WHO, IN YOUR OPINION, IS THE GREATEST AMERICAN DIRECTOR WORKING TODAY? ------------------------------------ I'm going to go way out on a limb here, but I think Clint Eastwood is the greatest American director working today. I suppose I make this claim because he doesn't put himself between his camera and his subject, he doesn't need to worry about placing his "personal stamp" on his films in a visual sense - his personal authority comes through in the material and themes he chooses to tackle. Restraint is his hallmark -- not hellzapoppin camera moves, or pretentious attempts at auteurist gimmickry. If Scorsese is on one side of the spectrum, trying to invent new ways to expand film language, Eastwood is absolutely on the other, using the existing language of film to probe honestly into the American experience, without auteurist distraction. Flaubert once said, "An author in his work must be like God in the universe - present everywhere, visible nowhere". That's Eastwood, and I love him for it. I so admire his work, especially his quirky personal films, like Bronco Billy and Honkytonk Man. I think A Perfect World is one of the most underappreciated movies in recent memory (as well as the film that contains Kevin Costner's best work on screen), and yes - I'll even admit admiration for Bridges of Madison County, a beautiful, gentle tragedy. I don't think his performance in his White Hunter, Black Heart worked for me when I saw it back in 1990 or so, but even then I admired his bravery to try such a large character piece, and I liked the film. Outlaw Josey Wales, Play Misty for Me, Perfect World, Honkytonk Man, Bird, Unforgiven, Mystic River -- it's an incredible body of work, one that any young film student would do well to study. So that's my choice. I also admire Mike Nichols for his quiet profesionalism, and Martin Scorsese for opposite reasons -- I admire Scorsese because he has the nerve to make "Scorsese films" in the first place. Spielberg is a neo-classicist, a modern craftsman that transcends Alfred Hitchcock and Walt Disney when he's working on all cylinders (like the spider sequence of Minority Report). The 90's have been littered with Scorsese wannnabes with loud mouths and post-modern body counts -- I don't need to lost their names, you know who I'm talking about. What I miss are the John Fords, the pros like Robert Wise...I also miss the ability for films to be quiet. Perhaps that's why I refuse to pan Robert Zemeckis as a director, because his Contact and Cast Away are two of the best directed modern films I've ever seen, not just visually, but sonically. Those who make the most nise get the most attention...but the most seen does not mean the most deserving. There are other great American directors (Coppola - Francis, anyway), but Eastwood is my pick for #1. Yours?