Great Directors: Movie Review
Rainer, Peter, The Christian Science Monitor
'Great Directors' brings the likes of Bertolucci and Lynch out from behind the camera to talk technique.
Movie actors are notoriously inarticulate about their craft, but what
about movie directors? If the documentary "Great Dir-ectors" is any
indication, the returns are a bit more promising.
Director Angela Is-mailos set out to do more than simply interview
10 acclaimed international directors. She sought to celebrate them.
Her lineup of filmmakers is eclectic but, at least in Ismailos's
view, they share a cutting-edge psychosocial sensibility. Her honor
roll: Bernardo Bertolucci, David Lynch, Stephen Frears, Agnes Varda,
Ken Loach, Liliana Cavani, Todd Haynes, Cath-erine Breillat,
Rich-ard Linklater, and John Sayles.
A number of these directors are, for me, either minor, such as
Cavani (whose Nazi fantasia "The Night Porter," with Dirk Bogarde and
Charlotte Rampling, is an inadvertent camp classic) or, like
Breillat, somewhat unfamiliar. Loach, the British social realist, has
never been a big favorite of mine. The strong-arm politicking in his
movies often subverts their humanity.
There's a revealing moment in "Great Directors" when Ismailos,
strolling with Loach through what looks like an ornate garden estate,
is reminded by him that this is a movie location and not his own
grounds. Just in case we in the audience thought he was profiting
from his films.
Her interview with Sayles, who in some respects is an American
Loach, is much more open-ended, perhaps because, on occasion, he has
also been an actor. (He's also been a novelist and short-story
writer, something that Ismailos doesn't bring up, though she does get
into his sideline career as a Hollywood screenwriter/script doctor
for hire on everything from "Piranha" to "Jurassic Park.") Speaking
of his coal miner film "Matewan," Sayles notes that: "In America,
there is a class system and we don't want to talk about it."
Frears is an interesting case, and a good talker. …