5. Abbas Kiarostami
Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami is surely one of the best filmmakers in history. His sensitivity present in every frame is always able to capture a wide variety of feelings and subtlety explore humanity in a way only him was capable.
Kiarostami was truly a master in filmmaking. Sometimes, with stories so simple yet so complex, poetry emerges in his works exactly because of these aspects. Using the simplest and the most complex things, from this contradistinction emerges the magic of Kiarostami’s work.
From a boy having to return his friend’s notebook, to a complicated relationship between a British man and a French woman, and from a man that pretends to be a famous filmmaker, to a man looking for someone to bury him, everything in his movies is way more complex and sophisticated than it might seem at first.
A list of the directors that make the most poetic films can’t be complete without Kiarostami.
Abbas Kiarostami movies you should watch:
– Where is the Friends Home? (1987)
– Close-up (1990)
– Through the Olive Trees (1994)
– Taste of Cherry (1997)
– Shirin (2008)
– Certified Copy (2010)
– 24 Frames (2017)
4. Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni is a filmmaker who truly changed cinema (or at least expanded some aspects of filmmaking).
It is easy to see in his filmography that he was interested in defying conventions normally used in narratives of the seventh art. His more contemplative (and, of course, poetical) way of observing and portraying human nature is without a doubt one of the most unique seen in the entire history of film.
His intricate narratives allied with a very singular rhythm display many of the existential questions Antonioni approaches in his films, and that is truly something that makes his movies as extraordinary as they are.
Antonioni is one of cinema’s greatest masters and for the exceptional and poetical atmosphere of his films, he definitely deserves a place in this article.
Michelangelo Antonioni movies you should watch:
– The Trilogy on Modernity and its Discontents: L’Avventura (1960), La Notte (1961) and L’Eclisse (1962)
– Red Desert (1962)
– Blow-Up (1966)
– Zabriskie Point (1970)
– The Passenger (1975)
3. Andrei Tarkovsky
Andrei Tarkovsky has one of the most impeccable filmographies in history. All his seven of his feature films can be considered amazing works, if not masterpieces.
His relationship with poetry probably comes from the fact that his father was a poet. Although it might seem more clear to see it in movies like “The Mirror” (1975) and “Nostalghia” (1983), poetry was always present in Tarkovsky’s work.
From the existentialist nature of his plots to his way of composing his scenes and sculpting time, while exploring very deeply the characters being portrayed on the screen, every long shot, every dreamy or complex sequence, every line and movement are pure poetry on his films and that makes him number three on our list.
Andrei Tarkovsky movies you should watch:
– Solaris (1972)
– The Mirror (1975)
– Stalker (1979)
– Nostalghia (1983)
– The Sacrifice (1986)
2. Yasujiro Ozu
Only a few filmmakers were able to understand time as Yasujiro Ozu did. From the slow-paced way he filmed singular moments and made uncomplicated situations become extremely existential and meaningful, Ozu is one of the most poetical filmmakers in history.
The way he is able to capture the passage of time while working with themes that normally approach families and the differences between generations is an element that makes his work so universal and relevant.
Even the camera work in his films is unique for how simple they are (and how meaningful it becomes). He used using the “tatami shot,” which is composed by a low and still camera with a 50mm lens; this composition is essential for the atmosphere his movies have.
For his approach on time and generations, something elemental in our existence, Ozu definitely deserves a place on this list.
Yasujiro Ozu movies you should watch:
– Late Spring (1949)
– Early Summer (1951)
– Tokyo Story (1953)
– Early Spring (1956)
– Tokyo Twilight (1957)
– An Autumn Afternoon (1962)
1. Theodoros Angelopoulos
Greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos is one of the most respected filmmakers in history. From the beginning of his career in feature films in the 1970s until his death in 2012, he became one of the most influential artists working in film.
His long takes and the mesmerizing atmosphere of films and stories are as singular as they are complex. Angelopoulos deals with his characters’ journeys in such a metaphysical, philosophical and poetical manner that, combined with his distinctive visual style, deliver exceptional and extraordinary results in his films.
A list of the directors who make the most poetic films could not be complete without Theodoros Angelopoulos, one of cinema’s most amazing masters.
Movies by Theodoros Angelopoulos you should watch:
– Voyage to Cythera (1984)
– The Beekeeper (1986)
– Landscape in the Mist (1988)
– Eternity and a Day (1998)
Author bio: Vítor Guima is a filmmaker, writer and musician from São Paulo, Brazil. Every day he watches a movie, reads a few pages from a book, listens to an album and freaks out with the feeling of not having enough time to see everything. You can follow him on Instagram on @ovitorguima.