Film Directors: A sort-of A-Z: T

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.

24 thoughts on “Film Directors: A sort-of A-Z: T

  1. Will have to go with Alan Taylor, for Thor: The Dark World, and Terminator Genysis though he’s much more prolific in TV having directed episodes in a lot of great series, Gane of Thrones, 6 feet under, Mad Men and one of my all time faves The Sopranos.

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  2. I’m glad you mentioned Troell, he is a true artist. Even his least film, “Zandy’s Bride” is better than most of the hack work done by so-called directors today.
    On a happier, less fussy note, I’d like to mention Jacques Tourneur for the brilliant noir “Out of the Past”, his Lewton films including “Cat People” and my preference “The Leopard Man”, his highly underrated horror comedy “The Comedy of Terrors” with a superb ensemble in Price, Lorre, Rathbone, Karloff and a dizzying Joyce Jameson, the witty Burt Lancaster adventure “The Flame and the Arrow”, and my favorite of his and my favorite horror film “Night of the Demon” with a classically silky,villainous performance by Niall MacGinnis.
    And finally, the great Frank Tashlin for the Martin and Lewis features “Artists and Models” and “Hollywood or Bust” (“Mr. Bascomb!”), the Lewis comedies “Rock-A-Bye Baby” and “The Disorderly Orderly’ and his pair of Jayne Mansfield comedies “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?” and the superior “The Girl Can’t Help It”, surely the best rock n roll picture of all time.

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    1. I have reviewed ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’ separately on this blog, Chandler. A joy of a film, with the underrated Mansfield (who I love to watch) and a great cast of contemporary rock and rollers.
      Tourner’s ‘Night Of The Demon’ is indeed a classic horror film, and really frightened me when I first watched it, aged around 9!
      I am personally pleased that you agree about Troell, as nobody I knew had ever heard of him up to a few years ago. Until I started banging on about ‘Everlasting Moments’ of course…
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  3. Of course, François Truffaut is a favorite of mine. Also, he played French scientist Claude Lacombe in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977), a science fiction film that holds up very well even today.

    Speaking of science fiction, I have to mention David Twohy, who is behind the Riddick series: “Pitch Black” (2000), “The Chronicles of Riddick” (2004), and “Riddick” (2013). Another sequel, “Furya,” may (or may not) be in development. Twohy also directed a twisted whodunnit entititled, “A Perfect Getaway,” starring Milla Jovovich.

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  4. A lot of directors that I have never heard of here (but that only means I have a couple mor that I want to check out), except for the last one. I have Solaris on dvd, but just like yesterday’s 13 hours, I just haven’t gotten around to seeing it. You really made me curious about that Swedish director though.
    As for my own favorites..I have none to add. Probably a lot of people are going to name Quentin Tarantino but I have never been a fan of him unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like ‘Pulp Fiction’ a lot, and ‘Reservoir Dogs ‘ was a fair remake of ‘City on Fire’. But most of all, I love ‘Jackie Brown’. I think that’s one of the best modern crime thrillers, with superb casting. As for the rest of his films, I can take or leave them. I don’t think he’s the genius he thinks he is, but he certainly knows a huge amount about film and cinema. He is like the ultimate film nerd!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 2 people

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