Great Directors - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Great Directors Reviews

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August 26, 2016
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.
½ September 30, 2015
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.
August 3, 2015
Great Directors is a simple, but interesting documentary about great filmmakers
March 10, 2015
Pretentious in parts (I was half waiting for Paul Whitehouse to pop his head in an ask us to go for a pint). Always good to see female directors but was here representation proportional? Interesting to hear filmmakers chat anywayssssss.
February 16, 2015
Too much European bullshit, but interesting otherwise.
Super Reviewer
½ October 28, 2014
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.
April 4, 2014
It's a shame that you got 10 great directors together and it was absolutely boring. One, they were completely different from each other that you couldn't get a rhythm. and two, you really didn't learn anything that you wouldn't have gotten from watching one of their films. Huge disappointment. and the fact that Mrs Ismailos was ever seen was a big distractment.
February 18, 2014
Superb editing. Every statement from each director was fresh and flowed beautifully. I wouldn't change a thing. It has inspired me.
June 7, 2013
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Harlequin68
Super Reviewer
October 20, 2012
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.
August 28, 2012
Interesting, but not profound. First problem is that many of the chosen "great" directors are not great, more like semi-famous, and in the cases of David Lynch (since 1997 at least) and Catherine Breillat, mere purveyors of pretentious crap. Where were the true greats (alive in 2009): Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, the Coen Brothers, Quentin Tarantino, Christopher Nolan, Clint Eastwood, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, among others?

Interviewer / narrator is a tad self-indulgent too.
June 13, 2012
While the directors being interviewed have really interesting things to say, Angela Ismailos is a slightly awkward interviewer, and the structure is strange with shots of her that don't really fit with the flow of the documentary. She uses some really great examples from a large number of films though. It isn't near as good as it could have been with its fantastic list of directors.
flixsterman
Super Reviewer
½ April 1, 2012
No disrespect to Anela Ismailos, but how could anyone interview the likes of David Lynch and John Sayles and Catherine Breillat and not have an interesting documentary?
January 1, 2012
Some interesting comments by a variety of interesting directors but the whole thing seems kind of random and arbitrary. I suppose if I had the money to do so (as Angela Ismailos apparently does) making a film like this would be a good excuse to spend some time with people I admire.
August 22, 2011
One flaw is that Ismailos herself is not a particularly great director, and she takes a while to decide upon an editing strategy: the first half-hour is frustratingly piecemeal, and only when the film begins to bring its subjects into dialogue with one another does "Great Directors" come to spark... Ismailos at least knows when she has valuable textual analysis on her hands - Bertolucci is mercifully self-aware on the overriding glumness of "Last Tango in Paris", and John Sayles nails in under a minute of screen time everything that was wrong with Mel Gibson's "The Patriot" - and she busily stitches in clips from works someone badly needs to get back into general circulation: Breillat's "A Real Young Girl" and "36 Fillette", Loach's mid-80s documentary output (presumably set to form a part of the BFI's autumn retrospective), Sayles' "Matewan" and "City of Hope". It'll make a useful primer for students in noteworthy filmmakers, and why one should watch their output, even if it suffers from trying to cram too much into too short a space of time - Mark Cousins would once have been able to give us a considered hour with each one of these directors.
May 29, 2011
Some interesting comments by a variety of interesting directors but the whole thing seems kind of random and arbitrary. I suppose if I had the money to do so making a film like this would be a good excuse to spend some time with people I admire.
½ February 6, 2011
Ten Great Directors, ten points of view about the comment of film on society both past and present. This engaging documentary sheds personal light on influences, studio pressures and political commentary amongst other things that will be of interest to all fans of quality cinema.
½ February 6, 2011
Ten Great Directors, ten points of view about the comment of film on society both past and present. This engaging documentary sheds personal light on influences, studio pressures and political commentary amongst other things that will be of interest to all fans of quality cinema.
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