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Paul Jensen

Directors

JOHN CASSAVETES

cassavetes

John Cassavetes courageous search for truth and honesty is awe-inspiring. His goal was to try and capture inner emotion. He remains my favorite filmmaker largely in part because he wants the viewer to be as creative with their own eye, no just his eye. His worldview on relationships and approach to filmmaking has been hugely influential on myself and I'm constantly learning from this fearless godfather of independent cinema.

AKIRA KUROSAWA

kirosawa

Akira Kurosawa’s films and autobiography helped shape my passion for movies. “If you want to tell a story through images, learn how to tell a story on paper first.” Kurosawa’s insistence on crafting story structure helped me take screenwriting seriously. His discipline on “never looking away” and his humble approach to life has inspired me not just as an artist, but as a human being as well. A true mentor to me and countless other film lovers. His title: the Emperor of cinema, is well deserved.

INGMAR BERGMAN

bergman

Ingmar Bergman is quite possibly, the greatest screenwriter of all time. His films are both emotionally devastating and intellectually profound. He treats the audience with the utmost respect and is capable of suggesting so much depth with the utmost restraint. Visually, his films are among the finest, and his ensemble of actors are a treasure trove. Each one of his many masterpieces is a complex and layered as a jewel.

Suggested Films
Persona
Hour Of The Wolf
The Silence
The Virgin Spring
Wild Strawberries
Shame
The Passion of Anna
Scenes From A Marriage
Autumn Sonata
Fanny & Alexander
Through a Glass Darkly
After The Rehearsal
Smiles of a Summer Night

MARTIN SCORSESE

scorsese

Martin Scorsese may very well be the greatest filmmaker currently working today. His passion for making movies, preserving films and teaching film history, reaches uncharted heights. Scorsese never goes for the cheap thrill but instead he’s constantly searching and exploring why people are the way they are. Especially the grittier, flawed and darker side of humanity. My affection for his films and admiration for the man is immeasurable.

STANLEY KUBRICK

kubrick

Stanley Kubrick is a visionary of the highest order. His films are islands onto themselves that are uniquely Kubrick. He is a true auteur that never repeated himself, always pushed the envelope and left us with mind-blowing, frighteningly intelligent and truly cinematic works of art.

MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI

antonioni

Michelangelo Antonioni revolutionized cinema by creating his own film language and as a result invented "modern" movies. The Italians have many great masters but Antonioni remains my favorite. His films might be challenging for the uninitiated but once the language becomes clear, each image is filled with subtleties that speak volumes. Love decaying and becoming shallow is a re-occurring theme, or as Antonioni states, “eros is sick”. This struggle to find a balance between love and sexuality, women and men, nature and urban settings, are issues that have evolved more rapidly in the post-modern era. Very few film artists have explored these complexities with such beauty. Antonioni is a true poet of images.

WONG KAR-WAI

kar-wai

Wong Kar-wai is one of the most exciting and interesting contemporary filmmakers. Asian films made such an impact on world cinema in the 90’s, and Kar-wai is still riding that new wave with passionate storytelling, a unique approach to screenwriting, exhilarating visuals and a sophisticated cinematic language. His films are utterly romantic, thrilling in their constant movement, and somehow they always manage to capture a yearning and desire for the ecstatic. The longing, sorrow and sheer beauty of relationships is continuously explored. So long as we have talent like Kar-wai, cinema will maintain its vitality and freshness.

Suggested Films
In The Mood For Love
Fallen Angels
Happy Together
Chungking Express
Days Of Being Wild
2046
As Tears Go By

STEVEN SPIELBERG

spielberg

Like millions of young audience members, I grew up watching Steven Spielberg's movies and they made me fall in love with movies and want to live a life consumed with films, both watching and making. His best work is not only massively entertaining, but quite often, incredibly emotionally moving. His staggering output over the years is only matched amongst his peers by Scorsese's incessant work ethic. Despite Spielberg’s “amusement-park ride” associations, he has again and again delivered dramatic films that are both complex and astute. Most famously though, it is indisputable that he has given us some of the most entertaining films ever made, that will inspire new audiences for generations to come.

WOODY ALLEN

allen

Woody Allen's films are funny, smart, poignant and unique. Each one of his classics is like a little jazz piece that is repeatably watchable and timeless. A consummate auteur, his continuous work ethic has made him one of the most prolific filmmakers in history (only Bergman has written and directed more films than Allen). They might not ALL be hits, but looking at the overall body of work, it’s staggering how many touching moments he has captured. There are easily over a dozen classics in his filmography that transcend the majority of movies with their sophistication, humor and insight. Once you start delving into his work and acquire a taste, Allen’s films have the tendency to grow fonder and age better, like a fine bottle of red wine.

Suggested Films
Manhattan
Crimes & Misdemeanors
Annie Hall
Stardust Memories
Hannah and Her Sisters
Sweet and Lowdown
Bullets Over Broadway
Vicky, Christina, Barcelona
Broadway Danny Rose
Zelig
The Purple Rose Of Cairo
Shadows & Fog
Sleeper
Manhattan Murder Mystery
Alice
Radio Days
Another Woman
Midnight In Paris

WERNER HERZOG

herzog

The German idiosyncratic genius. No one makes films like Werner Herzog. They are bizarre, at times hysterical, fairly disturbing and downright profound. His constant desire to capture ecstatic truth is what drives him. His impressive and eclectic body of work is highly original and strangely moving. The uneasy atmosphere he creates is offset with his brilliant and dark sense of humor. A true artist and a one-of-a-kind madman.

Suggested Films
Cave Of Forgotten Dreams
Nosferatu the Vampyre
Stroszek
Aguirre, Wrath of God
Fitzcarraldo
Grizzly Man
Even Dwarfs Started Small
Lessons In Darkness
The White Diamond

JOHN FORD

ford

John Ford is one of the original pioneering masters of the Golden Age of Hollywood. His expertise in Westerns was his trademark but his awareness of human nature was humbling. While watching his enormous filmography, one gets the sense that they are in the presence of a storyteller who knows what they’re talking about. He places the humanity into context with an understanding of human nature that is inspiring and very often humorous. He’s a man who was modest, stubborn and fiercely opposed to ignorance; John Ford remains a legend.

HOU HSIAO-HSIEN

hsien

Taiwanese filmmaking has made such an impact on world cinema and Hou Hsiao-hsien is at the forefront of that movement. Artful, intelligent, beautiful and honest. When about to watch a HHH film, I always feel like an eager student about to embark on a journey worthy of the greatest attention. There’s never a wasted moment.

Suggested Films
Flowers Of Shanghai
The Puppetmaster
Goodbye South, Goodbye
A City of Sadness
Millennium Mambo
Dust In The Wind
Flight Of The Red Balloon
A Time To Live and a Time To Die
Three Times

ROBERT BRESSON

bresson

For Bresson, cinema was as precious as gold. The economy with which he tells his stories is awe-inspiring. Each film contains a treasure trove of experiences. I'm still skimming the surface of this French master.

Suggested Films
A Man Escaped
L'Argent
Diary of a Country Priest
A Gentle Woman
Four Nights of Dreamer
Lancelot of the Lake
Trial of Joan of Arc
Pickpocket
Au Hasard Balthazar

TERRENCE MALICK

malick

Terrence Malick may only have a handful of movies but one of his films is worth ten from an average filmmaker. There is such poetry in each image and the spiritual transcendence within each movie, moves me to tears. Malick is also one of the most underrated screenwriters - he truly understands how to tell a story visually.

ANDREI TARKOVSKY

tarkovsky

The Russian master who approached cinema with the same devotion that a priest has for the church. All seven of Andrei Tarkovsky’s films are unique explorations of what it means to be human. His work has truly touched my soul.

Suggested Films
The Sacrifice
Andrei Rublev
The Mirror
Stalker
Ivan's Childhood
Solaris
Nostalgia

JOEL & ETHAN COEN

coens

The Coen brothers have earned the respect and status of any of the top filmmakers working today. Their constant war on cliches is what sets them apart. They consistently balance profoundness and absurdity. Their films are extremely witty and often hint at something deeper under the surface. The layers of substance, coupled with the hysterical characters make for highly original and unforgettable films.

Suggested Films
Barton Fink
Miller's Crossing
Fargo
True Grit
No Country for Old Men
A Serious Man
The Man Who Wasn't There
The Hudsucker Proxy
The Big Lebowski
Blood Simple
Raising Arizona