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This is a list of filmmakers that have inspired and influenced me personally and that I consider instrumental to my love of film: Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Akira Kurosawa, Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, Jean-luc Godard, Michael Haneke, Roman Polanski, Francis Ford Coppola, Paul Thomas Anderson, Sidney Lumet, Gus Van Sant, Joel & Ethan Coen, Spike Lee, Francois Truffaut, Christopher Nolan, Wim Wenders, Elia Kazan, David Lean, Woody Allen, Steven Spielberg, Darren Aronofsky, David Fincher, Ridley Scott, Michael Mann, Orson Welles, Tim Burton, Clint Eastwood, Wes Anderson, Guy Ritchie, Danny Boyle, James Cameron, Quentin Tarantino, Nicolas Winding Refn, Vittorio De Sica, Quentin Tarantino, Nicolas Winding Refn, Steve McQueen and others. Below are films that helped inspire me to become a filmmaker and that I consider to be of the upmost importance for my introduction and following of Criterion.
Undoubtedly one of the most technically, stylistically and subjectively innovative films ever made. This is Kurosawa at his absolute best bringing his actors to their apex of their form. Mifune is magnificent as is Shimura as the emotionally devastated woodcutter. This could easily be in my top ten, and was monumental for me personally because I had really never seen a foreign film in this context (I saw "Amelie" when I was younger). A masterpiece. There is so much I could say about this film but I would never stop!
Certainly Bergman's most iconic and influential film he ever made, and rivals his best such as "Wild Strawberries" and "Persona". Like many masters, Bergman never had one but multiple masterpieces - few filmmakers had a career as accomplished as his:Kubrick, Kurosawa, Fellini, Godard and Hitchcock come to mind. Sydow gives one of his best performances as a beaten soldier hardened by the savage nature of man and his quarrel with death is nothing short of cinematic perfection!
There has never been a film more elaborate, self-reflective, analytical or well-crafted than Fellini's 1963 masterpiece on the process of film. It only rivals Fellini's other surrealist masterpiece "La Dolce Vita" as his best film, and in some ways "8 1/2" is technically superior to that film. There are few things more grand and hypnotic than the finale of Guido and his cast and crew when things come "full circle".
Sophomore year of high school was a significant year for me, one of the reasons particularly because I had introduced myself to foreign film. When I saw films like "Rashomon", "Ran" and this it was no longer "foreign" to me. This is a masterpiece, it's odd - because every film Godard made in the sixties not just reflected and changed the times but forshadowed what's to come. This along with "Breathless" is probably his most accessible, and how can you not fall in love with Anna Karina in this film!
Of all the films Kubrick made, all the masterpieces - "2001: A Space Odyssey" is his best, of his films on The Criterion Collection "Paths of Glory" reigns supreme. That war sequence where Douglas and his men try to take the hill, is one of the best in history (and easily inspired Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" D-Day sequence). That final scene where the German captive girl (Kubrick's wife Christiane) sings that song could break even the hardest of hearts. Kubrick supposedly never considered the film "anti-war" but "anti-authoritarian ignorance", which make sense looking back upon the picture.