Monday, December 5, 2011

Never Made a Sucky Film
















The list of 'world's greatest filmmakers' is HUGE. Ask anyone about their favourite film director, and the most probable names to pop out would be Spielberg, Scorsese, Nolan, Kubrick, Kurosawa, Satyajit Ray and Guru Dutt. The more jaded film lovers would answer Haneke, Kieslowski, the Korean masters (Park Chan Wook, Bong Joon Ho, Kim ji Woon, Kim ki Duk), the Japanese legends (Takashi Miike, Takeshi Kitano) etc.  

It's a vast canvas. But ask yourself, how many directors have a PERFECT track record? Legends like Fellini, Hitchcock, Wilder, Ford, Spielberg, de Palma, Lumet, Peckinpah, Tarantino have made at least one stinker. How many directors have a filmography which doesn't contain even a single disappointment? Let's narrow it down to such folks, who've made a minimum of four films.

Chris Nolan - the obvious first choice. Every film of his, from Memento to The Dark Knight has been excellent. Even those who doubted him for Insomnia became a devotee post The Dark Knight and Inception.

Park Chan-wook - Every single product made by this man is a masterpiece. His 'worst' movie, I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK carries a paltry 90 percent on RottenTomatoes.

Paul Thomas Anderson - With just five films, all of different genres - Hard 8, Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch Drunk Love and There will be Blood, PT Anderson is well on his way to becoming the modern Kubrick.

Stanley Kubrick - He was someone who obsessively fussed over details, and it shows in his glowing filmography. Even his last film, Eyes Wide Shut, despite not being a masterwork was still pretty good.

Terrence Malick - Makes movies every ten years, makes sure it's an extraordinary experience for the audience each time. Those who've been recently converted as Malicktards post Tree Of Life would agree.

Darren Aronofsky - Pi, Requiem for a dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler,  Black Swan - all examples of filmmaking of a very high order. Despite the fact that Black Swan was a ripoff of Perfect Blue.

Alejandro González Iñárritu - I doubt that he'd ever make a bad movie. Considering how powerful Amores perros, 21 Grams, Babel and Biutiful are.

Sam Mendes - One of the few current generation filmmakers who jumps genres with every movie yet churns out tour de force gems each time. His weakest film to date Jarhead too teems with layers that seldom exist in Hollywood war films.

Hayao Miyazaki - The legendary filmmaker of Studio Ghibli ties with Pixar for making the highest quality movies in the world. Every film of his has been pure artistic magic, and his recent Ponyo is no exception.

Bong Joon-ho- One of the Korean giants who shot to fame with the magnificent Memories of Murder has been consistently making great cinema. His last film Madeo was even better, if not as good as MOM.

Kim Ji-woon - Yet another Korean maestro who knows how to dislocate your jaw with sheer imagery. All his feature films from The Quiet Family to I saw the devil have been extraordinary. Even in the disappointing horror trilogy Three, his short film Memories was outstanding.

Edgar Wright - Perhaps the most surprising addition to this list. But he's made a name for himself with such excellent films as Shaun of the dead, Hot Fuzz and most recently Scott Pilgrim.

Krzysztof Kieślowski - The granddaddy of them all. With rich, sublime work ranging from the powerful Decalogue to the beautiful Three Colors trilogy, Kieślowski achieved what even Kurosawa couldn't - a spotless filmography and a spot on this list.

Update: Jean-Pierre Melville, Andrei Tarkovsky, Orson Welles, Alexander Payne, Emir Kusturica, Asghar Farhadi - Rightly suggested by Saheer Iqbal, Low Funda Boy, ravi_ki_rand, Varun Grover, ronty023 respectively.


Notable Disqualifications

Ethan and Joel Coen  - The grandmasters of killing characters beautifully. They've been making movies since 1984, and still haven't made a dirty picture. The Ladykillers is their albatross,and that alone disqualifies them from this list.

Sergio Leone - His first film Il Colosso di Rodi was a failure.

Vishal Bharadwaj and Anurag Kashyap - Both command colossal cults and fan following. But their latest films 7KM and TGIYB weren't universally acclaimed.

Danny Boyle - Nine out of the ten films he has made are absolutely marvelous. The one that disqualifies him from this list is The Beach. 

Akira Kurosawa - Dodesukaden is the only truly bad movie Kurosawa has made, and that alone doesn't get him to the list.

Wong Kar Wai - Apart from My Blueberry Nights, all his films are very fascinating.

Satyajit Ray - An illustrious career marred by a few hiccups like Ashani Sanket.

Guru Dutt - The Orson Welles of India made a stinker too. It was called Baaz. (Thanks to Pavan Jha for the link)

Quentin Tarantino: Two words - Death Proof.

Can you name some more filmmakers who boast a flawless filmography? Think some of the names don't deserve to be in the list? Send in your entries (and reasons) in the comments below.


149 comments:

  1. That girl in yellow boots is very good movie, don't know what you mean by universally acclaimed? Commercial success? I haven't read a bad review of the movie. Did you even see the movie?

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  2. Jason Rietman ? - Thankyou for smoking, Juno, Up in the Air?

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  3. You forgot Brad Bird, and Andrew Stanton

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  4. "Following"? Nolan & I doubt you got Ray's "Ashani Sanket" properly.

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  5. Hopefully Gaspard Noe will join this list after he has completed his 4th movie.

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  6. @Appy 'Great Expectations' was a stinker.

    @SilentShouts @shabeer They haven't made more than three films. The post covers only those who have made a minimum of four.

    @Nameless I wrote a bad review of TGIYB :) .. but so did a few others.

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  7. U shud do similar thing for supporting actors.. names like Joe pesci, Chaz Palminteri, John Turturo etc deserve sm recognition.. ther r few films which ppl enjoyed watchin only coz of the supporting actors..

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  8. Mazid Mazidi deserved to be in the list !! He's a great filmmaker!! He's a maverick in making soul-touching films! And tamil director Myshkin !Have you seen his films? Chithiram Pesuthadi,Anjathey,Nandalala and YuthamSei

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  9. Have you not seen any Ritwik Ghatak movie?

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  10. LOVEEELLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEE :) :) :) One more thing, plz do it, if u may, please do discuss in detail the best pictures these legends have made, and also make a recommendation, for petty, small time, film lovers like, me, that, which movies I should watch before I die :)

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  11. Great post but I am immensely disappointed to not see Paul Greengrass here. With the exception of The Green Zone, all his films have been extremely well received. Green Zone worked for me and I think it would have worked for a lot more people had it released a few years earlier. Over familiarity with the subject sometimes ruins the experience. And nobody captures those uncomfortable silences better than him.

    Bookmarked this page as it also works as an excellent recco post. Need to soon explore the works of quite a few filmmakers mentioned here.

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  12. Btw I enjoyed Death Proof as well u know, and its rated fresh on RottenTomatoes (so what if it just made the cut) ;) :P

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  13. It was average, not a stinker. It wasnt great, but definitely not a stinker. Ebert rated it positively!!

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  14. Guillermo Del Toro hasn't made a bad film yet!

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  15. @Suren You are right, Mazid Mazidi is a legend. Unfortunately I haven't seen any films of Myshkin, thanks a lot for posting the reccos. Will surely watch them soon.

    @Ashwini I agree with you, I too loved Green Zone, and I was one of the few people who championed it when it released. But it was generally panned, which is why Greengrass didn't make it to the list.

    @Salil Yes I shall do one such blog soon.

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  16. Like I said in my tweets..I think Jason reitman is a fantastic director & deserves a special mention..he hasn't made a bad film and he seems to have gotten better n better with each outing..up in the air remains one of my most favorite films I've seen in recent times ..I'm sure young adult won't disappoint either although it might be a bit dark for other reitman lovers..nobody writes women better than him...also Thomas McCarthy who made the fantastic station agent ..the underrated visitor and the overlooked win win deserves a mention...and yes David fincher ..he's such an auteur...and a master filmmaker .hope u can excuse alien 3 ..he's rewriting the rules of motion picture soundtracks and the visual beauty of his films are awe-inspiring...social network is such a modern day masterpiece ..and yes somebody pointed out paul greengrass...very good

    mojorant

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  17. @ultimatefanboy David Fincher unfortunately made a horrible movie called 'Panic Room', hence the snub.

    @moifightclub Reitman has made only three films.

    @omar1618 GDT made Blade 2 and Mimic.

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  18. Reitman has made only three films. Let's not include Young Adult already.

    So what if 'Ebert rated it positively'? That's no yardstick to measure a movie's worth.

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  19. That's not a fair way to look at it. The ones who were 'disqualified' made comparatively many more movies than their counterparts who got in. It's only a matter of time before the ones who are still active make a sucky film.

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  20. It's surprising how you're conveniently ignoring Shane Meadows. This is England, Dead Man's Shoes & Somers Town are some of the most brilliant & hard hitting films of the last decade. Perhaps they are not good enough to earn a place in this list. And if 'Great Expectations' was a stinker, 'Eyes Wide Shut' was a fart bomb. And though Kubrick's genius through the film is hard to ignore, Cuaron definitely deserves a place in the list.

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  21. But, Panic Room, was quite Good, Even Rotten Tomatoes rates it 77%, that's more than (I HATE TO SAY IT) Prestige(a Chis Nolan film I personally love more than others) scored... :( I thought, Fincher was left out on Alien 3!!! :(

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  22. @Prashanth That's why the post covers filmmakers who have made at least four films. Terrence Malick has made only five movies in 40 years.

    @$@U/\/\! Shane MEadows' 'This is England' is very good indeed. He didn't make it to the list because 'Midlands' was panned.

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  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  24. richard linklater ?Johnnie To? Hitchcock ? Scorsese? Fincher? Charlie Chaplin?Boyle? Jonze?

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  25. @mihirfadnavis What about Jean Pierre Melville? I haven't seen all of his movies but the 3 movies I have seen are bledy brilliant!

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  26. Death Proof is better than Insomnia and Following,So why QT is not in the list and Christopher Nolan is in,You should have included QT or You should've avoided Nolan too

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  27. Hayao Miyazaki >>>>>>> Pixar!! Anytime man!! Pixar makes films, he creates films.

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  28. Interestingly there is no mention of Godard anywhere,Not even in the list at the start

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  29. Dude no David Lynch, Michael Haneke, Lars Von Trier or Rituparno Ghosh?

    Apsara_talkies

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  30. Richard Linklater ? Fatih Akin ? Michael Haneke ?Kiarostami ?

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  31. WOW! That’s a good compilation.

    Very informative. Now I have some serious catching up to do.

    And what better than to start with Terrence Malick’s movies. Having watched the multiple-orgasms inducing movie called Tree of life, I have to say I’m awestruck. This guy is something else. I’m so looking forward to watching and re-watching his earlier work.

    Glad to see Innaritu & PT Anderson in the list. Absolutely love their work. Especially Innaritu … highly skilled director. The way he deals with complex emotions concerning death and loss, in every movie, in a distinctive way is nothing short of high class artistry.

    Thanks for the list

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  32. Apsara, von Trier made 'Manderlay' which was quite bad. Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' got divided reviews. Rituparno Ghosh's 'Last Lear' was atrocious.

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  33. Good list .. But Nolan's Inception was inspired from Paprika and the Dark city ..

    Kannan Venkat (@iKannan)

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  34. Even The Joker's character makeover s inspired from The crow movie by Alex Proyas starring Brandon Lee. The dark city also directed by alex proyas ( one of the best sci-fi genre director reg. dream, timemachine, afterlife) .. See even the title is somewhat similar, The dark city & the dark knight :P :P

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  35. I suggest Tim Burton be added in the Notable disqualifications list. He has directed a number of films, and the ratio of his hits to flops is commendable. Also why isn't David Fincher on this list?

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  36. And hey ... this is probably one of the rare listings where the Coens are relegated to the second tier. aaa

    Going by the stinkers condition, I agree with their position in the list.

    They've indeed made stinkers like ‘the hudscuker proxy’ and intolerable cruelty ... but ladykillers?? I don’t understand why ‘Ladykillers’ is considered a stinker?

    I would seriously like to know what’s so repulsive about this movie. I hear everyone complaining about it .. but nobody cares to give a reason.
    It has got good acting, clever dialogues, not much of a premise though, but there are little coen moments scattered here and there, the little conversations … hell, even the choice of songs in the movie is amazing … I agree it’s no masterpiece, but it’s a decent one-time watch. If you put aside the Coen tag and watch it without any baggage whatsoever, you might like it.

    I strongly feel when you make more than a dozen films in a career spawning 25 years … you are bound to have that occasional stinker in your repertoire. I wouldn’t care less. In my eyes, The Coens are up there. At the top. Way more superior than some mentioned in the list. in terms of quality (eg. Mendes Nolan)

    anyway, moving forward, would like to see you compile a list of some great mind numbing on-screen characters we've seen. Both Hollywood and bollywood separately. The travis bickles and the bhiku mhatres...

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  37. Haneke's 'Benny's Video', Linklater's 'Bad News Bears' disqualifies them. Akin and Kiarostami are good choices indeed.

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  38. As extraordinary as Godard's films are, he has made some stinkers like 'Sympathy for the devil'.

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  39. That is indeed an excellent suggestion. Will add this to the post.

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  40. Andrei Tarkovsky -
    He is one of the greatest directors ever lived. None of his films sucked. (Stalker, Solyaris, Mirror, Rublev or for that matter Offret too) Please
    give him due credit for his contribution.


    and for the funny side, there is Matthew Vaughn !

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  41. How come you included Edgar Wright in the list? he's made three movies, no?

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  42. Fingers, Shaun, Hott Fuzz, ScottP. Four movies.

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  43. Even if Kurosowa had gone on to make 5 more bad movies,he'd still be the great he is.But then that's not what this list is about,is it?? :)

    This post is as interesting as it is skewed.Just not fair comparing somebody who has 6/6 with someone who's got 19/20.

    And why is Nolan an obvious first choice,u fanboy??? Death proof is a better movie than Insomnia,isn't it? Both have same IMDB ratings.So,both suck na? The fact that Prestige,TDK & the likes came later doesn't make Insomnia any better,does it??

    & boy,what a post to get the blood pumping! Superb one mate! I'd love to see Jason reitman eventually making it. I haven't seen all of Linklater,but all that I've seen were brilliant.where does he miss out?

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  44. Eric Rohmer. I have not seen his entire body of work (the man was prolific), but I can't believe he would have made a bad one.

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  45. Hey,TGIYB in on top 10 critics pics for 2011 on Review gang.How is it a stinker?? Also,for all the phenomenal cult following the movie enjoys,"No Smoking" was nearly universally panned at release. So how exactly are you determining stinkers? kindly explain.

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  46. Well Uh, Do u mind checking Rotten Tomatoes, I mean, that website collects, critic rating and IMDb does Viewers, I mean for us, its different, for them a little different so, just check and reply

    PS: I enjoyed Death Proof and didn't like Insomnia that much, while my father slept watching that film ;) :P

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  47. Well signing off, I still remember Elia Kazan, have seen only one film though (On the waterfront, loved it and started following him closely and his body of work) I think..... may be....he didn't make a bad film... just saying :)

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  48. Nice suggestion. Indeed he has made some excellent movies, however some like 'Catherine de Heilbronn' were disappointing.

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  49. Some other mentions - John Cassavetes, Lee Chang-Dong, David Lynch (just for giggles).
    Also, if Orson Welles of India could find a place in the notable exclusions, why not include Orson Welles in the list?! He should probably be up there in the actual list.

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  50. "Even if Kurosowa had gone on to make 5 more bad movies,he'd still be the great he is.But then that's not what this list is about,is it??" ... it is indeed what the list is about. I do believe someone with a 6/6 can go on to make 19/20. Of course, as years go by more films arrive, and lists change :)

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  51. Vaughn does have a score of 4/4 at the moment, well spotted. Was going to add Tarkovsky, will do now.

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  52. Green zone was a tad too predictable..Nothing original

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  53. Panic room was a mediocre good movie which just has good actors but is rad too predictable..If it had some unknown actors it would be considered a B movie without any dispute..(just like grant Torino)

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  54. Twin peaks wasn't a movie..It was a series and people might have a tad confused by the red lodge scenes..

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  55. It was 'Lost Highway' which was very convoluted and long winded. Which was the reason why Lynch didn't make this list.

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  56. Peter Greenaway. For making The cook, The thief, His wife and her Lover. I've not seen any of his other movies, but for that movie alone, and for Helen Mirren, I'm putting this name here.

    P.S.: Helen Mirren is naked more times than in Caligula. I checked. I rest my case.

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  57. A very glaring omission IMO, Wes Anderson!

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  58. What did Fincher have to do with PoA? And Panic Room wasn't THAT bad. Though he does get discounted from the list for Alien 3!

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  59. I'd throw in Billy wilder to the list...

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  60. How about Sofia Coppola? Marie Antoinette divided critics but the rest of her work is great and has been unanimously praised..

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  61. Inspite of the fact Ashani Sanket didn't match it's literary work. I feel it's still not a bad film, it won gold bear and critically acclaimed.

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  62. Fatih akin?FIncher?guy Ritchie.?Ridley scott?

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  63. Well, According to this list, Park Chan Wook got a stinker.... ;)
    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/chan_wook_park/

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  64. Havent see all of his work but Tom Tykwer is great in whatever I have seen...

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  65. He made three movies . To qualify is to make atleast 4 movies.

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  66. Just three weeks ago that was 90. And 'Stardust' was 50, which was why I didn't include M.Vaughn.

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  67. What is the procedure to have Umesh Vinayak Kulkarni added to this list? Has made 3 - Valu, Vihir, and Deool. And though Deool got mixed reviews, it was still one of the best and most original Indian films this year. (I totally loved it.)

    And Vihir, IMO, is probably the best Indian film in the last few years.

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  68. I agree with you regarding Vihir, Varun. But the list contains names of those who've made at least four films.

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  69. Actually, the only reason why The Beach bombed was because it took wa-haayyyy too many liberties with the book. As a film, it's not *that* bad.

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  70. aapne mere ko reply kia, or u wanted to reply someone else????

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  71. Cyborg still got 90, a film called sympathy for Mr Vengeance got rotten reviews and Matthew Vaugn, I haven't seen a single film he made, not even X Men 5, I didn't even reccommend him......

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  72. Oh. I thought the criteria was minimum-3. Koi baat nahin...he will be up here soon. For me, the best contemporary Indian filmmaker.

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  73. Anyways, Matthew Vaughn Filmography as a director, he got a clean sweep, till now a 4/4, you may include him here is the link :)

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/matthew_vaughn/

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  74. Girish Kasaravalli deserves a place here. All his movies are marvellous.

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  75. Ohh....... Okay........ Btw would Elia Kazan qualify????

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  76. This blog will bring down the internets!

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  77. Elia Kazan Anyways..... (have seen only 'on the waterfront') but that was great...... what say????

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  78. Jafar Panahi deserves to be on this list

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  79. Whoa! Nobody mentioned Emir Kusturica yet. Have seen 4 out of his 7 features and all kicked ass. Others too have good ratings.

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  80. Great pick Ronty. If you could point me to reviews of 'Ardekoul' I'll add his name.

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  81. I would love to add the masterful Kannada director Puttanna Kanagal to this list. He was very prolific and made some technically marvellous movies.While some of his movies were box office duds, all of them were critically acclaimed.
    But unfortunately I think you haven't watched any Kannada movies, for us to have a credible debate about him, but if you can get hold of his movies with a subtitle, you totally should!

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  82. Indeed. 'Black Cat White Cat' was excellent, and so were 'Arizona Dream' and the Maradona docu. Super nomination.

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  83. Haven't seen all their films but I think these guys are strong contenders - Jim Jarmusch, David Cronenberg, Mohsen Makhmalbaf and Bahman Ghobadi

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  84. Wonderful reccos Sumit. I can't think of any bad Bahman Ghobadi film, he definitely deserves a spot on the list. However Jarmusch's 'The limits of control' and Cronenberg's 'Brood' and 'MButterfly' disqualify them.

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  85. Cronenberg's Crash has most ridiculous plot EVER.

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  86. Haven't seen all their films but these two are worthy contenders: John Schlesinger and Sydney Pollack

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  87. What about Gibson? How was The man without a face?

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  88. Have you seen 'Underground' yet? The most orgasmic stuff, sir.

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  89. Good call with Gibson. But 'The man without a face' received mixed reviews so I don't think I can include him.

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  90. Oh yes, sprawling epic. My favorite Kusturica is Black Cat though.

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  91. Good or bad. It's all subjective. I think Kim Ji-Woon's "I Saw The Devil" is his weakest film. It was cliche & seen-it-all crap.

    Add Sion Sono to the list. Suicide Circle, Strange Circus, Love Exposure, and Cold Fish. Ace films, all of them.

    Also, Takeshi Kitano, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Harmony Korine, John Cameron Mitchell, Werner Herzog, Jafar Panahi, Godfrey Reggio

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  92. Also, Mike Leigh. There are so many.

    I got some great reccos from the comments too. Thank you for posting this.

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  93. been searching for more than an hour but not a single review of it has popped up..think you will need to download it and decide for yourself

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  94. by chance, this guy 'Alexander Payne' his Directorial efforts, have not been bad so far and one film he has directed, its not rated, its a short btw, not a feature film... he is going 5/5 as a director, on feature films :)

    here is his filmography :)

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/alexander_payne/

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  95. Even Edgar Wright has made three movies. Unless you count Attack The Block, which he only produced.

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  96. Did Fincher have a stinker? No, seriously!

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  97. If 'reviews' is the yardstick with which you are measuring the acclaim of those director's films, I have no idea what qualifies Aronofsky's The Fountain as a good film. It got a rotten 51% rating on Tomatometer.

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_fountain/

    Unless you have some other yardstick, or different yardsticks for different directors depending on personal biases and at the expense of objectivity.

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  98. Asghar Farhadi

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/asghar_farhadi/

    5/5

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  99. Sir jee ab toh John Ford ka naam daal hee dijiye

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/celebrity/john_ford/

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  100. Sirrrrrrrrrr kitne saare Indian Film makers we missed, Gulzar, Hrishikesh MukerJii, Basu Chatterjee, mahesh bhatt.....

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  101. Gulzar toh daal do......... main list mei, upar kahi, Chris Nolan, Adgar Wight paani maang jaenge!!!!!

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  102. Gulzar Gulzar Gulzar Gulzar Gulzar Gulzar

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  103. And Please see if Basu Chatterji does qualify (still remember, Chit Chor, Tumhaara Kallu and Ek Ruka Hua Faisla)

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  104. Oppps, Tumhaara kallu was by Basu Bhattacharya (Aastha), not Basu Chatterjee, but other 2 are valid :), still I am standing By Chatterjee, Gulzar dunno much abt Bhattacharya,

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  105. Arey I had so many comments...... kaha gaye!!!!!

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  106. Shyam Benegal, Basu Chatterjee........

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  107. the Indian Talkies trio, they don't qualify but worth mentioning.....(Mani Ratnam, Ram Gopal Varma, Shekhar Kappor) each hold classics in their Filmography!!!!

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  108. Yash Chopra, Ramesh Sippy, Raj Khosla, Shyam Benegal..... these are there too (I hate Veer-Zaara, but Silisila, Deewar, Waqt.... worth it :)...)

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  109. Shyam benegal, Yash Chopra, Raj Khosla, Ramesh Sippy!!!!! these guy might well contribute??!!!! Wont they.......?????

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  110. PS: I hate Veer-Zaara, but it was a Hit, while Silsila, Waqt, Deewaar, Worth it......!!! :) Also another one I want to add is, Shakti Samant :)

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  111. Ok i am gonna try again..Johnnie To? Boyle? Jonze? Hitchcock ? Scorsese?

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  112. This list of yours is big joke if you don't how to respect your own filmmaker i.e. RAJ KAPOOR. he never directed bad film.

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  113. Not everyone liked 'Ram Teri Ganga Maili', dear Abhay.

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  114. David Lynch at least makes it Notable disqualifactions list

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  115. Wish Cronenberg was there. Have enjoyed most of his movies. But then ofcourse havent watched all of them :D

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  116. Tale of Two Sisters by Kim JI-woon! Nice list for reference. :)

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  117. IMDB ratings:
    (8.50) - Amélie (2001)
    (7.80) - Delicatessen (1991)
    (7.80) - A Very Long Engagement (2004)
    (7.78) - Things I Like, Things I Don't Like (1989)
    (7.70) - The City of Lost Children (1995)
    (7.20) - Micmacs (2009)

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