For the record, great is too loaded a word when it comes to labeling filmmakers and is prone to cause arguments and wars. Let's just agree that the directors included in this informal documentary from Angela Ismailos are all iconoclasts, each with their own distinctive point of view. Along these same lines, the documentary is refreshingly more interested in failure than success, allowing for a clear headed discussion of politics and sex in film. If David Lynch had not failed with "Dune," then his career would have turned out very differently and the film world would be that much poorer, as he rues not having creative control on that film. The wild card here is Liliana Cavani whose films I am mostly unfamiliar with. I really liked "Ripley's Game" starring John Malkovich. Of "The Night Porter," I disagree that people disliked it because the main character is a Nazi and a villain. Rather, it is because the film is ambiguous about him in a sadomasochist kind of way. Plus, I am still not even remotely interested in seeing "The Queen."
The thing to remember here is that whenever somebody says they were the first to put something on film, somebody almost always got there before them. For example, this documentary brings up a fascinating looking 1982 documentary called "Room 666" which features interviews with directors of the time and is incredibly available on DVD. Even with the newsmagazine format of "Great Directors," Ismailos would have been better off learning something from her captivating subjects and stayed behind the camera, so as not to take away any attention from them.