After a break of a couple of days, I am finally up to ‘T’. Quite a few famous ones of course, including one American who shot to fame in 1992. I am only featuring foreign-language directors today, so there will be plenty left for you to add your own selections.
I have used the English language titles for all the foreign films mentioned.
I have to start with the world-famous French film-maker and actor, Francois Truffaut. Before his early death at the age of 52, Truffaut helped found the French New Wave, and left behind a legacy of important and critically-acclaimed films. His awards and nominations are too numerous to mention, but he won both Oscars and Baftas for his work, as well as many domestic plaudits too. From ‘The 400 Blows’ in 1959, to ‘Confidentially Yours’ in 1983, his career never flagged, and he retained his influence and the admiration of critics throughout. Other famous titles include the ‘film within a film’ ‘Day For Night’ (1973), ‘Fahrenheit 451’ (made in English, in 1966), and ‘The Last Metro’ (1980), a wartime drama starring Catherine Deneuve.
Another French director, Bertrand Tavernier may not be as well known as Truffaut, but in a long career, he has also made some outstanding films. These include ‘A Sunday In The Country’ (1984), the English-language Jazz drama ‘Round Midnight’ (1985) with music by Herbie Hancock, and the adaptation of ‘In The Electric Mist’ (2009), starring Tommy Lee Jones. But Tavernier is mainly included here for one of my personal favourite films, the almost unknown ‘Life And Nothing But’ (1989). Despite winning numerous awards, this subtle work has all but disappeared off of the radar of film fans. The touching story of widows searching for their husbands shortly after WW1 stars the wonderful Phillipe Noiret, as the officer in charge of trying to identify the bodies.
Swedish director Jan Troell may not be someone you have ever heard of. But he made a film that features on my personal list of the best films of all time, and one I have never forgotten. I have written about ‘Everlasting Moments’ (2008) many times on my blog, and even reviewed it on other sites. My love for this gentle and affecting film knows no bounds, I assure you. But he has made many other films, including the wonderful ‘The Emigrants’ (1971), starring Max von Sydow, and the sequel ‘The New land’ (1972). He still continues to work today, in his native Sweden.
My top choice today is the Russian auteur, Andrei Tarkovsky. Up to his death in 1986, he made some of the most remarkable films in the history of cinema. Beloved of film buffs and critics alike, his long and often complex films rarely make for light or easy viewing. But they can be incredibly rewarding, if you give them the attention they deserve. ‘Ivan’s Childhood’ (1962) is a haunting war drama, the story of a young boy acting as an army scout, in the mysterious swamp-lands of Russia during the German invasion. In 1966, Tarkovsky made ‘Andrei Rublev’, the true story of the life of the famous icon painter, set in the 15th century. This was followed in 1972 by the eerie science fiction epic, ‘Solaris’, which was later remade in America (in 2002) by Stephen Soderbergh, starring George Clooney. Other notable works include ‘Mirror’ (1975), and ‘Stalker’ (1979), rated by The British Film Institute as one of the fifty greatest films of all time. There has never really been anyone like Tarkovsky, I assure you.
Here’s a trailer for ‘Solaris’. It may look dated now, but don’t let that fool you.