Dee Rees at the Gotham Awards.
Photo by Brian Brooks. Dee Rees at the Gotham Awards.

The New York Times has named "20 Directors to watch," with film critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott making the selection from a crop of international filmmakers.

The critics note that this is an exciting time for cinema: "The good news is that, despite occasional critical claims to the contrary, the quality of contemporary cinema is as exciting as the quantity is intimidating. Filmmakers around the world are making movies that blur the boundaries between documentary and fiction, personal reflection and social advocacy, conventional narrative and radical experimentation."

FUTURES | "Weekend" Director Andrew Haigh
"Weekend" director Andrew Haigh at SXSW. Photo by Brian Brooks.

Their list of "20 Directors to Watch" features: Dee Rees, Pablo Larrain, Andrew Bujalski, Yorgos Lanthimos, Corneliu Porumboiu, Joachim Trier, Sarah Polley, Alison Klayman, Matias Pineiro, J.C. Chando, Sebastian Silva, Benh Zeitlin, Na Hong-jin, Barry Jenkins, Andrew Haigh, Maren Ade, Malik Benjelloul, Terence Nance, Lixin Fan and Mia Hansen-Love.

Although Dargis and Scott noted that although they "weren’t looking for diversity, even if we happily found it: 25 percent of our directors, for instance, are women, well above the American average. Fewer than half are North American. Male or female, black or white, Londoners or Brooklynites, these 20 do not represent a school, a movement or a generational cohort. What they do represent is the persistence of personal vision and the resilience of cinema, which in its second century remains a young art form with a bright future."

The directors on the list hail from Chile, Canada, Romania, China, and South Korea, among other places, leading Dargis and Scott to note, "The sensibilities of these filmmakers are in some cases intensely local, but their work over all also reflects the cosmopolitanism of transnational financing, the international festival circuit and a shrinking world."

The critics caution that "like most lists, this one is necessarily, and cheerfully, subjective. (We’re critics, after all.) The only rules we made are that the filmmakers had to be 40 or younger, and that both of us had to be enthusiastic about all the selections."

Click here to see the full list, which also features interviews with the directors.