Important Classic and contemporary European Filmmakers - Tu Nguyen

Important Classic and contemporary European Filmmakers

Only European Directors who born and based most of their lives in Europe. Not ranked in any particular order. You may like their films or not but their ouvreurs have shaped and defined the history and progress of cinema landscape as we know it.

Not included in this list are legendary directors who moved lately to Hollywood like Hitchcock, Joe May, Ernst Lubitsch, Chaplin, Von Stroheim, Victor Sjöström, Murnau, Sergio Leone, Fritz Lang, Von Sternberg, Mike Nichols, Michael Curtiz, Billy Wilder, Sergio Leone, Elia Kazan, William Wyler, Milos Forman, Fred Zinnemann, Otto Preminger, Jean Renoir, Ivan Passer, Siegmund Lubin...

My other lists:

1. Important Classic and contemporary Asian Filmmakers

2. Important Classic and contemporary Hollywood Filmmakers

3. Important Classic and contemporary South/Middle America Filmmakers

4. Documentaries

5. Animated Short Films

6. Vietnamese Films

1. Lars von Trier 

Probably the most ambitious and visually distinctive filmmaker to emerge from Denmark since the great master Carl Theodor Dreyer over 60 years earlier.

2. Nuri Bilge Ceylan

With only several features, the Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan has become one of the most respected names in the european cinema scene, a contemporary master with an attentive, concentrated, slow-burn style all his own.

3. Jean-Luc Godard

A pioneer of the French new wave, Jean-Luc Godard has had an incalculable effect on modern cinema that refuses to wane. He was and always will be our greatest lyricist on historical trauma, religion, and the legacy of cinema.

4. Michael Haneke

Austrian film director and screenwriter, Michael Haneke is one of Europe’s most prominent and controversial auteurs working today. Common themes in Haneke’s dystopian works include discontentment and estrangement experienced by individuals in modern society – namely the European bourgeoisie, the personal suffering and increased disconnection experienced by humankind and the inherent cruelty and violence lying under the surface of modernity. His films are provocative and complex challenges to his audience and rely heavily on his interest in psychology, philosophy, spectatorship, semiotics and violence in the media.

5. Krzysztof Kieslowski

A Polish filmmaker of unparalleled merit whose simple stories deal with difficult, fundamental and universal questions about complex human feelings and their struggling to reconcile daily life with its cultural myths — be they Communist propaganda, Biblical proverbs, or French revolutionary slogans.

6. Theodoros Angelopoulos

Greek film director with a magisterial, dreamy, atmospheric and enigmatic style, whose films explored the human condition in general and the condition of modern Greece in particular through haunting imagery rooted in myth and epic.

7. Michelangelo Antonioni

Italian filmmaker Antonioni "redefined the concept of narrative cinema" and challenged traditional approaches to storytelling, realism, drama, and the world at large. His films are aesthetically complex – critically stimulating though elusive in meaning. With him, Fellini, Bergman, and Resnais, European art-house cinema was brought to a new height.

8. Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Despite what the film critics say, Jeunet has been a great infulence to filmmaking in France and around the world with unique style, quirky sense or humor and fantastic cinematography. His films present the perfection - every object, every movement, every facial expression in every scene has a meaning. Emotions are portrayed in a delicate way which makes the audiences sink in, watching the hilarious story unfold.

9. Ingmar Bergman

10. Pedro Almodóvar

As Spain's most famous film director, he's also one of cinema's most visionary directors, and his films have shaped the way we see his country. What is it about him that resonates so profoundly with spectators worldwide? His signature, colorful visual style, his keen awareness of and sensitivity to the issues of women, his audacity when portraying a large cross-section of sexuality in new, thrilling ways...

11. Wim Wenders

Wenders will always stay remain as one of my supreme hero of cinematic world, one of the most noted contemporary auteurs, the driving force behind the "Neuer Deutsche Film". His characters are isolated and emotionally stunted - but when they take to the road, change becomes inevitable. Every single frame were superbly photographed, leisurely odysseys reach metaphysical dimensions, and ipso facto, exposing heartbreaking sadness-induced raw emotion.

12. Werner Herzog

The ultimate man with a life truly stranger than fiction. The German Legacy. He lets nothing get in the way of his passion because in the journey to perfection there is no place for hidden agendas or half-ass mediocrity. Everything has to be burned and fired away. Not only his films are masterpiece, Herzog seems to deliberately make himself hard to pin down, acquiring himself a legendary, almost mythological status in the process.

13. Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Rainer Werner Fassbinder was a rebel whose life, a rampant drug addict; a wild, self-destructive libertinage but his films are so pure and demonstrate his deep sensitivity to social misfits and his hatred of institutionalized violence. One of the most innovative practitioner of New German Cinema, worked in fourteen years and made forty-four films!

14. Alain Resnais

15. Jean-Pierre Dardenne 

16. Fatih Akin

17. Gaspar Noé 

18. Nikita Mikhalkov 

19. Cristian Mungiu

20. Roy Andersson

21. Andrei Tarkovsky

22. Thomas Vinterberg

23. Giuseppe Tornatore

24. Béla Tarr

25. Zoltán Fábri

26. Aki Kaurismäki

27. Emir Kusturica

28. Jacques Audiard

29. Federico Fellini

30. Jean Cocteau

31. Roman Polanski

32. Sergei M. Eisenstein

33. Bernardo Bertolucci

34. David Lean

35. Luis Buñuel

36. Tom Tykwer

37. Luc Besson

38. Lina Wertmüller

39. Jean Renoir

40. Jean-Pierre Melville

41. Mike Leigh

42. François Truffaut

43. Dario Argento

44. Roberto Rossellini

45. Vittorio De Sica

46. Terry Gilliam

47. Carl Theodor Dreyer

48. Richard Attenborough

49. Jan Svankmajer

50. Andrzej Wajda

51. Guy Ritchie

52. Leni Riefenstahl

53. Jacques Rivette

54. Robert Wiene

55. Volker Schlöndorff

56. Margarethe von Trotta

57. Peter Greenaway

58. Edgar Reitz

59. Terry Jones

60. Luchino Visconti

61. Sergei Parajanov

62. François Girard

63. Andrey Zvyagintsev

64. Jacques Demy

65. Jean Vigo

66. Albert Lamorisse

67. Lasse Hallström

68. Carol Reed

69. Claude Sautet

70. Éric Rohmer

71. Chris Marker

72. Claude Chabrol

73. Henri-Georges Clouzot

74. René Clément

75. Marcel Carné

76. Georges Méliès

77. Claude Berri

78. István Szabó

79. Gillo Pontecorvo

80. Pier Paolo Pasolini

81. Paolo Taviani

82. Dino Risi

83. Otto Preminger

84. Patrice Leconte

85. Radu Mihaileanu

86. Dziga Vertov

87. Alain Corneau

88. Christophe Barratier 

89. Bertrand Tavernier

90. Helmut Käutner

91. Douglas Sirk

92. Mikhail Kalatozov

93. Jacques Becker

94. Marcel Camus

95. Sergey Bondarchuk

96. Lindsay Anderson

97. Anthony Harvey

98. Costa-Gavras

99. Francesco Rosi

100. Víctor Erice

101. Carlos Saura

102. Alan Parker

103. Uli Edel

104. Luc Dardenne

105. Danis Tanovic

106. Jean-Jacques Annaud

107. Stephen Frears

108. John Boorman

109. Frank Beyer

110. Agnès Varda

111. Milcho Manchevski

112. Pawel Pawlikowski

113. Miklós Jancsó

114. Max Ophüls

115. Georg Wilhelm Pabst

116. Ladislao Vajda

117. Michel Gondry

118. Michael Powell

119. Emeric Pressburger

120. Louis Malle

121. Mario Monicelli

122. Julien Duvivier

123. Jacques Feyder

124. Claude Autant-Lara

125. Anthony Asquith

126. Ronald Neame

127. Danny Boyle

128. Aleksandr Sokurov

129. Duncan Jones

130. William K.L. Dickson

131. Alice Guy

132. Jacques Tati

133. Germaine Dulac

134. Marcel L'Herbier

135. Robert Enrico

136. Vsevolod Pudovkin

137. Abel Gance

138. Walter Ruttmann

139. Vera Chytilová

140. Friðrik Þór Friðriksson

141. Konrad Wolf

142. Robert Bresson

143. J. Lee Thompson

144. Erik Balling

145. Susanne Bier

146. Mikko Niskanen

147. Hasse Ekman

148. Bille August

149. Lukas Moodysson

150. Per Fly

151. Louis Lumière

152. Auguste Lumière

153. Jacques Feyder

154. Raoul Ruiz

155. Jean-Jacques Beineix

156. Leos Carax

157. Jaco Van Dormael

158. Peter Watkins

159. Olivier Dahan

160. William Dieterle

161. Oliver Hirschbiegel

162. Dinos Dimopoulos

163. Thodoros Maragos

164. Vittorio Taviani

165. Roberto Benigni

166. Valerio Zurlini

167. Yevgeny Bauer

168. Cecil M. Hepworth

169. Lev Kuleshov

170. Anatole Litvak

171. Sergey Gerasimov

172. Grigoriy Chukhray

173. Artavazd Peleshian

174. Alexander Korda

175. Aleksandar Petrovic

176. Walerian Borowczyk

177. Dusan Makavejev

178. Basil Wright

179. James Whale

180. Nicolas Roeg

181. Anthony Minghella

182. Sam Mendes

183. Paul Greengrass

184. John Schlesinger

185. Louis Feuillade

186. Anatole Litvak

187. Raymond Bernard

188. Benjamin Christensen

189. Robert Siodmak

190. Wladyslaw Starewicz

191. Carl Froelich

192. Boris Barnet

193. Sacha Guitry

194. Alf Sjöberg

195. Jacques Tourneur

196. Laurence Olivier

197. Georges Franju

198. Charles Frend

199. Luis García Berlanga

200. Juan Antonio Bardem


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