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Most Important Director of the Aughts


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Where's when?

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

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Well, a favorites list would look much different. Still having trouble with that distinction. Good thing we have time to edit our entries. No documentarians, no animation directors:

Apitchatpong Weerasethakul (20)

Richard Linklater (15)

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (10)

Jia Zhangke (10)

Hou Hsiao-hsien (10)

Alexander Sokurov (10)

Michael Mann (5)

Jacques Rivette (5)

Andrew Bujalski (5)

Claire Denis (5)

Michael Haneke (5)

Edit: Swapped out Wes Anderson for Bujalski. Swapped out P.T. Anderson for Hou. The magnificent Andersons.

Edited by MLeary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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My updated list:

Dardennes 20

PT Anderson 15

Wes Anderson 15

Steven Soderbergh 10

Tim Burton 10

Guillermo Del Toro 10

Hayao Miyazaki 5

Paul Greengrass 5

Christopher Nolan 5

Michel Gondry 5

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Matt Zoller Seitz is writing a 10-part series on "the most important directors of the 2000s".

First up: Michael Bay.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Matt Zoller Seitz is writing a 10-part series on "the most important directors of the 2000s".

First up: Michael Bay.

I think the distinction needs to be made, and why Michael Bay ought to be considered: just because you are not the BEST director, doesn't mean that they aren't the MOST IMPORTANT director. As it stands, Bay's bombastic style seems to be one of the most imitated, and "The Island" notwithstanding, the type of director that most movie studios are looking to best imitate. You can see hints of Bay in any film that reveres explosions and hyper-active editing sequences over, um, story. And while this is not a positive development, it's one of the most distinctive developments over the last ten, twenty years.

I will also add this: it's hard work being a director. It's even harder work considering the amount of balls that Bay has proven to be able to juggle--actors, special effects, sound effects, cinematography, editing, and still craft a piece of populist entertainment that flows and provides enough excitement for return audiences. And I say this loathing _Armageddon_ with all my being, and too discerning to catch _Pearl Harbor_ and _Transformers II_. (I did like _The Island_ and _Transformers I_, however, and, in counting the 90s, I still really really really really like _The Rock_).

Nick

Nick Alexander

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Nick Alexander wrote:

: I think the distinction needs to be made, and why Michael Bay ought to be considered: just because you are not the BEST director, doesn't mean that they aren't the MOST IMPORTANT director.

Yeah, it's kind of like how Time magazine has always said that their "Man of the Year" designation is not meant to indicate who was the best human being on the planet during the year in question, but simply who was newsworthiest.

: As it stands, Bay's bombastic style seems to be one of the most imitated, and "The Island" notwithstanding, the type of director that most movie studios are looking to best imitate.

I am particularly intrigued by Zoller Seitz's suggestion that the Bourne movies, directed by Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass, are just grittier versions of Michael Bay movies, in a way, due to their frenetic activity and hyperactive editing.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Godard was a hard one, as In Praise of Love and Our Music may well be my favorite of his. But then, there isn't anything in these two films that you can't find either in the 60's or 80's, which are arguably his most important decades. On the other hand, I included Rivette in the above initial list because his two from this decade are also my favorite of his. Go figure.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

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Matt Zoller Seitz is writing a 10-part series on "the most important directors of the 2000s".

First up: Michael Bay.

And now, "the sensualists", i.e. David Lynch, Terrence Malick, Michael Mann, Wong Kar-wai and Hou Hsiao-hsien.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Dang it, if only Malick had delivered THIS year, he'd have been in.

Tentatively:

Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne - 20

Hou Hsiao-hsien - 20

Michael Haneke - 15

Paul Thomas Anderson - 10

Jia Zhang-ke - 10

Hayao Miyazaki - 5

Laurent Cantet - 5

Sofia Coppola - 5

Lars Von Trier - 5

Nuri Bilge Ceylan - 5

Hard to leave out Lynch and Linklater and Mann and Kore-eda and Wong Kar-wai and Anderson and Stanton. And if I'd seen more by Assayas, I'd be inclined to include him, because Summer Hours was so beautiful.

Edited by Overstreet

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Jeff, it killed me to not include Hou Hsiao-hsien in my list. I rewatched CAFE LUMIERE last weekend for the first time in five years and was blown away by it again. I'm still not sure how to define "important" here, but Hou's films were more groundbreaking in the '80s and more ambitious in the '90s. He'd probably come in right behind Denis on my list of "favorites," though.

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Ah see, JO included an animator. No fair!

I had exactly the same issue with Hou. A favorite for sure, but can someone articulate how important he is other than as an auteur that perpetuates some very classic modes of filmmaking while at the same time pushing back on them a bit to allow for thicker descriptions of his characters?

I guess one could argue that Red Balloon is an important reflection on French Cinema, especially in all the little criticisms he embodies in the film's student filmmaker. And then Cafe Lumiere very effectively meditates on a different pool of cinema. Hou has made two films that engage the history and criticism of cinema every bit as well as Godard's two from this decade. I also considered Guerin and Ceylan simply because there is such a gratifying sense of place in their cinema, but Hou even rivals Guerin with all of his architectural interludes, not to mention his use of windows and mirrors that Ceylan toyed with in Distant.

Okay, I may be convinced here.

Edited by MLeary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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I chose Hou for the way his style encouraged both a deepening appreciation of Ozu and, at the same time, an evolution of Ozu's style (Cafe Lumiere), the way he considered generational contrasts more ambitiously (Three Times), and the way he brought that style out of his comfort zone and gave us a whole new view of Paris. He's a moving target, expanding his range and asking new questions.]

Um... are animators out? Hmm. [scrolling back to review the rules]

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Um... are animators out? Hmm. [scrolling back to review the rules]

They aren't, I just couldn't imagine making a top ten list that included animators and documentary people.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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Um... are animators out? Hmm. [scrolling back to review the rules]

They aren't, I just couldn't imagine making a top ten list that included animators and documentary people.

I couldn't imagine not considering them. I'm not sure if any will wind up on my expanded list of 10, but I think they're definitely worthy of looking at. In fact, now that we've moved to 2 films... Andrew Stanton springs to my mind as someone I'll be thinking about for Finding Nemo and WALL-E.

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
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"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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but I think they're definitely worthy of looking at.

Yes, that is the problem. I am having enough trouble without having to think about Landreth, Stanton/Bird, Paley, Miyazaki or Morris, Varda, Moore, Folman, etc... That just makes it all geometrically tougher for me.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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but I think they're definitely worthy of looking at.

Yes, that is the problem. I am having enough trouble without having to think about Landreth, Stanton/Bird, Paley, Miyazaki or Morris, Varda, Moore, Folman, etc... That just makes it all geometrically tougher for me.

I had an animator in my list: Satoshi Kon, best known for Paprika, though he's done some other great work this decade. I put him ahead of Miyazaki because, other than Spirited Away, I haven't been a big fan of his "aught" movies.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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but I think they're definitely worthy of looking at.

Yes, that is the problem. I am having enough trouble without having to think about Landreth, Stanton/Bird, Paley, Miyazaki or Morris, Varda, Moore, Folman, etc... That just makes it all geometrically tougher for me.

I had an animator in my list: Satoshi Kon, best known for Paprika, though he's done some other great work this decade. I put him ahead of Miyazaki because, other than Spirited Away, I haven't been a big fan of his "aught" movies.

I considered Kon for my own list. TOKYO GODFATHERS is my favorite animated film of the decade. I'm not quite sure why I cut him from the list. Maybe I'll revise my list and put him on there...

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I thought about him too. I thought Millennium Actress was interesting, but I thought Paprika really took animation forward. I need to see more.

I want a DC-Mini for Christmas.

but I think they're definitely worthy of looking at.

Yes, that is the problem. I am having enough trouble without having to think about Landreth, Stanton/Bird, Paley, Miyazaki or Morris, Varda, Moore, Folman, etc... That just makes it all geometrically tougher for me.

I had an animator in my list: Satoshi Kon, best known for Paprika, though he's done some other great work this decade. I put him ahead of Miyazaki because, other than Spirited Away, I haven't been a big fan of his "aught" movies.

I considered Kon for my own list. TOKYO GODFATHERS is my favorite animated film of the decade. I'm not quite sure why I cut him from the list. Maybe I'll revise my list and put him on there...

Tokyo Godfathers was fun. I really liked Paranoia Agent, the 9-episode anime series he directed a few years ago, too.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
Twitter Blog

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