The Ten: Best Directors of All Time Relay Race

Nostra over at My Film Views has been circulating a number of The Ten memes, lists that get past along from blog to blog, each person removing one name and adding another. The latest of which is Best Directors of all time.

Or, as Nostra himself describes it: “So what’s the idea behind the relay? I’ve created a list of what I think are the ten best directors. At the end of the post I, just like in a real relay race, hand over the baton to another blogger who will write his own post. This blogger will have to remove one director (that is an obligation) and add his own choice and describe why he/she did this. At the end the blogger chooses another blogger to do the same. We will end up with a list (not ranked in order) which represents a common agreement of the best directors. If you are following the relay race it is also a great way to be introduced to new blogs!”

Steve from 1001Plus passed the list off to me.

The contributors so far:

My Film Views (Created the original list of 10: Alfred Hitchcock, Quentin Tarantino, Stanley Kubrick, Steven Spielberg, Hayao Miyazaki, Darren Aronofsky, Martin Scorsese, Joel and Ethan Coen, Akira Kurosawa, Christopher Nolan)
My Southern Vision (Removed Nolan, added Krzysztof Kieslowski)
And So it Begins (Removed Aronofsky, added Ingmar Bergman)
Surrender to the Void (Removed Spielberg, added Lars von Trier)
Cinematic Paradox (Removed von Trier, added Paul Thomas Anderson)
Defiant Success (Removed Kieslowski, added Sidney Lumet)
…let’s be splendid about this (Removed Tarantino, added Abbas Kiarostami)
1001Plus (Removed Paul Thomas Anderson, added Billy Wilder)

Here’s the current list:

Ingmar Bergman

Joel and Ethan Coen

Alfred Hitchcock

Abbas Kiarostami

Akira Kurosawa

Stanley Kubrick

Sidney Lumet

Hayao Miyazaki

Martin Scorsese

Billy Wilder

As far as my removal, this was a fairly easy decision. While I’m iffy on a couple of directors, there are two that stand out as directors I’ve never gotten along well with. Both Ingmar Bergman and Billy Wilder are two directors who rub me the wrong way. However, of the two, Billy Wilder is the one who I find myself most perturbed against. He’s made some movies I’d admit are good, but I’m honestly underwhelmed by a lot of his “classics.”

Don’t even get me started on his comedies, which I find just as crass and exploitative as the raunchy R-rated comedies of today. His noir offers some strong technical direction, but I find those stories lacking. I do have a love for The Apartment but it’s the one film of the handful of his I’ve seen that I’d consider revisiting, while all the other directors on this list have a number of films I’d consider rewatching.

As far as who I will add into the mix, I thought about being cliche and adding my man Terrence Malick, or controversial and throwing Leni Riefenstahl into the mix. Ultimately, I decided that we needed some silent film love and went with the master of the silent era: F.W. Murnau.

From his masterpiece Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans to his egregiously overlooked City Girl, Murnau crafted magnificent looking films with touching romances. Also important for pushing the moving camera and long take as a technical feat and a stylistic feature in his film The Last Laugh. And his Nosferatu still stands as one of the most expressive and chilling horror films ever made.

With this new addition, I will be passing the list to Bill Thompson at Bill’s Movie Emporium.