Sunday, January 2, 2011

The 400 Greatest Film Directors

     In continuation of the previous article "The 100 Most Influetial Directors" this is a further addition of the names of 400 more great directors, who by their distinctive, pathbreaking films have upheld the notion that cinema is not only a mere popular entertainment, but also the most important and influential form of art.

     These filmmakers from around the world have often worked under difficult conditions and constraint, but with indomitable spirit they have maintained their independence to make films with their personal creative vision, and though the production of the films are a part of industrial process, their creative voice is distinct to shine through all kinds of influences and restrictions. These filmmakers developed recognisable styles, often worked in single or even multiple genres, but their finished product express their own philosophy of life, thoughts, relationships, social commitments, politics and world view. They dared to break the conventions of style and format of filmmaking by innovation and experimentation.                                                                  

     Some of these directors can convey a "sincerity" and "sense of wonder" in their finely crafted films, in which mastering of techniques are evident but not all encompassing. But when technical wizardry, visual gimmicks and stunts overwhelm the visual aesthetics and realistic plotline of the film, for the sole purpose of instant gratification of viewers and commercial gains, then I am afraid I cannot include this filmmakers, however popular they may be, in my list. Therefore to prevent travesty of justice to the process of using film as a medium of expression of art, I have taken the liberty of omitting these directors from my list. The list is according to me very comprehensive and covers cinema from across the globe and include filmmakers from the birth of cinema to the present day. A lot of contemplation and delibration has gone into the process of selection. Though the list contains the maximum number of directors from America( undoubtedly because traditionally USA is the largest producer and distributor of films worldwide apart from Bollywood), quite a few of the American filmmakers mentioned have worked or are working outside the Hollywood system and are pioneers in independant and avant-garde films. Hollywood's recent fascination with its own demise is evident seen through the popularity of disaster, superhero  and horror flicks, movies bereft of realism, superficial, cliched, pretensious and genuinely lacking in creative ideas and pathetically simulating  European/Asiatic cinema. Therefore I am forced  to exclude a lot of popular Hollywood filmmakers from the list.

     Other than USA the major chunk of directors are from France, Japan, Italy, UK, Germany and Spain. Though a good number of Eastern European directors including Russia have found their rightous place in the list. From the last decade of the 20th century till present day there has been a significant spurt of good cinema from Latin America ( especially Mexico, Argentina and Brazil) and Asia(particularly Iran, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Turkey and South Korea). Therefore quite a few auteurs from these parts of the world walked into the list.

     The filmmakers included are those who strive to lift the film to an artistic level. Based upon a common belief that the mainstream cinema have become " morally corrupt, aesthetically obsolete, thematically superficial and temperamentally boring" all the filmmakers who challenged the boundaries of mundaneness and struggled for revival of cinema as a form of art are mentioned. But still I owe my apology to many great filmmakers whom I could not accomodate due to paucity of space( after all 400 is just an arbitrary number). Particulrly I would like to mention over here the notable omissions; Victor Nunez, Alexander Payne, Gregory La Cava, Henry Hathaway, Anatole Litvak, Larry Clark, Ida Lupino, John Gianvito and Ray Parla from USA, Arnoldo Jabor (Brazil), Peter Lilianthal, Wolfgang Becker, Walter Ruttman and Marc Rothemund (Germany), Toshio Matsumata, Kenji Fukasawa, Kawashima Yuzo, Susumu Hani, Shunichi Nagasaki, Naomi Kawase and Ishiro Honda (Japan),Rithy Panh (Cambodia), Silvio Soldini and Franco Zeffirelli (Italy), Germaine Dulac, Andrej Zulawski and Nicolas Philibert (France), Dariush Mehrjui (Iran), Andrei Konchalovsky, Pavel Chukhrai, Mikhael Kalatazov, Julia Solntseva, Aleksei German, Elem Klimov, Larissa Shepitko and Pavel Lungin (Russia), Lucrecia Martel, Juan Jose Campanella, Fernando E. Solanas, Hector Babenco and Jeanine Meerapfel (Argentina), Manuel De Landa (Mexico), Astrid Henning Jenson and Henning Carlsen (Denmark), Jos Stelling and Rolf de Heer (Holland), Dusan Hanak (Slovakia) Claude Jutra (Canada), Tran Anh Hueng (Vietnam), Terry Jones, Stephen Daldry, Mike Hodges and Paul Greengrass (UK), Agnieszka Holland (Poland), Ishmael Bernal (Phillipines), Danis Tanovic (Bosnia), Marta Meszaros (Hungary), Marion Hensel (Belgium), Desire Ecaire(Ivory Coast), Amos Kollek (Israel) and Adoor Gopalakrishan, Buddhadeb Dasgupta and Shyam Benegal from India.

1.     Olivier Assayas               (France)
2.     Jacques Audiard             (France)
3.     Alexandre Astruc            (France)
4.     Fatih Akin                       (Germany)
5.     Pedro Almodovar            (Spain)
6.     Alejandro Amenebar        (Spain)
7.     Manuel Guiterrez Aragon  (Spain)
8.     Chantal Akerman              (Belgium)
9.     Gianni Amelio                   (Italy)
10.   Dario Argento                   (Italy)
11.   Pupi Avati                         (Italy)
12.   Gilliam Armstrong              (Australia) (USA)
13.   Fernando Ayala                 (Argentina)
14.   Tomas Guiterrez Alea        (Cuba)
15.   Bille August                       (Denmark)
16.   Theodore Angelopoulos     (Greece)
17.   Denys Arcand                    (Canada)
18.   Tex Avery                          (USA)
19.   Michael Almereyda             (USA)
20.   Dorothy Arzner                   (USA)
21.   Peggy Ahwesh                     (USA)
22.   Hal Ashby                            (USA)
23.   Paul Thomas Anderson         (USA)
24.   Wes Anderson                      (USA)
25.   Darren Aronofsky                 (USA)

26.   Bertrand Blier                       (France)
27.   Claude Berri                          (France)
28.   Catherine Breillat                   (France)
29.   Xavier Beauvois                    (France)
30.   Jacques Becker                     (France)
31.   Luc Besson                           (France)
32.   Kenneth Brannagh                 (UK)
33.   John Boorman                       (UK) (USA)
34.   Juan Antonio Bardem            (Spain)
35.   Luis Garcia Berlanga              (Spain)
36.   Joao Botelho                          (Portugal)
37.   Marco Bellocchio                   (Italy)
38.   Mauro Bologni                        (Italy)
39.   Roberto Benigni                      (Italy)
40.   Sergei Bondarchuk                  (USSR)
41.   Susanne Bier                           (Denmark)
42.   Sarunas Barthas                      (Lithuania)
43.   Lino Brocka                            (Phillipines)
44.   Robert Breer                           (USA)
45.   Craig Baldwin                          (USA)
46.   Clarence Brown                       (USA)
47.   Sadie Benning                           (USA)
48.   Richard Brooks                        (USA)
49.   Peter Bogdanovich                    (USA)
50.   Charles Burnett                         (USA)
51.   Frank Borzage                          (USA)
52.   James Benning                          (USA)
53.   Tim Burton                                (USA)
54.   Tod Browning                           (USA)

55.   Leos Carax                              (France)
56.   Rene Clement                           (France)
57.   Laurent Cantet                          (France)
58.   Andre Cayatte                          (France)
59.   Alain Corneau                           (France)
60.   Patrice Chereau                        (France)
61.   Constantin Costa-Gavras          (France)
62.   Jane Campion                           (New Zealand)
63.   Alex Cox                                  (UK)
64.   Alan Clarke                              (UK)
65.   Mario Camus                            (Spain)
66.   Pedro Costa                              (Portugal)
67.   Luigi Comencini                         (Italy)
68.   Liliana Cavani                            (Italy)
69.   Alfonso Cuaron                         (Mexico)
70.   Youssef Chahine                        (Egypt)
71.   Souleymane Cisse                      (Mali)
72.   Nuri Bilge Ceylan                       (Turkey)
73.   Chang Cheh                               (Hong Kong)
74.   Park Chan-wook                       (South Korea)
75.   Vera Chytilova                           (Czech Rep)
76.   Jack Chambers                           (Canada)
77.   David Cronenberg                       (Canada)
78.   Joseph Cornell                             (USA)
79.   Bob Clampett                              (USA)
80.   Larry Cohen                                (USA)
81.   William Castle                              (USA)
82.   Roger Corman                             (USA)
83.   John Carpenter                            (USA)
84.   Joel and Ethan Coen                    (USA)
85.   Sofia Coppola                              (USA)
86.   Michael Curtiz                              (USA)

87.  Claire Denis                                  (France)
88.  Bruno Dumont                              (France)
89.  Arnaud Desplechin                        (France)
90.  Margaret Duras                             (France)
91.  Guy Debord                                  (France)
92.  Raymond Depardon                      (France)
93.  Jean Delannoy                               (France)
94.  Jacques Deray                               (France)
95.  Michel Deville                                (France)
96.  Jules Dassin                                   (France) (USA)
97.  Terence Davies                              (UK)
98.  Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck  (Germany)
99.  Andre Delvaux                               (Belgium)
100. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne       (Belgium)
101.  Mark Donskoy                             (USSR)
102.  Carlos Diegues                             (Brazil)
103.  Allan Dwan                                  (Canada) (USA)
104.  Joe Dante                                     (USA)
105.  Edward Dmytryk                          (USA)
106.  Jonathan Demme                           (USA)
107.  Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly      (USA)
108.  Cecil B. DeMille                            (USA)

109.  Jean Eustache                              (France)
110.  Jean Epstein                                 (France)
111.  Atom Egoyan                               (Canada)
112.  Victor Erice                                  (Spain)
113.  Clint Eastwood                             (USA)

114.  Georges Franju                            (France)
115.  Stephen Frears                             (UK)
116.  Oscar Fischinger                          (Germany)
117.  Harun Farocki                              (Germany)
118.  Su Friedrich                                 (Germany)
119.  Lucio Fulci                                   (Italy)
120.  Marco Ferreri                               (Italy)
121.  Louise Kolm-Fleck                      (Austria)
122.  Willi Frost                                    (Austria)
123.  Richard Franklin                           (Australia)
124.  Zoltan Fabri                                  (Hungary)
125.  Milos Forman                              (Czech Rep) (USA)
126.  Abel Ferrara                                (USA)
127.  Hollis Frampton                           (USA)
128.  David Fincher                              (USA)
129.  John Frankenheimer                     (USA)
130.  Robert J. Flaherty                        (USA)
131.  William Friedkin                           (USA)
132.  Victor Fleming                             (USA)
133.  Philippe Garrel                            (France)
134.  Jean-Pierre Gorin                        (France)
135.  Michel Gondry                            (France)
136.  Robert Guediguian                      (France)
137.  Sacha Guitry                               (France)
138.  Jean Gremillon                            (France)
139.  Peter Greenaway                        (UK)
140.  Pietro Germi                               (Italy)
141.  Marco Tullio Giordana                (Italy)
142.  Yilmaz Guny                               (Turkey)
143.  Bahman Ghobadi                        (Iran)
144.  Claude Goretta                           (Switzerland)
145.  Amos Gitai                                 (Israel)
146.  Ritwik Ghattak                           (India)
147.  Terry Gilliam                              (USA)
148.  Ernie Gehr                                 (USA)
149.  Michael Haneke                        (Austria) (Germany) (France)
150.  Bert Haanstra                            (Holland)
151.  Juraj Herz                                  (Czech Rep) (Germany)
152.  Yim Ho                                     (Hong Kong)
153.  Tsui Hark                                  (Hong Kong)
154.  King Hu                                    (Hong Kong) (Taiwan)
155.  Ann Hui                                    (Hong Kong)
156.  Hal Hartley                               (USA)
157.  Monte Hellman                         (USA)
158.  Todd Haynes                            (USA)
159.  John Huston                              (USA)

160.  Otar Iosseliani                          (France)
161.  Alejandro de la Iglesia              (Spain)
162.  Joris Ivens                               (Holland) (France)
163.  Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu      (Mexico)
164.  Juzo Itami                                (Japan)
165.  Hiroshi Inagaki                         (Japan)
166.  Shohei Imamura                       (Japan)
167.  Kwon-taek Im                         (South Korea)

168.  Jean-Pierre Juenet                  (France)
169.  Benoit Jacquot                       (France)
170.  Derek Jarman                         (UK)
171.  Peter Jackson                         (New Zealand) (USA)
172.  Alejandro Jodorowsky           (Mexico)
173.  Miklos Jancso                        (Hungary)
174.  Jaromil Jires                            (Czech Rep)
175.  Jan Jost                                  (USA)
176.  Chuck Jones                           (USA)
177.  Spike Jonze                            (USA)
178.  Jim Jarmusch                          (USA)
179.  Ken Jacobs                            (USA)

180.  Diane Kurys                          (France)
181.  Helmut Kautner                     (Germany)
182.  Chen Kaige                           (China)
183.  Stanley Kwan                        (Hong Kong)
184.  Grigori Kozintsev                   (USSR)
185.  Peter Kubelka                       (USSR)
186.  Jan Jacob Kolski                   (Poland)
187.  Aki Kaurismaki                     (Finland)
188.  Emir Kusturica                      (Serbia)
189.  Ted Kotcheff                        (Canada)
190.  Kim Ki-duk                          (South Korea)
191.  Kiyoshi Kurosawa                (Japan)
192.  Takeshi Kitano                     (Japan)
193.  Masaki Kobyashi                 (Japan)
194.  Hirokazu Kore-eda              (Japan)
195.  Harmony Korine                  (USA)
196.  Kuchar Bros.                       (USA)
197.  Elia Kazan                           (USA)

198.  Patrice Leconte                   (France)
199.  Claude Autant-Lara            (France)
200.  Ken Loach                         (UK)
201.  David Lean                         (UK)
202.  Richard Lester                    (UK)
203.  Joseph Losey                      (UK)
204.  Angela Ricci Lucchi and Yervant Gianikian  (Italy)
205.  Len Lye                             (New Zealand)
206.  Francis J. Lombardi           (Peru)
207.  Gerardo de Leon               (Phillipines)
208.  Clara Law                         (Hong Kong) (Australia)
209.  Miguel Littin                      (Chile)
210.  Ang Lee                           (Hong Kong) (USA)
211.  Tsai Ming Liang                (Taiwan)
212.  Arthur Lipsett                   (Canada)
213.  Georges Landow              (USA)
214.  John Landis                      (USA)
215.  George Lucas                   (USA)
216.  Sidney Lumet                    (USA)
217.  Spike Lee                         (USA)
218.  Barry Levinson                 (USA)
219.  Joseph H. Lewis               (USA)
220.  Richard Linklater              (USA)
221.  Jerry Lewis                      (USA)

222.  Jean-Pierre Melville         (France)
223.  Claude Miller                  (France)
224.  Luc Moullet                    (France)
225.  Julio Medem                   (Spain)
226.  Joao Cesar Monteiro      (Portugal)
227.  Mario Monicelli              (Italy)
228.  Nanni Moretti                 (Italy)
229.  Antonio Margheriti          (Italy)
230.  Nikita Mikhalkov            (USSR)
231.  Kira Muratova                (USSR)
232.  Samira Makhmalbaf        (Iran)
233.  Mohsen Makhmalbaf      (Iran)
234.  Majid Majidi                  (Iran)
235.  Djibril Diop Mamberty   (Senegal)
236.  Frederick M. Murer       (Switzerland)
237.  Dusan Makavajev          (Serbia)
238.  Karoly Makk                 (Hungary)
239.  Jiri Menzel                      (Czech Rep)
240.  Lukas Moodysson         (Sweden)
241.  Guy Maddin                  (Canada)
242.  Yasuzo Masumara         (Japan)
243.  Takashe Miike               (Japan)
244.  Yoshimitsu Morita          (Japan)
245.  Hayao Miyazaki             (Japan)
246.  Marie Menken               (USA)
247.  Russ Meyer                   (USA)
248.  Errol Morris                    (USA)
249.  Michael Moore              (USA)
250.  Lewis Milestone            (USA)
251.  Jonas Mekas                 (USA)
252.  Joseph L. Mankiewicz   (USA)
253.  Terence Malick             (USA)
254.  Alexander Mackendrick  (USA)
255.  Rouben Mamoulian       (USA)

256.  Gaspar Noe                 (France)
257.  Philip Noyce                (Australia) (USA)
258.  Maria Novaro              (Mexico)
259.  Leopoldo Torre Nilsson  (Argentina)
260.  Jan Nemec                   (Czech Rep)
261.  Ko Nakahira                (Japan)
262.  Mikio Naruse               (Japan)
263.  Christopher Nolan        (UK) (USA)

264.  Francoise Ozon           (France)
265.  Laurence Olivier          (UK)
266.  Manoel de Oliviera      (Portugal)
267.  Ermanno Olmi             (Italy)
268.  Idrissa Ouedraego      (Burkina Faso)
269.  Alanis Obomsawin      (Canada)
270.  Shinsuke Ogawa         (Japan)
271.  Mamoru Oshii             (Japan)

272.  Maurice Pialat            (France)
273.  Marcel Pagnol            (France)
274.  Gillo Pontecorvo        (Italy)
275.  Elio Petri                    (Italy)
276.  Sally Potter                (UK)
277.  Pere Portabella          (Spain)
278  Jafar Panahi                (Iran)
279.  Lucian Pintilie            (Romania)
280.  D. A. Pennebacker   (USA)
281.  Melvin van Peebles   (USA)
282.  Sidney Pollack          (USA)
283.  Arthur Penn              (USA)
284.  Brian De Palma         (USA)

285.  Quay Bros.               (USA)

286.  Raoul Ruiz               (Chile) (France)
287.  Jacques Rozier         (France)
288.  Francoise Reichenbach  (France)
289.  Ken Russell              (UK)
290.  Nicholas Roeg          (UK)
291.  Tony Richardson      (UK)
292.  Lynne Ramsay          (UK)
293.  Carol Reed               (UK)
294.  Leni Riefenstahl         (Germany)
295.  Edgar Reitz               (Germany)
296.  Carlos Reygadas       (Mexico)
297.  Francesco Rosi         (Italy)
298.  Dino Risi                   (Italy)
299.  Arturo Ripstein          (Mexico)
300.  Glauber Rocha          (Brazil)
301.  Pen-ek-Ratanaruang  (Thailand)
302.  Godfrey Reggio          (USA)
303.  Marc Rappaport         (USA)
304.  Yvonne Rainer           (USA)
305.  George A. Romero    (USA)
306.  Mark Robson            (USA)
307.  Mervyn Le Roy          (USA)
308.  David O. Russell        (USA)

309.  Claude Sautet           (France)
310.  John Schlesinger       (UK) (USA)
311.  Ridley Scott             (UK) (USA)
312.  Volker Schlondorff   (Germany)
313.  Helke Sander           (Germany)
314.  Helma Sander-Brahms  (Germany)
315.  Werner Schroeter      (Germany)
316.  Hans-Jurgen Syberborg  (Germany)
317.  Carlos Saura               (Spain)
318.  Ettore Scola                (Italy)
319.  Mrinal Sen                  (India)
320.  Jerzy Skolimowski      (Poland)
321.  Alexander Sokurov     (Russia)
322.  Hong Sang-Soo          (South Korea)
323.  Walter Salles              (Brazil)
324.  Nelson Perreira dos Santos  (Brazil)
325.  Humberto Solas         (Cuba)
326.  Ousmane Sembene    (Senegal)
327.  Istvan Szabo              (Hungary)
328.  Alf Sjoberg                (Sweden)
329.  Michael Snow            (Canada)
330.  Shinji Somai               (Japan)
331.  Masahiro Shinoda      (Japan)
332.  Seijun Suzuki             (Japan)
333.  Kaneto Shindo           (Japan)
334.  Kevin Smith               (USA)
335.  Preston Sturges          (USA)
336.  Gus Van Sant             (USA)
337.  Todd Solondz            (USA)
338.  Robert Siodmark       (Germany) (USA)
339.  Douglas Sirk              (USA)
340.  Mark Sandrich           (USA)
341.  Steven Soderburgh     (USA)
342.  John Sayles                (USA)
343.  Paul Schrader             (USA)
344.  Oliver Stone               (USA)
345.  Jack Smith                  (USA)
346.  Don Siegel                  (USA)
347.  George Stevens          (USA)

348.  Andre Techine            (France)
349.  Bertrand Tavernier      (France)
350.  Margaret von Trotta    (Germany)
351.  Tom Tykwer               (Germany)
352.  Giuseppe Tornatore     (Italy)
353.  Vittorio and Paolo Taviani  (Italy)
354.  Lars von Trier              (Denmark)
355.  Alain Tanner                (Switzerland)
356.  Bela Tarr                     (Hungary)
357.  Johnny To                    (Hong Kong)
358.  Jan Gustaf Troell          (Sweden)
359.  Hiroshi Teshigahara      (Japan)
360.  Shuji Terayama            (Japan)
361.  Shinya Tsukamoto        (Japan)
362.  Frank Tashlin               (USA)
363.  Leslie Thornton            (USA)
364.  Jacques Tournuer         (USA)
365.  Quentin Tarantino         (USA)
366.  Andre de Toth              (USA)

367.  Tomu Uchida              (Japan)
368.  Edgar G. Ulmer           (USA)

369.  Agnes Varda               (France)
370.  Paul Verhoeven           (Holland) (USA)
371.  Frantisek Vlacil           (Czech Rep)
372.  Thomas Vinterberg      (Denmark)

373.  Michael Winterbottom   (UK)
374.  Peter Watkins               (UK)
375.  Wim Wenders              (Germany) (USA)
376.  Paul Wegener               (Germany)
377.  Andrzej Wajda             (Poland)
378.  Peter Weir                    (Australia) (USA)
379.  John Woo                    (Hong Kong) (USA)
380.  Wong Kar-Wei            (Hong Kong)
381.  Apichatpong Weerasethakul  (Thailand)
382.  Frederick Wiseman       (USA)
383.  John Waters                 (USA)
384.  Andy Warhol                (USA)
385.  Robert Wise                 (USA)
386.  William Wyler               (USA)
387.  Doris Wishman             (USA)
388.  James Whale                (USA)
389.  William A. Wellman      (USA)
390.  Sam Wood                   (USA)

391.  Wang Xiaoshuai          (China)

392.  Zhang Yimou              (China)
393.  Edward Yang             (Taiwan)
394.  Yoji Yamada              (Japan)

395.  Jia Zhangke               (China)
396.  Tian Zhuangzhuang    (China)
397.  Krzyosztof Zanussi    (Poland)
398.  Andrey Zvyagintsev   (Russia)
399.  Robert Zemeckis       (USA)
400.  Fred Zinnemann         (USA)


  1. Great list, and I commend the international coverage. Would be interesting to see what film is the epitome of achievement per director, if you were to chose only one or two for each.