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15 Director MatchUps,Which One Do You Prefer?

22 May 2012 | People Lists | by David Zou

Last time I compared 15 pairs of classic films on this blog,this time I decide to go one step further with a director poll,another 15 matchups are carefully chosen and wait for your votes.The longer you stuck here,the more struggles you have,the happier I am,it proves that the pairing works.As usual,I am the first person to accept the torture,below are my choices and reasons:

1.F.W.Murnau vs Fritz Lang

I hate to start the line-up with such a tough one,both are giants of German Expressionism and even more successful after they went to Hollywood.I will give my vote to Murnau because he and his cameramen had a larger impact on subsequent filmmakers,you can see the influence in almost every film made afterwards.

 

2.Charlie Chaplin vs Jacques Tati

chaplin-tati

I will go with “French Chaplin” for this one,Tati had the talent to discover tiny funny things in life and turn them into gags in his films,also his irony subject on modern technology and brilliant use of space is so unique among all comedy directors.

 

3.Billy Wilder vs Frank Capra

wilder-capra

Billy Wilder,Billy Wilder and Billy Wilder,No.1 story-teller of all time,Capra is not far behind.

 

4.Stanley Kubrick vs Orson Welles

kubrick-welles

Anyone who has been a regular reader of my blog knows what a big Kubrick fan I am,but believe me,this one is not easy,Welles is a genius too.

 

5.Michael Powell vs Douglas Sirk

powell-sirk

I love both two because they both made the most beautiful color films and first-class melodrama,Powell has the slightest edge here.

 

6.Kenji Mizoguchi vs Mikio Naruse

mizoguchi-naruse

Two directors I have tremendous respect for,for their life-long dedication of feminine themes.I’m obsessed with the gorgeous long shots in Mizoguchi’s films,so he is the one to win here.

 

7.Alfred Hitchcock vs Henri-Georges Clouzot

hitchcock-clouzot

Two best suspense masters ever,if you ask me to compare their 3 peak films,I would say they are even,but Hitch’s personality wins me over here,what a lovely fat man.

 

8.Akira Kurosawa vs David Lean

kurosawa-lean

There is one thing in common between these two,the great ability to tackle both grand and small film projects,Kurosawa is my choice here,I find more humanity concerns in his films.

 

9.Francis Ford Coppola vs Martin Scorsese

coppola-scorsese

Scorsese is great,he is still great now,but Coppola’s four films in 1970s are really impeccable,I think he has more auteur quality than Scorsese,also,he has a very strong daughter.

 

10.Krzysztof Kieslowski vs Andrei Tarkovski

kieslowski-tarkovski

Both did not make a large quantity of films but each one is breathtakingly beautiful,I admit I still watch enough of their works to make a verdict,so I will go with Kieslowski for now,because his three colors are the films I watched most times,this may change though as I finish my Tarkovski marathon next month.

 

11.Wong Karwai vs Jean Luc Godard

wong-gordard

Both are so good at Mise en scène,and invent one’s own aesthetic system,as a guy from Orient,I will surely pick Wong as the winner.

 

12.Hou Hsiao-hsien vs Abbas Kiarostami

hou-abbas

Simplicity and countryside landscape are the two things come to my mind when I think of these two directors,their ways of expressing subject matter are so simple yet so profound, Abbas is my man here,his films have more philosophical sense to me.

 

13.Jia Zhangke vs Dardenne Brothers

jia-dardnenne

Two(or three) rare directors who focus cameras on ordinary people in a consistent basis,as a guy who was born and raised in China,Jia’s films mean so much to me and its greatness is just too obvious.

 

14.Roman Polanski vs David Cronenberg

polanski-cronenberg.jpg

Both like quirky themes during early career but become more serious these days,my vote goes to Cronenberg because I did not enjoy Repulsion and Cul-de-sac that much but I did enjoy every Cronenberg film I saw.

 

15.Jim Jarmusch vs Wes Anderson

jarmusch-anderson

Two independent filmmakers who got great treatment from CC,one’s B&W films are so cool and one’s color films are so  lively,ok,Jarmusch it is for its accurate portrait of distant human relations.

 

As always,the complete list:

1.F.W.Murnau vs Fritz Lang
2.Charlie Chaplin vs Jacques Tati
3.Billy Wilder vs Frank Capra
4.Stanley Kubrick vs Orson Welles
5.Michael Powell vs Douglas Sirk
6.Kenji Mizoguchi vs Mikio Naruse
7.Alfred Hitchcock vs Henri-Georges Clouzot
8.Akira Kurosawa vs David Lean
9.Francis Ford Coppola vs Martin Scorsese
10.Krzysztof Kieslowski vs Andrei Tarkovski
11.Wong Karwai vs Jean Luc Godard
12.Hou Hsiao-hsien vs Abbas Kiarostami
13.Jia Zhangke vs Dardenne Brothers
14.Roman Polanski vs David Cronenberg
15.Jim Jarmusch vs Wes Anderson

 

I’m already torn to pieces after finishing this,now your turn,guys!!You don’t need to have watched every single films of these directors to vote,just some major ones will suffice,Also,I’d love to hear your general opinions on these masters.A shout out to your friends is appreciated.

 

 


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  • http://thevoid99.blogspot.com Steven Flores

    OK then…
    1. I’ve only seen Metropolis so I can’t really say.
    2. Despite seeing little of their work, I’m going to say Chaplin because he’s funnier.
    3. Billy Wilder because of Some Like It Hot.
    4. I haven’t seen anything of Welles’ work yet so I’m going with Kubrick.
    5. Haven’t seen anything from Sirk so I’m going with Powell.
    6. Haven’t seen either of their work.
    7. I might be more familiar with Hitchcock’s work but The Wages of Fear was truly one of the best films I had ever seen.
    8. Kurosawa.
    9. I want to say Coppola but I think Scorsese is a better filmmaker and has a better body of work.
    10. I love both filmmakers but I haven’t seen all of their work so far as I’m doing Tarkovsky for my Auteurs profile late in the summer and I’ve already decided to do Kieslowski next year. For now, it’s Kieslowski.
    11. Wong Kar-Wai.
    12. I’ve only seen Flight of the Red Balloon which I really didn’t care for while I’ve only seen Taste of Cherry and the Where is My Romeo? short from Kiarostami so I’m going with the Iranian.
    13. Never heard of Jia Zhangke so I’m going with the Dardenne Brothers.
    14. Love both filmmakers but I’m going with Cronenberg.
    15. I hate to do this as I do love Jim Jarmusch but I’m going with Wes Anderson.

    • http://www.tasteofcinema.com/ David Zou

      Steven,I’m checking the works of Abbas recently,I thought he is phenomenal.I strongly suggest you watch everything you can get from him.As for Hou,check out his early pieces,like A City of Sadness,Dust in the Wind,A Time to Live and a Time to Die etc.

  • http://1001plus.blogspot.com SJHoneywell

    1. Lang. I like Murnau, but Lang’s entire body of work is better.
    2. Chaplin, but only because he did more.
    3. Wilder because of his versatility.
    4.Kubrick, but because of what happened to Welles. Welles showed greater promise and did less with it.
    5.Powell, strictly on the strength and audacity of Peeping Tom
    6.Mizoguchi, but only because I’m completely unfamiliar with Naruse.
    7.Hitchcock, although The Wages of Fear deserves a lot of consideration.
    8.Kurosawa. In a battle of Kurosawa vs. Anybody else, the answer is Kurosawa.
    9.Scorsese. Coppola needs to atone for Jack.
    10.Kieslowski on the strength of The Decalogue alone. Add in the Three Colors, and it’s no contest.
    11.Wong Karwai. I respect Godard’s films, but I like Wong Karwai’s.
    12.Kiarostami, but I’m barely conversant in either of them.
    13.Dardenne Brothers because I don’t know Zhangke.
    14.This is the toughest match. I’m going with Polanski, but I feel guilty for doing it.
    15.Anderson. I just rewatched The Royal Tenenbaums and I want to watch it again.

    • http://www.tasteofcinema.com/ David Zou

      Steve,I agree with what you said about Welles,he should have done better,but would Kubrick do better if he speed up a bit? we don’t know.

      Peeping Tom is an ignored classic from Powell,I’m glad you mentioned it,it is also one of the first thriller shot in technicolor.

      The Royal Tenenbaums is my fave from Anderson,the sensitivities of his films are rarely comparable.

  • http://criterionreflections.blogspot.com David Blakeslee

    OK, here goes. This is just spur of the moment response for me, I’m glad I live in a world where I don’t have to make absolute either/or choices between these great filmmakers! You came up with some very intriguing pairs, by the way…

    1.F.W.Murnau vs Fritz Lang – Lang for sure. Dr. Mabuse is my avatar buddy! :)
    2.Charlie Chaplin vs Jacques Tati – Tati wins based on the “sometimes less is more” principle.
    3.Billy Wilder vs Frank Capra – Wilder, just because his wit is more caustic and subversive.
    4.Stanley Kubrick vs Orson Welles – Kubrick kept his flame burning longer and more consistently than Welles.
    5.Michael Powell vs Douglas Sirk – Powell just because that incredible Archers run produced such a great variety of work, whereas Sirk was more one dimensional, at least in the films he’s most celebrated for.
    6.Kenji Mizoguchi vs Mikio Naruse – Mizoguchi, for breadth of scale. Naruse functions better from the underdog role anyway.
    7.Alfred Hitchcock vs Henri-Georges Clouzot – Hitchcock, just too many indelibly great films to his credit for this to even be close.
    8.Akira Kurosawa vs David Lean – Kurosawa is still listed on my My Criterion page as my favorite director so I guess I have no choice here! :)
    9.Francis Ford Coppola vs Martin Scorsese – I’ll go with Scorcese just because he’s been more prolific, adventurous, less content to coast on his 70s glory.
    10.Krzysztof Kieslowski vs Andrei Tarkovski – I’ll go with Tarkovski for now just because his stature seems more imposing but I need to watch Kieslowski more closely than I have in the past.
    11.Wong Karwai vs Jean Luc Godard – Godard, I admire his audacity and relentless pursuit of an ideal, misanthrope that he is.
    12.Hou Hsiao-hsien vs Abbas Kiarostami – No opinion, haven’t seen much of either.
    13.Jia Zhangke vs Dardenne Brothers – Pretty much the same as above, though I saw Kid With A Bike in theater a few weeks ago and thought it was great.
    14.Roman Polanski vs David Cronenberg – Polanski, I think. Not really sure on this one.
    15.Jim Jarmusch vs Wes Anderson – Coin flip… eh, whaddaya know, it came down in favor of Wes.

    • http://www.tasteofcinema.com/ David Zou

      Haha,I just came up with this to make your life a little bit harder!!

      I’m ok with Sirk;s one dimension quality,he made some of the best melodramas in Hollywood,and he may be more influential than Powell.I chose Powell only because I love his Red Shoes so much!!

      It is a sad fact that both Welles and Coppola only had a decade of glory,but that might be two of the best decades any directors ever had!!

      • http://criterionreflections.blogspot.com David Blakeslee

        Kurosawa in the 50s immediately comes to my mind as the best decade a single director ever had… but I’d probably have to think it over a bit more (and watch more films) before I could back that claim up against all the competition.

        • http://www.tasteofcinema.com/ David Zou

          I wouldn’t argue with you on that,it is an unbelievable decade for a decade,and also the best decade for Japanese cinema.Another competition I can think of is Hitchcock in his 50s,with Strangers on a Train ,Rear Window,Vertigo,North by Northwest.

  • http://tdylf.com John

    Lots of tough choices here.

    1.F.W.Murnau vs Fritz Lang
    I’m a little more familiar with Lang than I am with Murnau. I think they’re both great, but I have to admit that I’ve gone bananas for a few Lang films (Metropolis, M, Dr. Mabuse). There isn’t one Murnau film that I’ve liked as much as those three Lang films.

    2.Charlie Chaplin vs Jacques Tati
    This is interesting because usually I see Chaplin v. Keaton or even Harold Lloyd. I think Chaplin is better… but I personally enjoy Tati more. I enjoy both a great deal.

    3.Billy Wilder vs Frank Capra
    This is the easiest for me. I’m a sucker for Wilder’s cynicism and humor, while Capra’s sentimentality annoys me. Wilder is my choice.

    4.Stanley Kubrick vs Orson Welles
    I really need to see more of both. From what I’ve seen of the two (four Welles films, eight Kubrick), I have to go with Kubrick.

    5.Michael Powell vs Douglas Sirk
    I don’t think I’ve seen anything by Sirk, so Powell wins by default.

    6.Kenji Mizoguchi vs Mikio Naruse
    Unfortunately, I’ve never seen anything from either director.

    7.Alfred Hitchcock vs Henri-Georges Clouzot
    I REALLY like Clouzot and I think he’s very underrated as a director. But Hitchcock was a master, one of the best ever (maybe the best ever). My vote goes to Hitchcock.

    8.Akira Kurosawa vs David Lean
    This is a lot like Clouzot vs. Hitchcock. I think David Lean is fantastic but Kurosawa is one of my very favorites and one of the best ever. I vote for Kurosawa.

    9.Francis Ford Coppola vs Martin Scorsese
    Coppola’s best is better than Scorsese’s best, but Scorsese runs laps around him with everything else. If not for the two Godfathers and Apocalypse Now, I would’ve said Scorsese without even thinking about it. Scorsese gets my vote.

    10.Krzysztof Kieslowski vs Andrei Tarkovski
    I’m a little limited with both, having seen only a handful of films from each. I feel like the two Tarkovsky films I’ve seen- Solaris and Andrei Rublev- are better than the handful of Kieslowski’s I’ve seen. I vote for Tarkovsky, with the acknowledgement that I need to see much more of each.

    11.Wong Karwai vs Jean Luc Godard
    I’ve never seen anything from Wong Kar Wai, so if you have recommendations, I’ll gladly take them.

    12.Hou Hsiao-hsien vs Abbas Kiarostami
    13.Jia Zhangke vs Dardenne Brothers
    I’m unfamiliar with all of these. Sorry.

    14.Roman Polanski vs David Cronenberg
    I think Polanski is the better of the two, but I like Cronenberg’s films more. His body horror films are completely unique.

    15.Jim Jarmusch vs Wes Anderson
    This is the most fun matchup because they’re the King of the Indies, sort of. I like both, and I prefer Wes Anderson.

    • http://www.tasteofcinema.com/ David Zou

      Great answers,John.I’d like to introduce you some Wong Karwai films,go with In the Mood for Love and Chungking Express first,then try Days of Being Wild,Happy Together,Fallen Angels,Ashes of Time later.I’m not sure if he is your type,but he is very popular in the Western world.

  • http://www.whitecitycinema.com michaelgsmith

    1.F.W.Murnau vs Fritz Lang
    I love both of these directors but it honestly depresses me that all of those who responded before me chose Lang over Murnau. To me, Murnau is one of the 5 best directors ever.

    2.Charlie Chaplin vs Jacques Tati
    Another tough one. Both geniuses but I’ll go with Tati.

    3.Billy Wilder vs Frank Capra
    Capra is way too sentimental and simplistic. I’ll go with the wonderfully cynical and humorous Wilder.

    4.Stanley Kubrick vs Orson Welles
    WELLES!

    5.Michael Powell vs Douglas Sirk
    Damn. I’ll go with Michael Powell but just barely. They each were such incredible masters of Technicolor.

    6.Kenji Mizoguchi vs Mikio Naruse
    MIZO!

    7.Alfred Hitchcock vs Henri-Georges Clouzot
    This isn’t even close. HITCH!

    8.Akira Kurosawa vs David Lean
    They’re both slightly overrated. I’ll go with A.K.

    9.Francis Ford Coppola vs Martin Scorsese
    Not even close. FFC is all downhill after Apocalypse Now. Scorsese is the man.

    10.Krzysztof Kieslowski vs Andrei Tarkovski
    Tarkovsky.

    11.Wong Karwai vs Jean Luc Godard
    Love ‘em both but J.L.G. has the more substantial body of work.

    12.Hou Hsiao-hsien vs Abbas Kiarostami
    My two favorite contemporary directors. Argh. I’ll go with HHH.

    13.Jia Zhangke vs Dardenne Brothers
    I’m not really that much of a fan of either but I’ll go with Jia.

    14.Roman Polanski vs David Cronenberg
    This is also tough! I’ll go with R.P. by virtue of the fact that he did first.

    15.Jim Jarmusch vs Wes Anderson
    They’re both equally overrated.

    • http://www.tasteofcinema.com/ David Zou

      I guess the reason people root for Lang over Murnau are:1,Murnau is a regular to MOC,not CC or other US dvd companies,people who has region limits can’t see his works 2.Lang has a much longer career and he shot some great Noirs.

      I’m interested in the statement that you said the last pair are both overrated,so who is your man of Indie in the past 20 years?

      • http://www.whitecitycinema.com michaelgsmith

        Richard Linklater is the man!

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