Theodoros Angelopoulos's considerable achievements in cinema during the 1970s and 1980s have made him not only the most important Greek filmmaker to date, but one of the truly creative and original artists of his time. In 1970 he convinced producer George Papalios to finance his first film, Anaparastassi. The story follows the pattern of a crime tale ? la James Cain. A Greek peasant is killed by his wife and her lover on his return from Germany, where he had gone to find work.
For all the critical attention (and furious critical controversy) his work occasioned over half a century, Luis Bu?uel resisted our best taxonomical efforts. To begin with, while no artist of this century strikes one as more quintessentially Spanish than Bu?uel, how can one apply the term ?Spanish filmmaker? to a man whose oeuvre is far more nearly identified with France and Mexico than with the land of his birth?
George Cukor's films range from classics like Greta Garbo's Camille, to Adam's Rib with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, to the Judy Garland musical A Star Is Born. Throughout the years he managed to ?weather the changes in public taste and the pressures of the Hollywood studio system without compromising his style, his taste, or his ethical standards,? as his honorary degree from Loyola University of Chicago is inscribed. Indeed, Cukor informed each of the stories he brought to the screen with his affectionately critical view of humanity.
If influence on the development of world cinema is the criterion, then Jean-Luc Godard is certainly the most important filmmaker of the past thirty years; he is also one of the most problematic.
Emir Kusturica's films are concerned with a universal humanism. While they come out of a specific part of the world?in which the political situation plays no small role in affecting his characters' lives?they are timeless stories in that they deal with basic human needs, wants, desires, feelings, and experiences.
In the scramble for space and fame that became the nouvelle vague, Louis Malle began with more hard experience than Godard, Truffaut, or Chabrol, and he showed in Ascenseur pour l'chafaud that his instincts for themes and collaborators were faultless. Henri Deca?'s low-light photography and Malle's use of Jeanne Moreau established him as emblematic of the new French cinema. But the Cahiers trio with their publicist background made artistic hay while Malle persisted in a more intimate voyage of discovery with his lovely star.
Between the years 1942 and 1957, English director Michael Powell and his Hungarian partner, Emeric Pressburger, formed one of the most remarkable partnerships in cinema. Under the collaborative pseudonym ?The Archers,? the two created a series of highly visual and imaginative treatments of romantic and supernatural themes that have defied easy categorization by film historians.
Agn?s Varda?s startlingly individualistic films have earned her the title ?grandmother of the New Wave? of French filmmaking. Her statement that a filmmaker must exercise as much freedom as a novelist became a mandate for New Wave directors, especially Chris Marker and Alain Resnais. Varda?s first film, La Pointe courte, edited by Resnais, is regarded, as Georges Sadoul affirms, as "the first film of the French nouvelle vuage. Its interplay between conscience, emotions, and the real world make it a direct antecedent of Hiroshima, mon amour"
Of the three young German filmmakers who achieved the greatest international fame in the 1970s as the vanguard of a German New Wave, Wim Wenders had perhaps a less radical though no less distinctive film style than his compatriots R. W. Fassbinder and Werner Herzog.