Saturday, February 21, 2009

Director list

Entertainment Weekly has a list of the Top 50 Active directors working today.

Please note that - even though they don't say it directly - this list is really a Hollywood 'power list'. These are the directors who define mainstream cinema and bring in the bucks. That's why few really good foreign language directors such as Hou Hsiao-hsien, Alexander Sukorov, Patrice Leconte, Clair Denis or Werner Herzog manage to not even make it into the top 50.

Women are missing, which is in some part because they are still not invited to the table with the big boys. That said, Sofia Coppola makes it but Katherine Bigelow doesn't.

But one should also note that even among this power list Jon Favreau #25 edges past Woody Allen #26. What? A director who has made 2 good films in 6 years is in front of a director who has made a good film [and some great ones] every year for the past 26 years?

James Cameron makes the top ten despite the fact that he hasn't made a film in 13 years. Huh? I guess The Titanic gives him a free ride for a lifetime? May as well throw Francis Coppola or William Freidkin on there too.
I also had to look three times at the overall top 50 because I could scarcely believe Gus Van Sant didn't make the list.

I'll acknowledge that any list they come out with will raise heckles from some quarter. And, after all, they are Entertainment Weekly - not Film Comment or Sight & Sound so anything not aligned with Hollywood mainstream would seem to go against their base. But then again maybe they just make these lists to provoke us? Because if they think we are supposed to take it seriously then they would make a serious list.

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