Sunday, 11 March 2012

Encore Awards (2011 in Review): Directing

So…the director. We may, perhaps, never be able to suitably settle on a definition of what makes a good director good and I don’t help the situation much by citing five men in my top5 who direct films I greatly love (though they’re not my top 5 films of the year). But, there it is, my ballot.

(Pictures take you to reviews.)

Certified Copy

As aware as he may be of the larger philosophical thrusts on which the story lies he’s always as cognisant of the levity he demands which allows for his treatment of the subject with an airy playfulness that zips from light humour to melodrama and even suggestions of something deeper and more robust without too much premeditation. Also, for handling the language shifts adroitly.

Abbas Kiarostami


For realising that despite the ostensible childishness of the story’s heart seeing observing the entire world in which Hugo exists and the characters in them. For finding both the brokenness which makes them all so similar, and for keenly observing the way that Georges journey is as significant as any of his tragic heroes. And, for acute attentiveness to his actors and their ability despite the story not focusing on them specifically.

Martin Scorsese 

A Separation

He’s ace at eliciting beautiful performances not only from the adults but the children as well, and not just the main cast but the peripheral players as well. The reason a final piece of the puzzle works as well is not specifically because of the script, but in the way his camera deftly peruses all which occurs and presents it like some sanguine mystery of sorts whilst we think we’re in a familial courtroom drama.

Ashgar Farhadi

Take Shelter

He so excellently uses his screenplay as an excellent paradigm and succeeds in the creation of an excellent measure of tragedy, psychological thriller, horror, small-town drama and family observations, and then not making any facet come off feeling short-change. Also, extra kudos for the sympathy with which he observes Curtis and the sensitivity evocative in the observation of his descent in “madness”.

Jeff Nichols

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Alfredson adroitly handles the inundated layers of potentially overwhelming narrative strands managing to balance all the varying and sometimes conflicting arcs of the ndle story and making for a mood of tension and excitement amidst the ostensible serious wordiness. Moreover, he gets that it’s supposed to seem stuffy and taut while all the while be sad and a bit modest. He succeeds with both facets.

Tomas Alfredson         

FINALISTSTerrence Malick for The Tree of Life, for his firm handle on the life’s journey the film hopes to tell; Mike Mills for Beginners, for so smartly being aware of both the sadness amidst the happiness, and the bliss among the tragic; Steve Soderbergh for Contagion, for showing he’s still a master at intercutting character narratives with a firm grip on both the horror and the humaneness ; Lars von Trier for Melancholia, for despite the insularity never condescending and observing his characters with contempt
Honourable Mentions: Oren Moverman for Rampart; Roman Polanski for Carnage; Nicholas Winding Refn for Drive; Joe Wright for Hanna
Which directors had best control over their vehicles in 2011?


Andy Buckle said...

If I had to nominate five I would go with Malick, Farhadi, Nichols, Winding Refn and Alfredson. All of their films made my Top 10 from last year - and were beautifully crafted by the vision of these directors. Finalists would be Bennett Miller, David Fincher and Steve McQueen.

Luke said...

Oh my gosh, you're killing me with all this Take Shelter referencing! Is that out on DVD yet? That's like the one movie on my must list I didn't get around to seeing in time... Also - love the mention of Wright for Hanna. Direction was probably the high point for the movie.

Paolo said...

Farhadi. Yes, I'm not 100% on his compositions but the way he handles characterization and pacing is ace. The way he handles his actors is near perfect. His daughter a bit iffy but she also gives a look in one of the last scenes that could be interpreted in different ways.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

andy all fine choices, although i do wonder about miller. he's not my least favourite of the lot you choose, specifically, but i do wonder if his directing style has more to it than being reticent and letting the story unfold. it doesn't hinder moneyball, per se, but it doesn't work as effectively as it does in capote.

luke i THINK take shelter is out on dvd. also, yes, hanna yes is all about wright's direction so glad you like.

paoloand razieh's daughter! some of the best moments in the film are just those takes. (his daughter is iffy, but the thing about child actors and such a performance as this is you never know if it's the actor or the character that's iffy.)