Marjane Satrapi is a director and writer and has made four films so far.
The only film I’ve seen of hers so far is The Voices (2014) which is a dark horror comedy starring Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton and Anna Kendrick. I saw it a couple of months ago and I loved it. It’s seriously weird and funny and walks a fine line between being clever or offensive.
I recently bought the graphic novel Persepolis which she wrote and is about her early life and own experience in Iran during and after the Iranian revolution. I know nothing about the Iranian revolution so I think reading Persepolis would be a great way to learn more about it and at the same time I’d be reading a graphic novel that is critically acclaimed. Marjane Satrapi also directed the animated film adaptation of the book and it got nominated for an Oscar so once I’ve read it I’ll definitely be checking out the film.
I actually met Marjane Satrapi quite recently through my work. She was hilarious and such a nice, fun and happy person and seemed to really love her films and was happy to talk to the “little people” which made me like her instantly.
Lexi Alexander is a director who’s directed a pretty great comic book adaptation in Punisher: War Zone (2008). I didn’t know that much about the character of Frank Castle/The Punisher when I’d watched it, I’d seen the other Punisher film from 2004 so had a basic understanding but that’s about it. Now I’m reading the current Punisher comic by Nathan Edmondson and Mitch Gerads and feel that Lexi Alexander made a great film about a great character. I point to Punisher: War Zone when people say women can’t make superhero or action movies because it’s an obvious example that they can and those people are stupid.
The thing that has made me respect and like Lexi Alexander so much is that I’ve recently started to follow her on Twitter. I love how she talks about gender and race in Hollywood and the structure of Hollywood with institutions like the DGA which “normal people” wouldn’t know much about or how they work. I find her thoughts about piracy fascinating and what she thinks about women filmmakers in this industry that isn’t always helpful or kind to women is eye-opening. Her Twitter handle is @Lexialex and you should totally hit the follow button.
One of my film-watching goals this year was to watch more films written and/or directed by women so I’m definitely going to be checking out more of Lexi Alexander’s work over the next few months.
I only heard of Ava DuVernay very recently when all the publicity for Selma started towards the end of last year. I saw Selma in February and loved it. It has amazing performances, great direction and a heartfelt script – its awards snubs in various categories were terrible.
Before directing Ava DuVernay worked in film publicity on a whole range of films, Spy Kids (2001) to Spider-Man 2 (2004), I, Robot (2004) to Collateral (2004). As someone who is just starting a career in Film PR I am fascinated and in awe of her promotional and unit work.
Ava DuVernay had made two films before Selma, I Will Follow (2010) and Middle of Nowhere (2012). She won an Independent Spirit Award for Middle of Nowhere and was the first African-American woman to be nominated for Golden Globe and Critics Choice Awards for Best Director for Selma. I have yet to see I Will Follow and Middle of Nowhere but I’m eagerly looking forward to doing so because if they’re half as good as Selma – they will be great.
I’ve watched most of her keynote speech at this year’s SXSW and it is enlightening and interesting and just pretty darn great. Speeches like this on representation and the film industry as a whole help aspiring filmmakers and film-lovers understand the media they consume. It is certainly worth a watch.
I don’t really look that often at who’s directing a film – if I want to see it, I go see it. So when it came to writing this list, five director’s came to me straight away – I have seen 90% of their films if not all of them and have loved pretty much every single one of them. The rest took a bit of IMDb-ing to figure out who directed some of my favourite films. Now this is a personal list and you will no doubt find some world famous, critically acclaimed directors missing from this list but I can’t honestly put someone like Martin Scorsese on this list when I’ve only ever seen three of his films.
So that’s something you can take away from this list, I’ve seen at least half if not all of these director’s films. (Probably something else I should mention, I don’t necessarily think a good director is a sign of a good film – script plays a big part of it in my opinion)
I adored Moon and Source Code; they are both clever and brilliant sci-fi films. He’s currently filming Warcraft and while I have never played World of Warcraft and know next to nothing about it, I am 99% sure I’ll still go see it just because Jones directed it.
Favourite film: Moon (2009)
Luc Besson can direct (and write, I’ve liked nearly every film Besson’s ever wrote) action well. I love Leon and the Fifth Element. I really want to see Nickita and can’t wait for Lucy to be released.
Favourite film: Leon (1994)