6. Lindsay Anderson
One of the greatest directors of a film movement that is also not known enough: British Free Cinema. Lindsay Anderson started as a critic around whom other young filmmakers grouped in order to revitalize the documentary tradition of English cinema, and gave to the world several short documentaries from 1956 to present day.
These documentaries were not focused on presenting the exotic or the extraordinary, but rather on portraying the life of people in the city and their relationships with places. Within this movement, he created several documentaries focusing on the lives and ordinary routines of people who were seen primarily at universities and in closed groups.
The directors of this movement eventually started to make fictional films, and thus the British New Wave started. Anderson himself created an acclaimed trilogy starring the great Malcolm McDowell as Mick Travis. The trilogy consisted of “If…” (1968), displaying Travis as an adolescent living in an internship; “O Lucky Man!” (1973), in which Travis is a traveler; and finally “Britannia Hospital” (1982), the darkest film in the trilogy, in which Travis investigates an experiment resembling that of Dr. Frankenstein.
7. Mohsen Makhmalbaf
The Iranian director, the head of the Asian Film Academy since 2009, and the founder of Makhmalbaf Film House in 1996, which functions as an independent production house.
Mohsen Makhmalbaf is one of the most important pioneers in the new Iranian cinema, and one of the filmmakers who had more of a deep influence in the independent cinema of his country. His films had been both nationally (by the general public) and internationally (by critics) acclaimed, and also censored by the Iranian government. But there is much more to Makhmalbaf than the films he has made, and those iare the actions he has taken around cinema.
He was born in an extremely violent and vulnerable group and place, and his youth was full of violence and fighting against the Iranian regime. He left the armed fight in order to dedicate his life to cinema, and he started to use it as a means of communication with the masses and to distance his films from the traditional topics and techniques of the two great influences of Hollywood and Bollywood.
Motivated by the wish of his daughter to study cinema in an effective school, and the lack of government support to do this, he founded the Makhmalbaf Film House, a film school in his own house in which cinema was taught through unorthodox techniques.
8. Glauber Rocha
The head of the Cinema Novo film movement of Brazil, Glauber Rocha was one of the most influential Latin American directors in film history, even though he recognized the influence of Nelson Pereira Dos Santos as the fuel that started the movement.
The films that Rocha made within this frame are described by Martin Scorsese as films deeply involved with the political and social aspects of the context in which Cinema Novo flourished. Films in which the reality that there are those who have and those who have not was portrayed, and which said that those who had not, would be heard, in the words of Scorsese himself.
The films of Rocha had a very distinctive atmosphere that consist of a mixture between the language of classic Italian and American films and the folklore (myths and rituals) of Brazil. These could be seen in the way that music was used, and in the way the rituals were portrayed.
The cinematic portrait of Latin American hunger and sub-development has been named by Rocha as the aesthetics of violence, and it became a landmark of the expression of social injustice and oppression dynamics as important as the Italian neorealism.
9. Fernando de Fuentes
One of the greatest pioneers of Mexican cinema after the transition to sound, Fernando de Fuentes was an innovative filmmaker both in terms of thematic interest and cinematic language. In the 1930s, he directed two films that would become landmarks for Mexican cinema, and which would be extremely innovative for the year in which he directed them: “El compadre Mendoza” (1933) and “¡Vámonos con Pancho Villa!” (1935).
The events of these two films are framed within the Mexican Revolution and display the inventive that Fuentes had with film language and his critical approach to the image of Mexico and its revolution.
It was in this time that the Mexican government wanted to “clean up” the image of the revolutionary fight and its “heroes,” but de Fuentes did not yield to the pressure of portraying an ideal and peaceful México. He created critical portraits of the revolution, in which psychological endeavors on the people subjected to moral dilemmas and the sanguinary operative techniques that the leaders of the fight were able to apply.
These portraits were done with an understanding of the film form that involved the blocking of the actors in relation to the camera, the use of montage to create a viewpoint, the fragmentation of actions and the dramatic structure, i.e. with an artistic conception of film that was unusual of Mexican cinema at that time.
10. Lucrecia Martel
With only four films in her filmography, Lucrecia Martel is one of the greatest exponents of contemporary cinema with the subversive narrative techniques that her films display. Martel studied cinema in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She directed several short films before making her first feature film “La Cienaga,” released in 2002, which was recognized at the Sundance Film Festival, the Habana Film Festival, and the Berlin Film Festival, among others.
It was since “La Cienaga” that the style of Martel could be seen, which consists of a narrative structure consisting of episodic scenes that are not dramatically bound, but which thematically create an atmosphere that Martel consciously crafts to create portraits of characters and groups that she perceives as significant.
Martel is deeply critical of the traditional way of making films, both in terms of language and production. She has said numerous times that cinema is in the hands of a privileged social class that decides how to see it.
In contrast to this constant use of the same thematic and techniques, she creates films that differ greatly from traditional cinema. Proof of this preoccupation for making films in a different production scheme and with techniques of her own is that she spent the last 10 years making “Zama,” which was released.