5 Mar 2010

Top 50 European Directors Currently Working: 30-21

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.

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

30. Shane Meadows (UK, 1972)

Wiki Profile:

Meadows left school shortly before reaching his GCSEs, and soon turned to petty crime. He started off in Uttoxeter making short films with his friends and family but could not show these films to anyone because there were no film festivals in his area. His friends started one in the local cinema which became popular with the town. His fame started when a film scout found him and took him on as an amateur film director. The vast majority of his films have been set in the Midlands area. They recall the kitchen sink realism of filmmakers such as Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, with a post-modern twist. He has a relaxed directing style, encouraging the actors to ad lib in order to create a better sense of reality.
Much of the content of his films are semi-autobiographical and based on his experiences in Uttoxeter. Twenty Four Seven was inspired by his youth, both at a boxing club, and also playing in a local football club. Despite some huge losses, the club's coach never lost faith in them. A Room for Romeo Brass was also inspired by his youth. After Paul Fraser — his best friend, neighbour and future writing partner[1] — had a very bad accident and was bound to his bed for two years, Meadows instead hung around with some of the town's more undesirable characters. Dead Man's Shoes is based on the more unpleasant side of his youth in Uttoxeter. It was inspired by a close friend who had been bullied, developed a drug problem and then committed suicide. He said "I couldn't believe that, going back ten years later, he had been totally forgotten in the town — it was as if he had never existed. I was filled with anger against the people who had bullied and pushed the drugs on him, and with despair at what drugs had done to that small community".
Five of Meadows' films were shown at the 2007 Flourish Festival, held annually in Uttoxeter, to mark the release of This is England.
Filmography (By IMDB Votes):

(7.90) - This Is England (2006)
(7.90) - Dead Man's Shoes (2004)
(7.59) - A Room for Romeo Brass (1999)
(7.11) - Northern Soul (2004)
(7.00) - Somers Town (2008)
(6.98) - Small Time (1996/II)
(6.91) - 24 7: Twenty Four Seven (1997)
(6.67) - Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee (2009)
(6.03) - Once Upon a Time in the Midlands (2002)

Trade Mark: Likes to work with in the Midlands, strong sense of national identity. Uses provocative british indie and electronica music heavily in his films.

Last Site Favorite Film: Dead Man's Shoes
Upcoming: None known as yet

Average IMDB Rating: 7.1
Awards: 2
Nominations: 2
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 16
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 15
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 18
Total: 60.10

29. Kira Muratova (Romania/Moldova, 1934)

Wiki Profile:

Kira Muratova (born 5 November 1934) is a Post-Soviet film director working in Ukraine, screenwriter and actress. She was born in 1934 in Bessarabia (present-day Moldova). She is known for her unusual and original directorial style. Her films have undergone a great deal of censorship in the Soviet Union.
Muratova won the 1990 Best Picture for The Asthenic Syndrome, and the 2007 Best Film from the CIS and Baltic states Two in One (film). Her film Among Grey Stones was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival.

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):

(7.41) - Dolgie provody (1971) 
(7.39) - Nastroyshchik (2004)
(7.38) - Korotkie vstrechi (1967)
(6.98) - Astenicheskiy sindrom (1989)
(6.97) - Melodiya dlya sharmanki (2009)
(6.76) - Tri istorii (1997)
(6.67) - Poznavaya belyy svet (1979)
(6.51) - Dva v odnom (2007)
(6.30) - Uvlecheniya (1994)
(5.57) - Chekhovskie motivy (2002)

Trade Mark: Since censorship ended has become incredibly experimental
Last Site Favorite Film: Astenicheskiy Sindrom
Upcoming: None known as yet

Average IMDB Rating: 6.79
Awards: 1
Nominations: 3
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 18
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 18
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 14
Total: 60.79

28. Julio Medem (Spain, 1958)

IMDB Profile:

Born in San Sebastián, in northern Spain, in 1958. Still a teenager he made some short movies in a super-8 camera owned by his father. Some of those movies where "El ciego" (1976), "El jueves pasado" (1977) and "Fideos" (1979). At the same time, and willing to know more about the darkests corners of the human mind, he studied psychiatry. In 1985 he got a degree in medicine in the university of the Basque Country. By that time he has become a collaborator specialized in cinema in differents newspapers and magazines like "La voz de Euskadi", "Casablanca" and "Cinema 2000". In 1986, he directed a short in 35 mm titled "Patas en la cabeza" that won an award in the international Festival of Bilbao. In 1987, after winning the Telenorte prize for another short movie, "Las seis en punta", he decided to become a professional filmmaker. He worked as assistant, editor and screenwriter in differents projects for cinema and TV. He also wrote several screenplays but they were all refused by most of production companies. Finally, in 1991, when he was desesperate for not being able to make movies, he received a call from a new production company called SOGETEL. They were interested in one of his stories titled "Vacas" about the fight of two families along three generations, from 1875 till 1936. Released in 1992 it became a big success. It won the Goya of the Spanish academy for best new director and prizes in the festivals of Tokyo, Torino and Alexandria. In 1993, he made a second movie, "La ardilla roja" confirmed his talent and also won prizes in Fort Lauderdale, Bogotá and Bucarest. His third movie, "Tierra" released in 1996, was selected for the Cannes Film Festival, the most important in the world.

In 1998 he released "Los amantes del Círculo Polar" considered his best movie by most of his fans. It also became a box-office hit with more than one million spectators in Spain. The film was also released abroad. In 2001, his fourth movie, "Lucía y el sexo", also became a huge hit and discovered actress Paz Vega who won the Goya of the Spanish academy for best new actress.

2003 was a difficult year for Medem. The release of "La pelota vasca", a documentary that portrays the phenomenon of nationalism in the Basque Country, in northern Spain, was very polemical. Actually, Medem is one of the most importants and original spanish filmmakers.

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):

(7.40) - Lucía y el sexo (2001)
(7.39) - La ardilla roja (1993)
(7.29) - Tierra (1996)
(7.19) - Vacas (1992)
(6.97) - ¡Hay motivo! (2004)
(6.32) - Caótica Ana (2007)

Trade Mark: Soft focus shots
Last Site Favorite Film: Lovers of the Arctic Circle
Upcoming: Room in Rome (2010)

Average IMDB Rating: 7.19
Awards: 2
Nominations: 3
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 18
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 16
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 15
Total: 61.19

27. Tom Tykwer (Germany, 1965)

Auteurs Profile:

TOM TYKWER was born in 1965 in Wuppertal. “Peter Pan” was probably the first film he saw, and he says that the youthful fantasy of creating a magical parallel world remains an inspiration to this day. The dreamy, childlike sense of wonder in “Peter Pan” fascinated him, as did Vittorio de Sica’s “Miracle in Milan”. Another important cinematic experience was seeing “King Kong” – nine-year-old Tykwer realized that cinema was artificial, man-made. This particular film marked the start of his fondness for the horror genre. Tykwer also names James Whales’ “Bride of Frankenstein”, “Miracle in Milan” and John Carpenter’s "Halloween” as some other early discoveries. From this point on Tykwer’s adolescence revolved round his passion for the cinema. To get greater access to films he helped out in an art-house cinema, which also allowed him to circumvent age restrictions.
Tykwer started making Super 8 films at the age of eleven, a purely fan-driven exercise in which he essentially rehashed his favourite films and – as he readily admits – bored his long-suffering circle of friends stiff. Nevertheless, he continued to work on similar projects all through school. He was much impressed by a visit to Berlin, an apparent film paradise. Every night literally dozens of film classics were on offer. After graduating from school and numerous unsuccessful applications to just about every film school in Europe, he moved to Berlin and worked there as a projectionist. In 1987 he became the programmer at the ambitious ‘Moviemento’ cinema, and even at that young age was a highly respected film buff and contact point for German directors. At the same time he was analysing screenplays for the story department and interviewed many of his cinematic idols for TV profiles.
The desire to make his own films didn’t really take firm shape until he met and became friends with filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim, who vigorously purged his fixations with genre, urging him instead to come up with stories born of his own experience. For example, he suggested Tykwer record arguments with his girlfriend of the time and – in exaggerated form – turn it into a short film. BECAUSE (1990) was screened at the Hof Film Festival, which at that time was for Tykwer a veritable mecca of film culture. BECAUSE was greeted by the public with laughter and sympathetic identification, a totally unexpected reaction that turned out to be a watershed experience for the young director. To communicate intense personal truths, but at the same time challenge with formal experimentation – that was he now envisaged as the way forward. Another short film, EPILOG (1992) plunged Tykwer into personal financial debt, but allowed he and his cameraman partner Frank Griebe to gain important technical experience.
In Hof in 1990 he met Stefan Arndt, who also ran a cinema in Berlin. Their idea of doing something in tandem finally came to fruition when the producers of “Kleines Fernsehspiel” at German public broadcaster, ZDF, gave Tykwer the go-ahead to shoot his screenplay DEADLY MARIA, his first feature film. Here the horror film influences of his youth are very evident, but it then evolves into a love melodrama. The unusual story and extravagant, streamlined visual shaping of the film created a stir in the industry, highly unusual for a television drama, and enabled a – modest – cinematic release. Although audiences were far from large, dozens of film festivals around the world were now aware of Tykwer’s talent. The film was screened at over a hundred festivals and even in cinemas in some countries, such as Spain, Holland, Sweden, Norway and Brazil. Viewer reaction to the first German television broadcast was impassioned, confirming the impact – both disturbing and moving – that DEADLY MARIA had had at festivals.
Together with Stefan Arndt, Wolfgang Becker and Dani Levy, Tykwer founded production company ‘X Filme Creative Pool’ in 1994. It was to be a filmmaker collective that gave maximum creative control over their productions, yet still guaranteed a certain amount of structure and financial security. Together with Wolfgang Becker Tykwer wrote the screenplay for LIFE IS ALL YOU GET, while at the same time working on his second cinema feature WINTER SLEEPERS (1996/97). This ensemble film is clearly a bigger and far more complex production than DEADLY MARIA. The shooting in the mountains of Berchtesgaden was the first really big challenge for Tykwer and the new company. The hypnotic qualities of the film, already typical of Tykwer, brought the young director to the attention of the thinking members of the young German cinema-going public. The film itself became an insider tip at festivals.

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):

(8.15) - True (2004) 
(8.00) - Lola rennt (1998)
(7.50) - Paris, je t'aime (2006)
(7.37) - Die tödliche Maria (1993)
(7.30) - Winterschläfer (1997)
(7.10) - Heaven (2002/I)
(6.68) - Epilog (1992/I)
(6.61) - Because (1990)
(6.60) - The International (2009/I)
(5.99) - Deutschland 09 - 13 kurze Filme zur Lage der Nation (2009)

Trade Mark: Kinetic, fast-paced and flashy editing. Frequently composes his own music

Last Site Favorite Film: Run Lola Run
Upcoming: Three (2011)

Average IMDB Rating: 7.18
Awards: 1
Nominations: 6
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 18
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 16
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 15
Total: 63.18

26. Giuseppe Tornatore (Italy, 1956)

Wiki Profile:

Born in Bagheria near Palermo, Tornatore developed an interest in acting and the theatre from at least the age of 16 and put on works by Luigi Pirandello and Eduardo De Filippo.
He worked initially as a freelance photographer. Then, switching to cinema, he made his debut with Le minoranze etniche in Sicilia (The Ethnic Minorities in Sicily), a collaborative documentary which won a Salerno Festival prize. He then worked for RAI before releasing his first full-length film, Il Camorrista, in 1985. This evoked a positive response from audience and critics alike and Tornatore was awarded the Silver Ribbon for best new director.
Tornatore's best known screen work was released in 1989: Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, a film narrating the life of a successful film director who has returned to his native town in Sicily for the funeral of an old friend. This obtained worldwide success and won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Subsequently Tornatore released several other films cementing his place in film history.

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):

(8.40) - Nuovo cinema Paradiso (1988) 
(7.69) - Una pura formalità (1994)
(7.58) - Stanno tutti bene (1990)
(7.49) - La sconosciuta (2006)
(7.40) - Malèna (2000)
(7.11) - Il camorrista (1986)
(7.10) - L'uomo delle stelle (1995)
(6.83) - Baarìa (2009)
(6.70) - La domenica specialmente (1991)

Trade Mark: Uses cinema to convey his own life stories
Last Site Favorite Film: Cinema Paradiso
Upcoming: The Lady (TBC)

Average IMDB Rating: 7.41
Awards: 7
Nominations: 10
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 14
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 12
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 13
Total: 63.41

25. Claire Denis (France, 1948)

Auteurs Profile:

“A provocative director whose films offer richly textured, contemplative examinations of cross-cultural tensions and alienation, Claire Denis is one of French cinema’s most distinctive and humanistic storytellers. A prolific filmmaker who is more concerned with the drive of her characters rather than the plot that weaves them together, she has been dubbed by one critic as one of the only current French directors who “has been able to reconcile the lyricism of French cinema with the impulse to capture the often harsh face of contemporary France.”
Born in Paris on April 21, 1948, Denis, the daughter of a civil servant, was raised in a series of African countries until she was 14, when her family returned to France. She learned about filmmaking as an assistant to a number of notable directors, including Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire), Jim Jarmusch (Down by Law), and Costa-Gavras (Hanna K.). She made her directorial and screenwriting debut in 1988 with Chocolat, a lush exploration of colonial life and emotional conflicts in 1950s West Africa as viewed through the eyes of a young French girl. The film, which was inspired by Denis’ own experiences in Africa and those of working amongst the stark Southwest landscapes of Paris, Texas, proved to be a very auspicious debut, screening at Cannes that year and earning both a Golden Palm nomination and a César nomination for Best New Director.
Denis followed her debut the next year with Man No Run, a documentary about Les Têtes Brulées (“the Flaming Heads”), a Cameroon band on their first French tour. She then made S’en fout la mort (No Fear, No Die, 1990), a story about two black men, one from Africa and one from the Caribbean, living on the fringes of French society. Like her previous films, it gave specific focus to cultural displacement and racial conflict, themes that would be further explored in J’ai Pas Sommeil (I Can’t Sleep, 1994). Set in a multi-ethnic Parisian neighborhood, the film looked at the various tensions – cultural, familial, and otherwise – at work among various immigrants, including a Lithuanian actress and an expatriate Caribbean family harboring a serial killer. Denis, who occasionally directs for television, next embarked on U.S. Go Home (1994) one part of Tous les Garçons et les Filles de Leur Age, a made-for-TV series depicting the adolescence of nine well-known directors. Denis’ section chronicled 24 hours in the lives of three teenagers trying to lose their virginity in the mid-‘60s. It marked the director’s first collaboration with Grégoire Colin, a young actor whom Denis would also employ in Nénette et Boni and Beau Travail.
The former film, made in 1996, was another coming-of-age drama that centered on the relationship between a lovelorn young man (Colin) and his rebellious, pregnant 15-year-old sister (Alice Houri). It received an enthusiastic international reception and a number of film festival honors, and it was one of the director’s most successful films to date. She followed it three years later with Beau Travail, a military drama based loosely on Herman Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor. The film garnered a warm reception, with a number of critics commenting on Denis’ ability to capture the gorgeously ascetic physical setting of her story, as well as her success in replacing Melville’s verbosity with a silence that communicated volumes.”

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):

(7.35) - White Material (2009)
(7.28) - 35 rhums (2008)
(6.92) - S'en fout la mort (1990)
(6.90) - Beau travail (1999)
(6.84) - Contre l'oubli (1991)
(6.82) - J'ai pas sommeil (1994)
(6.82) - Nénette et Boni (1996)
(6.81) - L'intrus (2004)
(6.81) - Chocolat (1988)
(6.62) - Vendredi soir (2002)
(6.53) - Ten Minutes Older: The Cello (2002)
(6.12) - Trouble Every Day (2001)

Trade Mark: Stories tend to represent cross cultural relationships, especially the African influences within France
Last Site Favorite Film: 35 Shots Of Rum
Upcoming: None as yet

Average IMDB Rating: 6.9
Awards: 1
Nominations: 3
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 18
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 18
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 17
Total: 63.90

24. Michel Gondry (France, 1963)

Auteurs Profile:

Pioneering director Michel Gondry’s remarkable creative energy and ability to innovate have resulted in some of the most visually stunning music videos in the history of the medium, and his wild imagination and organic, childlike imagery raised the bar of what one could achieve in the short format. In particular, his technique of placing numerous cameras around a subject and combining the images to form a visually astonishing sweeping effect has become so popular that it has since gone on to achieve timeless notoriety in such films as the The Matrix. With a family background that consists of a number of inventors and technological innovators, Gondry, not surprisingly, is seen as a bottomless wealth of imaginative innovation.
Michel Gondry is a native of Versailles who was raised in a freethinking family that encouraged and supported his creative endeavors; his parents harbored a deep love of pop music and the works of Duke Ellington, in particular. Gondry’s grandfather Constant Martin is often credited with creating one of the earliest synthesizers (the Clavioline), and although his father would often bemoan his own lack of musical inspiration, he kept the spirit alive by owning a shop that sold musical instruments. Though the shop would eventually go out of business due to the elder Gondry’s generosity toward burgeoning musicians (Michel claims that his father would practically give his instruments away), that generosity did extend to his immediate family, and young Michel and his brother were given a drum kit and a bass guitar, respectively, before the shop closed its doors. Subsequently forming a punk rock band with his brother, Gondry would also collaborate with his siblings on a series of short films in which the youngsters were constantly striving to break new technological ground.
Though Gondry’s earliest career ambitions were to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps as an inventor, his skills as a draughtsman led him to art college in Paris, where he would form the band Oui Oui with some close friends. It was the remarkably visionary videos that Gondry created for the band that propelled his early sparks of inspiration into a virtual inferno of creativity. Mixing animation with live action to create a series of wildly surreal and strangely beautiful worlds, the videos would serve as a calling card to the world of film. It was his videos for Oui Oui (in particular the video for the song “La Ville”) that peaked the interest of eccentric singer Björk, and the two artists were soon collaborating on the video for her song “Human Behavior” from her post-Sugarcubes solo debut album. A visually extravagant study in the quirks of humans as expressed through various species of the animal kingdom, the groundbreaking video first aired in 1993, stunning viewers across the globe. Its organically outlandish images perfectly complimented the singer’s unique musical style and served as the beginning of an enduring collaboration between the two artists.
Though Gondry would frequently return to work with Björk in the following years, the success of the “Human Behavior” video found such popular artists as the Rolling Stones, Massive Attack, Kylie Minogue, and Beck clamoring to collaborate with the visionary director. Always looking to create and invent new ways of shooting music videos, Gondry offered something fresh and original in each of his new efforts, effectively breathing fresh air into the somewhat stagnant (at the time) format. His video for the French band IAM’s track “Je Danse le Mia” pioneered the morphing technique that would become increasingly prevalent in film and video throughout the 1990s. During this time, Gondry would also helm commercials for such notable clients as Levi’s, Nike, and BMW. Subsequent videos for such bands as the White Stripes and the Foo Fighters found him consistently working with some of the hippest bands around.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before Gondry moved into feature-film territory, and with the 2002 comedy Human Nature, he did just that. Though the Charlie Kaufman-scripted film did indeed translate his quirky and unique visual world onto the large screen with its original tale of a hirsute nature girl who forms a tentative bond with a wild child who is being schooled in social skills by a repressed scientist, Human Nature ultimately proved a bit too odd for mass consumption and barely scored a blip on the box-office radar. Those who were familiar with Gondry’s work, however, warmly and openly embraced the film for the most part, and it wasn’t long before the director was eying scripts for his sophomore feature. In 2004, he once again teamed with Charlie Kaufman, this time for the tale of a troubled couple who have their memories of each other erased after a traumatic breakup in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The film found Gondry collaborating with an all-star cast that included the likes of Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, and Elijah Wood. A wildly creative and hauntingly humorous endeavor which proved a sizable indie hit among filmgoers looking to experience a new twist on the modern romantic fable, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind more than made up for any previous disappointment of Human Nature. When it came time to hand out the coveted Oscars at the 2005 Academy Awards, Gondry found himself sharing a Best Original Screenplay award with co-screenwriters Kaufman and Pierre Bismuth.
After joining forces with famed comic Dave Chappelle the following year for the high-energy hybrid music/concert documentary Dave Chappelle’s Block Party, Gondry soon returned to the realms of the fantastic with The Science of Sleep — a surreal journey into the vivid imagination of a lonely dreamer that seemed something of a celluloid sibling to Eternal Sunshine. Of course, any fan of Gondry knows that he has never been a director inclined to rest on his laurels, and just two weeks before The Science of Sleep hit stateside theaters, Gondry was already busy shooting his next feature, Be Kind Rewind – an unhinged comedy concerning a junkyard worker (Jack Black) whose magnetized brain erases every movie in his best friend’s video store. Subsequently threatened with the loss of the store’s sole customer – an elderly woman showing signs of dementia – as a result of the mishap, the well-intending junkman and his determined pal make a desperate bid to please the loyal patron by reenacting scenes from a variety of high-profile Hollywood hits.

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):

(7.50) - La science des rêves (2006)
(7.45) - L'épine dans le coeur (2009)
(7.20) - Block Party (2005)
(7.18) - La lettre (1998)
(7.10) - Tokyo! (2008)
(6.65) - One Day... (2001)
(6.60) - Be Kind Rewind (2008)
(6.30) - Human Nature (2001)

Trade Mark: Quirky and inventive stylistically
Last Site Favorite Film: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Upcoming: The Green Hornet

Average IMDB Rating: 7.16
Awards: 2
Nominations: 2
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 19
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 18
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 16
Total: 64.16

23. Bernardo Bertolucci (Italy, 1940)

Auteurs Profile:

Known both for sweeping epics and for helping to bring eroticism into general release with Last Tango in Paris, Bernardo Bertolucci is one of the pre-eminent international directors of the latter half of the twentieth century. The son of poet, film critic, and anthologist Attilio Bertolucci, he was born on March 16, 1940 in Parma. Surrounded by an atmosphere of comfort and intellectualism, Bertolucci began making 16 mm films as a teenager. In addition to making two short films about children, he also gained a certain amount of respect as a writer, winning the Premio Viareggio (one of Italy’s top literary awards) for his first book, In Search of Mystery. Going on to study at the University of Rome, Bertolucci started his film career as an assistant director to Pier Paolo Pasolini. After working on Pasolini’s Accatone, he left the University in 1961 and embarked on his own independent film study.
Bertolucci made his directing debut the following year with La Commare Secca (The Grim Reaper), a stark murder mystery filmed on location in Rome. Based on a script by Pasolini, the film went largely unseen; his next effort, Prima della Rivoluzione (Before the Revolution) was also a commercial disappointment, but it won him recognition at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival. This recognition was followed by an almost five-year period during which the director was unable to secure funding for another feature-length film; he instead made a number of documentaries and assisted director Julian Beck on various productions.
In 1970 Bertolucci was back, directing La Strategia del Ragno (The Spider’s Stratagem); the film was seen as an improvement over Bertolucci’s previous work, but it was not until the release of Il Conformista (The Conformist) (also 1970), that he received international acclaim for his work. A non-linear exploration of Mussolini’s Fascist Italy and a character study of an individual (Jean-Louis Trintignant) who conforms to the era’s ideological conventions, the film was shown in competition at the 1970 Berlin Film Festival, where it met with an ecstatic reception. Now bearing substantial credibility as a director, Bertolucci went on to explore sexual sadomasochism and societal hypocrisy with his infamous Last Tango in Paris in 1972. Starring Marlon Brando as an American widower who embarks on a torrid sadomasochistic relationship with a young Parisian (Maria Schneider), the film sparked no small degree of controversy when it was released. It was eventually recognized as an extraordinary, if polarizing, work, winning Bertolucci a Best Director Oscar nomination and a Best Actor Oscar nomination for Brando.
Bertolucci then embarked on his first epic, making the 311-minute Novecento (1900) in 1976. The story of two men born in Italy on the same day in 1901, it explored the political forces that shaped Italy through World War II and the lives affected by these forces. Its epic scope was repeated eleven years later in the director’s The Last Emperor. A decades-spanning tale about the deposed last emperor of China, it went on to win nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. Following a comparatively unsuccessful 1990 adaptation of Paul Bowles’ The Sheltering Sky, Bertolucci returned to Asia to make Little Buddha in 1994. The film received relatively lackluster reviews and had a stodgy box-office performance, but the director rebounded somewhat in 1996 with Stealing Beauty. Returning to the golden hills of Tuscany to film the story of a young American (Liv Tyler) in search of her father and the boy to whom she wants to give her virginity, Bertolucci turned out a lush, measured piece of work that impressed more than a few critics and served as Tyler’s breakthrough film. In 1998, Bertolucci took another look at the politics of love and desire with Besieged. Filmed in Rome, the film starred David Thewlis as a composer and Thandie Newton as the African political refugee he loves. Besieged received generally excellent reviews, further embellishing its director’s epic resume.

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):

(8.09) - Il conformista (1970) 
(7.90) - The Last Emperor (1987)
(7.70) - Novecento (1976)
(7.27) - Prima della rivoluzione (1964)
(7.18) - Strategia del ragno (1970)
(7.10) - Ultimo tango a Parigi (1972)
(7.10) - The Dreamers (2003)
(7.00) - La commare secca (1962)
(6.71) - Besieged (1998)
(6.71) - La luna (1979)
(6.60) - The Sheltering Sky (1990)
(6.33) - Partner (1968)
(6.30) - Stealing Beauty (1996)
(5.92) - Amore e rabbia (1969)
(5.71) - Little Buddha (1993)

Trade Mark: Frequently references classic movies. Frequently has nude scenes in his films.

Last Site Favorite Film: The Dreamers
Upcoming: None as yet

Average IMDB Rating: 6.89
Awards: 6
Nominations: 10
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 16
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 14
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 12
Total: 64.89

22. Fatih Akin (Germany, 1973, to Turkish parentage)

Auteurs Profile:

Fatih Akin was born in 1973 in Hamburg of Turkish parentage. He began studying Visual Communications at Hamburg’s College of Fine Arts in 1994. His collaboration with Wüste Film also dates from this time. In 1995, he wrote and directed his first short feature, Sensin – You’re The One! (Sensin – Du Bist Es!), which received the Audience Award at the Hamburg International Short Film Festival. His second short film, Weed (Getuerkt, 1996), received several national and international festival prizes. His first full length feature film, Short Sharp Shock (Kurz Und Schmerzlos, 1998) won the Bronze Leopard at Locarno and the Bavarian Film Award (Best Young Director) in 1998. His other films include: In July (Im Juli, 2000), Wir Haben Vergessen Zurueckzukehren (2001), Solino (2002), the Berlinale Golden Bear-winner and winner of the German and European Film Awards Head-On (Gegen Die Wand, 2003), and Crossing the Bridge – The Sound of Istanbul (2005).

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):

(8.00) - Auf der anderen Seite (2007) 
(8.00) - Gegen die Wand (2004)
(7.89) - Im Juli. (2000)
(7.70) - Getürkt (1996)
(7.59) - Kurz und schmerzlos (1998)
(7.59) - Soul Kitchen (2009)
(7.20) - Solino (2002)
(7.00) - New York, I Love You (2009)
(6.06) - Visions of Europe (2004)
(6.02) - Deutschland 09 - 13 kurze Filme zur Lage der Nation (2009)

Trade Mark: Is a fan of Jim Jarmusch which can be seen as an inspiration to his
Last Site Favorite Film: Edge Of Heaven
Upcoming: Untitled project lined up for 2011

Average IMDB Rating: 7.36
Awards: 7
Nominations: 6
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 15
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 16
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 14
Total: 65.36

21. Danny Boyle (UK, 1956)

Auteurs Profile:

With an eclectic array of films to his credit, director Danny Boyle emerged from his native England to become one of the most celebrated and revered filmmakers of independently-minded cinema. Ever since his emergence onto the world stages with “Trainspotting” (1996), his stark, but viciously funny look at a group of heroin-addicted friends living in Edinburgh, Boyle managed to chart his own unique path without having to bow to studio pressures. Though he dipped his toe into Hollywood waters with his underwhelming adaptation of “The Beach” (2000), Boyle nonetheless created frenzied and highly-stylized films that also depicted three-dimensional characters often struggling with human vices and weakness. With his luminously praised horror film, “28 Days Later” (2003), and his surprisingly soft-hearted children’s fantasy, “Millions” (2005), Boyle proved adept at shifting genres without losing the voice he established in his previous efforts, making him one of the most talented and eagerly watched filmmakers of his generation to succeed on both sides of the pond.
Born on Oct. 20, 1956 in working-class Manchester, England, Boyle was raised by his working-class, Irish Catholic parents who immigrated to England from County Galway, Ireland. Despite their blue collar background, his parents encouraged the young Boyle to indulge in his imagination, which he did through watching movies. Meanwhile, until the age of 13, Boyle believed that he would become a priest, but a local clergyman convinced his parents to make him wait until was he was 18 for a decision. By the time he reached that age, Boyle had moved on to wanting to direct. After completing secondary school at Thornleigh Salesian College, Boyle attend the University of Wales, where he studied English and eventually left without his degree to direct at the Joint Stock Theatre Company, a politically-themed company known in Britain for being controversial as well as for producing cutting-edge plays. In 1982, he made the jump to the Royal Court Theatre in London, where he became their artistic director and oversaw Howard Brenton’s “The Genius” and Edward Bond’s “Saved;” the latter of which earned Boyle a coveted Time Out Award.
Boyle was bumped up to deputy director of the Royal Court Theatre for the main stage in 1985, serving in the position until 1987, when he began directing television. Outside of Royal Court, he directed other stage productions, including “The Pretenders” and “The Last Days of Don Juan” for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Meanwhile, his television work was mostly grounded in drama, including the made-for-television movie, “For the Greater Good” (1991) and the “Masonic Mysteries” (PBS, 1992) installment of the “Inspector Morse” series, in which Morse (John Thaw) is found holding a knife over a dead body and is placed under arrest on suspicion of murder. Turning to period drama, he directed the four-part miniseries “Mr. Wroe’s Virgins” (Sundance Channel, 1993), which was about a 19th century cult leader, John Wroe (Jonathan Pryce), a messianic Christian-Israelite prophet to whom local townspeople deliver seven virgins to serve his every need. Boyle returned to the “Inspector Morse” series, penning a two-part series in 1994, followed by a second directing effort with “Cherubim and Seraphim” (PBS, 1995).
After cobbling together £800,000 from Channel 4 and a Glasgow Film Grant, Boyle had enough money to direct his first feature, “Shallow Grave” (1994), a darkly comic thriller about three friends (Kerry Fox, Ewan McGregor and Christopher Eccleston) who find their roommate dead and loaded with cash. From its kinetic visual style and humorous look at greed and deceit amongst friends, “Shallow Grave” trumpeted the arrival of a major talent. Boyle assuredly handled the black comedy of John Hodge’s script with a stylized theatricality that became a hallmark of his later features. Aside from pulling strong performances from the lead actors, Boyle managed to create a number of brilliantly shot comic set pieces, including a series of interview sessions with prospective roommates and the disposal of a dead body. After its debut at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, “Shallow Grave” toured the festival circuit and was eventually released in England, where it became a solid hit. Meanwhile, Boyle won a Silver Shell at the San Sebastian Film Festival and the Golden Hitchcock at the Dinard British Film Festival.
Reuniting with screenwriter Hodge, producer Andrew Macdonald and actor Ewan McGregor, Boyle directed “Trainspotting” (1996), a tragic-comic look at the drug-infested underworld of contemporary Scotland. Again employing a hyper-active camera and working with many of the same behind-the-scenes personnel, Boyle established a unique visual style that matched a hard-to-define film about a group of heroin addicts in an economically depressed Edinburgh. “Trainspotting” focused on Renton (McGregor), one of the addicts who tries to go straight and lead a so-called normal life. Chock full of visually arresting scenes, Boyle’s sophomore effort depicted a dark and sordid world with a deftly comic touch, particularly in the film’s – and perhaps the decade’s – most memorable scene with Renton plunging into a disgusting public toilet to retrieve his submerged stash. As with “Shallow Grave,” Boyle – ably abetted by a cast that included Jonny Lee Miller, Robert Carlyle and Ewen Bremner – created a world populated with venal, yet oddly charismatic characters. A box-office hit in the United Kingdom and a cult hit in the United States, “Trainspotting” earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay and firmly positioned Boyle on Hollywood’s radar.
Hollywood did, in fact, come knocking, though Boyle reportedly spurned several high-profile offers – including a chance to helm the fourth installment in the “Alien” series – in order to concentrate on his own material. He immediately began work on his third feature, the oddball comedy “A Life Less Ordinary” (1997), once again joining forces with Hodge, Macdonald and McGregor. This time the actor was cast as a struggling novelist working as a janitor who takes revenge on his employer (Ian Holm) after losing his job by kidnapping his daughter (Cameron Diaz). Sometimes poignant and funny, though oftentimes too quirky and muddled for its own good, “A Life Less Ordinary” lacked the impact and creative verve of his previous two efforts. For his next feature, “The Beach” (2000), Boyle finally answered Hollywood’s call and directed the adaptation of Alex Garland’s acclaimed novel, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, who was hot off the heels of “Titanic” (1997). Though intriguing in spots, “The Beach” – which followed the exploits of an American traveler in Thailand looking for a secret island inhabited by marijuana farmers – ultimately failed to capture much interest critically and at the box office, perhaps due in part to critical headlines about production delays and changing release dates.
After making a couple of short features for the BBC – “Strumpet” (2001) and “Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise” (2001) – Boyle returned for a full-length feature with “28 Days Later” (2003), a graphic post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller about a deadly virus spread by rampant chimpanzees and released by animal rights activists. Once contracted, the virus sends the human race into a frenzied murderous rage and nearly wipes out the earth’s population. Starring an emergent Cillian Murphy, “28 Days Later” was surprise hit on both sides of the pond, taking in a healthy sum at the box office while receiving a strong amount of critical kudos. Boyle next directed “Millions” (2005), a compelling fantasy about two brothers (Alex Etel and Lewis McGibbon) who go on the adventure of a lifetime after a suitcase full of money mysteriously falls to their feet from the sky. Typically prone to kinetic violence and wild imagery, Boyle toned down to tell a surprisingly warm and heartfelt story about the inner world and imagination of children.
Boyle further demonstrated his adroitness in shifting genres when he directed “Sunshine” (2007), a not-too-futuristic sci-fi thriller about a spaceship crew of eight men and women (including Michelle Yeoh, Cillian Murphy and Rose Byrne) sent to restore life to a dying sun in order to save humanity. But when they lose radio contact with Earth, their mission immediately starts to unravel, leading to one catastrophe after another until the crew is left to fight for not only their lives, but their sanity. Though lacking character depth, “Sunshine” was nonetheless visually stunning, particularly in its use of lighting. Unfortunately, Boyle’s first foray into science fiction failed to attract much of an audience. He returned the following year with “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008), a surprisingly cheerful rags-to-riches tale about an impoverished Indian teenager (Dev Patel) who wins the grand prize on his country’s version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” only to be arrested for cheating. The film received such stellar reviews, it came as no surprise when Boyle was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Director

Filmography (By IMDB Votes):
(8.40) - Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
(8.20) - Trainspotting (1996)
(7.60) - 28 Days Later... (2002)
(7.40) - Shallow Grave (1994)
(7.30) - Sunshine (2007)
(7.10) - Millions (2004)
(6.30) - A Life Less Ordinary (1997)
(6.21) - Alien Love Triangle (2002)
(6.20) - The Beach (2000/I)
Trade Mark: Often uses Ewan McGregor. The opening shot is usually a shot from the middle of the movie.
Often uses electronic music in his films. Scotland - Often uses places, characters, actors or references to and relating to Scotland. Kinetic camera. Frequently collaborates with John Murphy for Soundtrack production
Last Site Favorite Film: Sunshine
Upcoming: 127 Hours (2010)

Average IMDB Rating: 7.19
Awards: 6
Nominations: 6
Style (LastSite Rating out of 20) 15
Originality (LastSite Rating out of 20) 17
Filmography (LastSite Rating out of 20): 15
Total: 66.19

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