Often, when directors start off, they are just hungry artists who want a chance to make art in order to exist. A debut feature can build up a lot of pressure for any director who has to survive the unforgiving entertainment industry and also capture the audience's attention. While some do not succeed in making an impression that great, others make films that are unique and uncompromising. It is only when a newbie showcases his or her natural chops in an introductory flick that he or she can leave behind a legacy.
Here are five directors who made debuts probably grander than Nolan's:
Orson Welles – Citizen Kane (1941)
Written and directed by Orson Welles, Citizen Kane is said to be the greatest film ever made. This quasi autobiographical film, which has Welles himself playing the titular role, secured Welles' place in history. It not only managed to defy conventional cinematic techniques, but it also provided cinegoers with innovative uses of cinematography, narrative structures and music. Welles and his film earned nine Academy Award nominations.
Satyajit Ray – Pather Panchali (1955)
Satyajit Ray was undoubtedly the greatest director in the history of Indian cinema. His debut, Pather Panchali was indeed a cinematic landmark in its own right. Additionally, it catapulted Ray to international fame. The film, influenced by Italian Neorealism, delved deep into the dynamics of daily life. One of its many achievements was the fact that it was named Best Human Document at the Cannes Film Festival.
François Truffaut – The 400 Blows (1959)
François Truffaut became the new face of contemporary cinema post his debut with The 400 Blows. This film, which Truffaut dedicated to his spiritual father André Bazin, is distinctly autobiographical. It put the French New Wave on a firm footing and won Truffaut an award at the Cannes Film Festival.
David Lynch – Eraserhead (1977)
David Lynch's Eraserhead, which is almost impossible to describe, is often categorized as a surrealist venture. The film, cinematographed in black and white, has a protagonist that dwells in a cityscape with dystopian settings. The film's sound design consisting of puppy sounds and unseen howling wind has not only gathered a significant number of admirers across the world, but has also influenced innumerable films. Eraserhead won Lynch an award at the Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival.
Quentin Tarantino – Reservoir Dogs (1990)
Reservoir Dogs defined everything that went into making brand Quentin Tarantino, putting him in the world scene. The film, already received screenings at Sundance and Cannes, before it opened in theatres. Tarantino's film, went on to become one of, if not the most influential films of the 1990s. The crime classic, with Tarantino's signature non-linear narration, inspired future films and stage versions. It also earned 9 awards out of 15 nominations.