Directors are the main architects of a film and they are the ones who are involved in the creation of a film brick-by-brick. Often, their involvement and responsibility make their movies reflect a bit of their own personality on screen. The controversial Auteur theory that considers the director as the author of the film is not accepted by many in the film fraternity. However, it does hold true in the case of some great directors.
Here, we have selected eight such directors who have successfully created their own special trademarks visible in almost all their films.
Alfred Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense loved to make psychological thrillers. Most of his principal characters are troubled individuals. He also made cameo appearances in some of his movies in the most unexpected ways possible. Alfred liked to keep a blur line between the innocent and the guilty. The character’s relationship with his/her mother like the one we saw in Psycho was also a key element. He made McGuffins famous and these devices that seemed irrelevant were the integral triggers in the plot. Voyeurism and mistaken/assumed identities were other aspects used by Hitchcock recurrently as seen in Shadow of a Doubt, The 39 Steps and Psycho respectively. Another weird aspect of Hitchcock is his preference to shoot movies in a studio rather than in the real location.
Violence, crime, moral decay, corruption; in short the dark side of the society we live in, are his favorite elements that Martin Scorcese uses in most of his films. From the technical point of view, slow-motion, like in `Who’s That Knocking at My Door`, long tracking shot like the famous one in `Goodfellas`, are also used repeatedly. Use of popular music, characters talking to themselves in the mirror, rapid editing sequences are also common in his movies.
Wes Anderson, the director of `The Grand Budapest Hotel`, is famous for the use of symmetry and a distinct color palette. Whimsical visuals dominate his films and a peculiar feature of Anderson-directed films is the use of a stationary camera, which make the shots look more like a painting devoid of a 3D moving imagery.
He has an obsession for over-the-top visuals, grand digital effects and constant use of a blue overlay in his films. His movies consist of a strong female character and the use of the concept of character surveillance cameras like in `True Lies` is also quite evident.
He is one of the few who makes violence look stylish and elegant and is famous for the well-known `Trunk shot’. The man has an incredible talent for dialogues, through which he creates builds a scene. Like Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino also uses long tracking and crane shots. His foot fetish, deep emphasis on food, upbeat music in scenes involving torture or death, title cards (like the categorisation of the scenes under different heads in Pulp Fiction), nonlinear storyline, his own brands and a reference to pop culture together make Tarantino a film genius.
Known to be a perfectionist, Stanley Kubrick, has made masterpieces like The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, etc. He is credited with introducing the `The Kubrick Stare`, wherein the character makes the scary face with his head down, eyes up, intently staring at someone or something. His long tracking shots along parallel hallways, bathroom scenes, voiceover or narration in the movie, and his fascination with depicting the dark side of human nature on screen are things to watch out for in his films.
He is one of the biggest influencers in the way movies are directed now and most of the directors use elements of a Kurosawa film on a regular basis. One example is George Lucas. Akira’s visual storytelling involved references to pageantry with emphasis on weather elements, a complex relationship between an older and younger character and almost always had a heroic champion. He is the pioneer of the wipe-effect transition. Savage violence was another component dominating his films.
George LucasThe creator of Star Wars was influenced by Kurosawa to a great extent. In his movies, we can see Kurosawa’s influences in the form of the wipe-effect, master-student storyline and the element of a heroic champion. He touched higher levels of film making with his fixation on science fiction fantasy and is famous for the one of its kind scroll opening scene and pan of the starry sky in the Star Wars saga.