (6.10) - Legend (1985)
      (5.83) - Boy and Bicycle (1965)
      (5.50) - G.I. Jane (1997)

Trade Mark: [Stunning visuals] He personally sketches most of his own storyboards, left-handed, with great artistic style (The Duellists (1977), Alien (1979), Blade Runner (1982), Legend (1985), Black Rain (1989/I), Thelma & Louise (1991), 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), Gladiator (2000), Black Hawk Down (2001), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), American Gangster (2007), Body of Lies (2008)). [Strong female characters] This includes Sigourney Weaver in Alien (1979), Geena Davis & Susan Sarandon in Thelma & LouiseAlison Lohman in Matchstick Men (2003), all the female characters in A Good YearHans Zimmer. (1991), (2006), and even the female athlete in the Superbowl ad "1984" for Apple Computers. Being the actors' director that he is, Scott favors extensive use of the two-camera 'V' set-up, thus enabling his actors to play more fluidly off one another without being constantly interrupted by calls to "Cut!". Frequently uses music by

Last Site Favorite Film: Blade Runner
Upcoming: Robin Hood (2010)

Average IMDB Rating: 7.04
Awards: 1
Nominations: 12
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 17
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 15
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 17
Total: 69.04

13. Christopher Nolan (UK, 1970)

Auteurs Profile:
Successful producer, film director and writer Christopher Jonathan James Nolan famous by the name Christopher Nolan was born on the 30th July 1970 in London. Christopher holds dual citizenship of the United Kingdom and the United States of America as his father was from the UK and his mother hailed from the US. He married Emma Thomas in 1997 a film producer and ardent admirer of Nolan’s work. The couple is have four children residing with them in Los Angeles. His brother Jonathan Nolan is a renowned author with whom Christopher often collaborates during the production of his movies.
Nolan spent considerable time between London and Chicago during his childhood. Nolan was educated in an independent school known as Hailey Bury College, in Hertfordshire near Hertford, England. Later Christopher Nolan learned the intricacies of English literature at University College London. An early starter Christopher Nolan started shooting films with a super 8 camera borrowed from his father. As a child he made short films with Roko Belic a future producer and director based at Chicago. Nolan made many short films in the University College London film society. His First Short Film Tarantella was shown in 1989 on PBS. In 1996 during the Cambridge Film Festival Larceny the second short film by Christopher Nolan was shown.
In 1996 Nolan directed his first feature film Titled Following. The film portrays the story of a writer obsessed with following unknown people randomly. The viewer becomes a little disoriented as scenes disregard chronological order. The movie was produced within a budget of a mere $6000 and was shot on weekends. Due to its unconventional storytelling style the film received attention after premiering at the 1998 San Francisco Film Festival. As a result of that Nolan got the script from Newmarket Films for his next film Memento.
Memento is a highly praised movie and was nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe for best screenplay. It is story of a widower named Leonard Shelby played by Australian actor Guy Pearce. The principal character of the film is unable to form new memories because of an old head injury. Nolan’s unique technique of presentation distinguished the film from its counterparts.
The film Insomnia was directed by Christopher Nolan in 2002, an American adaptation of a Norwegian film released in 1997 by the same name. The movie’s star cast includes Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank. Insomnia was appreciated by the critics. Although Christopher Nolan was satisfied with his directorial abilities he always wanted to direct a blockbuster, this opportunity came in the form of Batman Begins in the year 2003.
On the 15th June 2005 Batman Begins was released and jumped to the position of 3rd biggest blockbuster of that summer. The movie was highly acclaimed in the global scenario and is often rated above its 1989 counterpart. At the 32nd annual Saturn Awards, Batman Begins emerged as a major winner bagging the awards for Best Fantasy Film, Best Writing for Nolan and Goyer and Best Actor for Christian Bale. Batman Begins was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography.
The next directorial endeavour of Christopher Nolan was The Prestige a film co-produced by his wife Emma Thomas, and co-scripted by his brother Jonathan Nolan. The movie got a positive response from critics and earned over $109 million worldwide. After the release of The Prestige, Nolan expressed his desire to direct a sequel to Batman Begins the outcome of this desire produced The Dark Knight in 2006, repeating a successful box office collection with $158 million in returns.
Christopher Nolan’s upcoming movie is an adaptation of The Prisoner a 1960s series based on the life of a British secret-agent.

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):

      (8.90) - The Dark Knight (2008)

    (8.60) - Memento (2000 (8.40) - The Prestige (2006)

    (8.30) - Batman Begins (2005)
    (7.60) - Following (1998)
    (7.49) - Cinema16: British Short Films (2003) (V)
    (7.20) - Insomnia (2002/I)
    (6.93) - Doodlebug (1997)

Trade Mark: Begins his movies and introduces his main characters with a close up of their hands performing an action. Often works with editor Lee Smith, composer David Julyan, cinematographer Wally Pfister, production designer Nathan Crowley and wife-producer Emma Thomas. Often casts British or non-American actors in American roles.Usually starts films with a flashback or a scene from the end of the movie.
When shooting a dialogue scene, the actors are often framed in wide close-up with a shallow depth of field to blur out the background.Films conclude with the two central characters discussing the preceding events and the results which have stemmed from said events. Employs non-linear storytelling techniques, often flipping around the three acts of a movie to tell the story in an interesting fashion.
Last Site Favorite Film: The Dark Knight
Upcoming: Inception (2010)

Average IMDB Rating: 7.93
Awards: 2
Nominations: 5
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 18
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 18
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 20
Total: 70.93

12. Bela Tarr (Hungarian, 1955)

Auteurs Profile: “Born in 1955, Hungarian filmmaker Bela Tarr began making amateur films at the age of 16, later working as caretaker at a national House for Culture and Recreation. His amateur work brought him to the attention of the Bela Balazs Studios (named in honor of the Hungarian cinema theorist), which helped fund Tarr’s 1979 feature debut Family Nest, a work of socialist realism clearly influenced by the work of John Cassavettes. The 1981 piece The Outsider and the following year’s The Prefab People continued in much the same vein, but with a 1982 television adaptation of Macbeth, his work began to change dramatically; comprised of only two shots, the first shot (before the main title) was five minutes long, with the second 67 minutes in length. Not only did Tarr’s visual sensibility move from raw close-ups to more abstract mediums and long shots, but also his philosophical sensibility shifted from grim realism to a more metaphysical outlook similar to that of Andrei Tarkovsky”
Filmography (by IMDB Votes):

(8.66) - Sátántangó (1994)
(8.09) - Werckmeister harmóniák (2000)
(7.59) - Kárhozat (1987)
(7.40) - Családi tüzfészek (1979)
(7.32) - Panelkapcsolat (1982)
(7.15) - Öszi almanach (1985)
(7.02) - A Londoni férfi (2007)
(6.99) - Szabadgyalog (1981)
(6.08) - Visions of Europe (2004) 

Trade Mark: Black and White, long takes, with a duration of several minutes.
Screenplay and/or source novel by László Krasznahorkai.Music by Mihály Vig.
Last Site Favorite Film: Werckmeister Harmonies (2000)
Upcoming: The Turin Horse (2010)

Average IMDB Rating: 7.37
Awards*: 3
Nominations: 2
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20): 20
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20): 19
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 20
Total: 71.37

11. Jean-Pierre Jeunet (France, 1953)

Auteurs Profile:

Several years before he helmed the fourth Alien film, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, together with fellow French cinema wunderkind/creative partner Marc Caro, made his mark on international cinema with two of the most distinctive films of the 1990s. Collaborating throughout the 1980s on ads, music videos, and such shorts as Le Manège (1980), Jeunet and Caro honed their signature visual flair and darkly comic sensibility; Jeunet’s solo effort Foutaises (1989) won a César for Best Short Film. Bringing their unique style to feature films in the 1990s, Jeunet and Caro’s debut work Delicatessen (1991) became an international art film sensation. Hailed for its grotesquely comic and oddly touching tale of post-nuclear survival amid a group of eccentrics in an ominous, almost palpably clammy yet cartoon-like “retro future” setting, Delicatessen attracted an ardent following and earned several festival prizes and two Césars. Flush from Delicatessen’s success, Jeunet and Caro finally made a feature they’d been planning for 14 years, the adult fairy tale The City of Lost Children (1995). Shot on elaborate sets with an international cast (including the voice of French star Jean-Louis Trintignant), Jeunet and Caro created an inventively detailed fantasy world to depict the story of an evil scientist’s plan to pilfer children’s dreams. Though some critics were left scratching their heads over the plot, The City of Lost Children’s rapturous visuals impressed audiences and turned it into another cult hit for Jeunet and Caro. Parting directorial ways with Caro after The City of Lost Children, Jeunet headed to Hollywood to direct Alien Resurrection (1997). Though Jeunet had always handled the actors while Caro supervised the images in their films, Caro’s credited presence as a design supervisor ensured that Jeunet’s entry in the Alien franchise bore their distinctive visual stamp as well as Jeunet’s ability to convey human pathos amidst grotesquerie. Opening to mixed reviews from critics and fans, Alien Resurrection did not quite live up to its title promise for the series.
Though his stint in Hollywood left something to be desired in a project that seemed perfectly suited to the eccentric director’s darkly skewed and complex visuals, Jeunet found himself the recipient of almost overwhelming praise with his 2001 release Le Fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain. Released stateside as simply Amelie, the film showed Jeunet more comfortable with his distinct visual style than ever, with the darkness that had enshrouded his previous films shifting toward a brighter, more optimistic outlook. A labor of love that he had been scripting even before taking the director’s chair for Alien Resurrection, Amelie told the simple story of a remarkable woman who finds that she has a unique gift for influencing the lives of others in almost magical ways. Working his signature visual magic on Paris, Jeunet transforms the city into a deliriously beautiful, amber-tinged fantasy reality (complete with the graffiti digitally removed), complementing a fanciful quest that encompasses mysterious photo booth detritus, humorously gaslighting a cruel grocer, and a globe-trotting garden gnome. Topped off by winsome star Audrey Tautou, Amélie broke box office records in France, won several European Film awards and redeemed Jeunet as an art house darling in the U.S.

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):

(7.90) - Delicatessen (1991)
(7.87) - Foutaises (1989)
(7.40) - Micmacs à tire-larigot (2009)
(6.10) - Alien: Resurrection (1997)

Trade Mark: Always casts Dominique Pinon. Likes to cast actors with unusual facial features. Often uses wide camera angles. His main characters are often orphans, or have lost one of their parents. Often casts Jean-Claude Dreyfus, Ticky Holgado and Rufus. His movies often focus on the romance between two mavericks (Amélie and Nino, Mathilde and Manech, Louison and Julie). Uses a lot of elaborate camera (crane) movements. Makes extensive use of color grading in order to give his movies the desired (often fantastic) ambiance. [closing credits] The closing credits of his movies show images of every actor from the movie.

Last Site Favorite Film: Amelie
Upcoming: None as yet

Average IMDB Rating: 7.47
Awards: 4
Nominations: 8
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 19
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 18
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 16
Total: 72.47

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