Documentary filmmaker Angela Ismailos’s 2009 documentary “Great Directors” was a satisfactory first step for burgeoning film buffs to not only learn about what goes into becoming a director but to hopefully become inspired to seek out the brilliant works of the directors interviewed for the film. Today you can watch the whole thing for free, thanks to the good people at Anisma Films.
For her doc, Ismailos sat down with some of the most revered and influential names in film history, including Bernardo Bertolucci, David Lynch, Liliana Cavani, Stephen Frears, Agnes Varda, Ken Loach, Todd Haynes, Catherine Breillat, Richard Linklater and John Sayles, each expounding on their influences and artistic processes.
Upon its release, “Great Directors” got mixed reviews. Many critics praised Ismailos’ ability to extract honest and candid interviews with her subjects but criticized the fact that she inserted too much of her own thoughts on these directors and their films via voice-over segments. It seemed that she couldn’t decide whether or not the doc should be an objective documentary about these cinema legends or a subjective visual essay about film history. Another problem is that the 90-minute runtime can’t afford enough space for the audience to really get to know each director. Perhaps that’s why it’s better to look at “Great Directors” as a sampler plate for the relatively uninitiated. You can watch the documentary in its entirety below. [35MM]