18 Jul The Luminary Top 5: Greatest Film Directors
Greetings from your favorite Miami film production peeps and Miami video production company! Like any other self-proclaimed artists, workers within the video production field, Miami film production insiders, cinema aficionados, we’ve been inspired by many film directors throughout our careers who have motivated us to reach deeper within ourselves to excel at and develop our craft. In honor of those auteurs, those brilliant minds in cinema that have pushed the envelope and opened up new pathways of creative expression in our medium, we’ve compiled this list/homage to our 5 favorite film directors, in the latest installment of the “Luminary Top 5.” Enjoy, and make sure to let us know what you think in the comments section below!
#5 FEDERICO FELLINI
Mentioning Italian Cinema without mentioning Federico Fellini is like someone mastering classical piano and not knowing how to play a Chopin piece. This man was a cinematic genius to say the least. He loved directing his actors so much you’ll notice his films were obviously ADR’d (film slang for overdubbed) because he was directing the talent as they performed their scenes and even voiced their dialogue. It’s hard to watch a Fellini film and not be conscious of the fact that you are watching something special; a work of art that is being studied at all the top film schools. His ability to be experimental yet never come off as pretentious is something that is so rare, particularly these days.
Most of the time, when a film enters an experimental segment, you feel uneasy and even doubt your intellect, but the truth is you’re most likely watching art for the sake of art, not something that can be dissected to actually contain layer after layer of significance as well as be a necessary tool to carry the story forward and add dimensions to the emotional subtext of the narrative. Oh, and did we mention he was nominated for 12 Oscars? Yeah, a Foreign Film Director.
Top 3 Fellini: #3: La Strada; #2: La Dolce Vita; #1: 8 1/2.
#4 DAVID FINCHER
The director responsible for kidnapping our souls and never returning them. That’s right. From the moment we watched Fight Club, all the things we loved, all our passions and hobbies had been completely replaced with a love for cinema. What’s funny is that we don’t even think that movie is even one of his best (as you’ll see in the list below). We don’t believe there is a more consistent director to have ever yelled ACTION. This guy began his career making successful music video after successful music video. Madonna, Michael Jackson, Nine Inch Nails, Aerosmith, you name it… Then he makes a pretty bad Alien sequel and after that it’s pretty much hit after hit. Yes, we’re going to pretend Panic Room never happened.
He is even the mastermind behind one of the greatest TV series to have ever hit our living rooms (or laptops. Or iphones?) – House of Cards. Fincher’s photographic palette is instantly recognizable and the trivia behind his films are some of the most intriguing you’ll ever hear. He’s notorious for doing an absurd amount of takes and even having brought his Girl with the Dragon Tattoo star, Rooney Mara, to tears in her first major role in his film The Social Network. Rumor is he had her repeat the scene so many times, she had a nervous breakdown. Talk about having an unhealthy amount of passion for what you do.
Top 3 Fincher: #3: Zodiac; #2: The Social Network; #1: Seven.
#3 MARTIN SCORSESE
This is the man who brought Robert De Niro to Baby boomers and Leonardo DiCaprio to Millenials. The guy who brought us Taxi Driver. The guy who shot Raging Bull. The GOD who shot Goodfellas. We don’t even know what the point is of blogging about a director who is actually a household name, something that is extremely rare for that title. Is he as famous as Spielberg? Probably not. But that’s only because he dealt in subject matters that for many years were considered taboo. He took the stigma behind the mafia and injected it into a crucial part of American history and paved the way for the groundbreaking show that was The Sopranos. We know what you’re thinking: what about The Godfather? I will always see The Godfather as almost Shakespearean- an untouchable film that transcends beyond the limitations of the filmmaking medium.
But what Scorsese did was accurately document the true crime stories of the mafia in a stylistic way that was not only entertaining but could basically be held responsible for the Italian mob stereotype we all know today (not saying that’s a good thing). But it’s not just his eye for gangster films that has given him the title he deserves, he has also been able to paint pictures of wall street corruption and make iconic period pieces like The Aviator and Gangs of New York. He even nailed the independent film genre with his highly underrated Bringing Out the Dead and directed one of the great dark comedies in The King of Comedy. His camera movements and blocking have been one of the most copied directing techniques to date and his fast cuts and musical choices put other films to shame.
Top 3 Scorsese: #3: Goodfellas; #2: Taxi Driver; #1: Raging Bull.
#2 ALFRED HITCHCOCK
What to say about Hitchcock? Where does one begin? This genius is hands down the most influential director in film history. I am stating that as a fact. Never has a filmmaker been able to capture so much emotion by just using a camera. Hitchcock’s camera is like Plato’s brain. It’s Shakespeare’s language. No one can control a scene like Alfred Hitchcock. With a background in directing commercials (why do you think I do it?), this man knew how to sell a product. In his eyes, that product was disturbing at times. He shocked audiences all around the world and his name is synonymous with suspense. He once said in reference to other films of his day that if you were a housewife
and you went to the movie theater to escape your daily chores and had to sit for 2 hours watching a housewife doing her daily chores, there would be nothing there for you. Instead, if you showed that very housewife a murder, she would be entertained. Disturbed, but still entertained. This is clearly an artist who had a very serious psychological understanding of what makes a person jump out of their seat. To this day, his craftsmanship of the genre is absolutely unmatched, and if you witness something that comes close, it is most likely made by a very apt pupil of his works.
Top 3 Hitchcock: #3: Dial ‘M’ for Murder; #2: Rope; #1: Vertigo.
#1 STANLEY KUBRICK
The GOAT. Our biggest inspiration in anything. The man who inspired us to enter the world of Miami film production. The most well-rounded director on this list and on any list for that matter. The gap between him and every other filmmaker in history is about as wide as the sun is bright. He could compose a scene about two people playing chess on a rainy day with no dialogue and somehow find a way to have taken you to another dimension within our universe, somewhere only the greats can ever take you. He is responsible for the most influential Sci-fi film ever created. Every single movie that has taken place in space has paid homage to it. Kubrick’s use of cinematography, editing and music in unison is something that has been and will be studied for as long as film is considered an art form. One thing that we think makes Kubrick extremely unique when compared to other directors is his thorough understanding of photography, not just as a form of expression, but as a science.
He began his career as a photographer and carried that skill with him until his last breath. He had an interesting outlook on human civilization and was an extremely well-read individual. Unfortunately, we never got to see what could have been the greatest film possible ever, his film on Napoleon, but the script is out there for anyone to read and imagine what could have been. We could write a book on what makes him the greatest director of all-time but you probably haven’t even gotten this far into our blog post, what makes you think you’d read the book? Anyway. I can’t possibly make a Top 3 list for Kubrick so I will make a Top 5.
Top 5 Kubrick: #5: Paths of Glory; #4: Barry Lyndon; #3: A Clockwork Orange; #2: Dr. Strangelove; #1: 2001: A Space Odyssey