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Great Directors

Released Jul 2, 2010 1h 26m Documentary List
66% Tomatometer 38 Reviews 43% Audience Score 500+ Ratings Filmmaker Angela Ismailos has conversations with 10 of the world's most renowned directors, soliciting their point of view about the creative process and the context of their work in the contemporary world. Among those interviewed are Bernardo Bertolucci, Agnes Varda, Ken Loach, David Lynch and Todd Haynes, who trace the origins of their art to the influence of their predecessors -- Lynch credits Fellini, and, for Haynes' outsider cinema, the work of Rainer Werner Fassbinder plays a role. Read More Read Less
Great Directors

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Critics Consensus

Great Directors spreads itself too thin by focusing on 10 different filmmakers, but the thin overview still provides an intriguing primer for audiences who aren't already familiar with the profession.

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Critics Reviews

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Catherine Shoard Guardian You'd learn more just watching one of their films. Rated: 2/5 Mar 31, 2011 Full Review Sukhdev Sandhu Daily Telegraph (UK) In the end, The Great Directors is neither a manual nor a toolkit, but a miscellany that needs to be a monograph. Rated: 2/5 Mar 31, 2011 Full Review J. R. Jones Chicago Reader Though her choice of interview subjects is so random and the discourse so broad that this 2009 documentary never really arrives anywhere... it delights from start to finish and then evaporates. Jan 27, 2011 Full Review Robert W. Butler Kansas City Star This is one of the best movies ever about film directors. Rated: 3.5/4 Sep 23, 2010 Full Review Ray Greene Boxoffice Magazine It's flawed, but it beats the veiled promo films we usually get about the inner workings of cinematic creation. Rated: 3/5 Aug 27, 2010 Full Review Chris Hewitt St. Paul Pioneer Press A better title for Great Directors would be Good Directors Who Returned My Calls. Rated: 1/4 Aug 6, 2010 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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Audience Member An okay documentary that interviews a bevy of talented directors and doesn't have a whole lot to say about them since so many of them are covered. No film can be bad that spends a good deal of time talking to David Lynch about his work, but so many of these directors are given too little time to say anything of serious interest about their work and career. Worth a look, but temper expectations appropriately. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/01/23 Full Review Audience Member B+ I expected an entire movie about great directors talking about how film has changed the world. What I got was a female director interviewing only ten of those directors. But despite the fact that I want more voices and more directors, everything these directors say is great and inspiring. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/15/23 Full Review Audience Member Great Directors is a simple, but interesting documentary about great filmmakers Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/25/23 Full Review Audience Member Too much European bullshit, but interesting otherwise. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/09/23 Full Review Audience Member Gathering together directors from different milieus and merging their interviews into one film sounds great, but with ineffectual editing and not enough variety in your directors, what you get is this documentary. Director Angela Ismailos travelled the world interviewing directors for, what she calls, clarity in her own film endeavors. It's a very apparent vanity project, which often finds Ismailos edited into the interviews for no apparent reason, so she can give her two cents. Throughout the film I kept thinking, "Why is she onscreen? We don't care about her!" The directors she assembled were an interesting selection, including David Lynch, Todd Haynes, Liliana Cavani, Catherine Breillat, and Bernardo Bertolucci. For the length of the film, and all it covered, it would have been better to see even more directors talk about their films, or else have a narrative within the framework of the documentary to explain bigger concepts. Ismailos lets these people ramble on about aspects of their lives without a clear reason, and so it feels incoherent and dull. The interviews deal in obscurity, gender politics, New Wave cinema, and indie fare, but don't coalesce at any point. We don't learn anything about the directors as people or much about their work, only anecdotes better put to use as blurbs in an online profile in Variety. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/11/23 Full Review Audience Member The only reason to see this film is because of the significant nuggets of wisdom embedded in the interviews of this strangely disparate group of directors: Bernardo Bertolucci, Catherine Breillat, Liliana Cavani, Stephen Frears, Todd Haynes, Richard Linklater, Ken Loach, David Lynch, John Sayles, and Agnès Varda. Angela Ismailos, the director, is, unfortunately, nothing more than a wealthy dilettante (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/01/fashion/01close.html?_r=0) who has managed to parlay her connections and money into access to these filmmakers. The movie is filled with far too many shots of her, whether she is walking in black & white slo-mo through abstract landscapes or talking with her subjects (including her many reaction shots). It's a vanity project, and she is not even capable of asking interesting questions, since she clearly doesn't have the film knowledge to allow her to do so. Why these particular filmmakers, and why present them in this particular order? And why only ask them about certain movies (for example, Bertolucci never even mentions "The Conformist," the film that put him on the international map! If you get the DVD, skip the actual movie and watch the bonus-feature interviews with each director. If I rate the film higher than my above comments might warrant, it's because not even Ms. Ismailos can ruin the wealth of information pouring from the mouths of the artists. Rated 2.5 out of 5 stars 02/01/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Great Directors

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Cast & Crew

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Movie Info

Synopsis Filmmaker Angela Ismailos has conversations with 10 of the world's most renowned directors, soliciting their point of view about the creative process and the context of their work in the contemporary world. Among those interviewed are Bernardo Bertolucci, Agnes Varda, Ken Loach, David Lynch and Todd Haynes, who trace the origins of their art to the influence of their predecessors -- Lynch credits Fellini, and, for Haynes' outsider cinema, the work of Rainer Werner Fassbinder plays a role.
Director
Angela Ismailos
Screenwriter
Emma Segal
Distributor
Paladin
Production Co
Anisma Films
Genre
Documentary
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Jul 2, 2010, Limited
Release Date (Streaming)
Sep 1, 2016
Box Office (Gross USA)
$17.9K
Runtime
1h 26m