Would film critics make good Directors?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Stevan Lay, Jun 28, 2002.

  1. Stevan Lay

    Stevan Lay Second Unit

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    I ask this hypothetical question in response to some of the recent and archived movie reviews I've been reading up on. Those renown critics such as Ebert, Travis, Maltin, Berardinelli, and the likes seems to know that makes a good film or a particular scenes great so this got me thinking if whether they had the ingenuity to translate that creativity into film direction. How hypocritical would they be? Are some cliches unavaoidable? How would they have told it differently? Who would they cast?

    In contrast, we have some of the most talented and respected directors who are great exponents of film and film-making. Some were film students while others were students of film who would often deliver their critiques. For example, Spielberg, Tarantino, Scorsese, Stone, & Aronofsky.

    So given the situation (good script), would film critics make good directors? If so, who?
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    It's a completely different set of skills. Film criticism usually involves writing of some sort, and writing is a solitary activity. Film direction involves interacting with, steering, managing, cajoling a great number of people, which is why it's frequently been a great subject for comedy (most recent example: State and Main). Good directors and good critics probably share a common appreciation for what makes a good film, but I doubt most of them could do each other's jobs.

    M.
     
  3. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    The Cahier boys all were film critics and then became good-to-great directors: Eric Rohmer, Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, Claude Chabrol, etc, but this critic-to-director phenomenon seems to have only happened in France.
     
  4. Eric M Jones

    Eric M Jones Second Unit

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    I believe Rob Lurie director of The Contender and The Last Castle was a film critic prior to becoming a director. He's done alright for himself.
     
  5. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I was thinking of Lurie when I said "most". From what I've read about him, I suspect he'd be the first to confirm that the skill sets are very different.
    The Cahiers crowd was an interesting anomaly. I can't think of any other occasion when publishing a critical journal served as the launching pad for so many careers as filmmakers. (Not only did it happen only in France, but it also only happened once. [​IMG] ) If I remember correctly, most of that group always wanted to direct, but founded Cahiers because they couldn't (or didn't want to) participate in the existing French film industry. If I'm remembering this wrong -- it's been a long time -- I'm sure someone will correct me.
    M.
     
  6. Bill McA

    Bill McA Producer

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    Actually, the French Cahiers example was not an isolated incident.
    In 1950/1960s England, several writers created their own magazine of film theory and criticism called "Sequence".
    These writers then went on to become famous and influential film directors, creating films of social consciousness commonly known as "British kitchen-sink dramas".
    These directors included:
    Lindsay Anderson (...If, O Lucky Man!, Britannia Hospital, This Sporting Life)
    Karel Reisz (Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Morgan, The French Lietenant's Woman)
    Tony Richardson (Look Back in Anger, The Entertainer, A Taste of Honey, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Tom Jones)
    Their influence on British (and International) cinema was just as important as those of the French Cahiers writers.
     
  7. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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    I think that Directors and Critics have different POVs on filmmaking.

    Directors have to look at the big picture: will the public like it, can it be marketed, can I appease the actors, etc.

    Critics care only about the artistic quality: was the acting good, was it well written, was it in good taste, etc.

    Critics would make amazing movies if they really tried and had good source material, but they wouldn't be that popular because they would see them more as pieces of art than films for the public.

    So would they make good directors? Probably.
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  9. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    I'd still go back to what Michael Reuben said:
     
  10. Morgan Jolley

    Morgan Jolley Lead Actor

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  11. Mark Palermo

    Mark Palermo Second Unit

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    I've always wanted to make films (probably since before I ever saw one), and at age 19 lucked into getting a job reviewing films for an alternative paper. It was never my intention to be a critic, but now that I'm 23 it's still what I'm doing. Though I agree that the talents of recognizing and creating aren't one and the same, I feel that having spent the past three years evaluating film art has given me a better sense of what things to focus on once I finally get the director's ball rolling.

    Mark
     
  12. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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    I belive Dario Argento, was also a film critic before he became a writer, then director.
     
  13. Bill McA

    Bill McA Producer

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  14. Stevan Lay

    Stevan Lay Second Unit

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  15. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I was reminded of this thread today, as I watched Woody Allen's film crew take over my neighborhood. A shop around the corner is being used for a scene in his latest film (title undisclosed as always). My block and several others have effectively been turned into parking lots for the caravan of production vehicle, and a small army of assistants with walkie-talkies is patrolling the blocks above and below the shop in question, holding back pedestrians as necessary, relocating onlookers from spots that may be in-shot, and generally chattering back and forth.

    Meanwhile, there are two camera rigs with their attendant crews, a craft services set-up, and a wide assortment of what I assume are lighting technicians, grips, etc. etc.

    I caught a glimpse of Allen in the distance, but no one else that I could recognize. (I've been much closer to Allen when he's not directing; he and Soon-Yi live about 15 blocks north of me, and I used to pass them walking their baby on a regular basis.) But I tried to imagine what it must feel like to be in charge of what had to be at least 70 people, all of them on the clock and all of them needing to be coordinated to get a single shot that will probably last no more than 30 seconds on the screen.

    If I have time tomorrow, I can head a short distance north and try to catch a glimpse of Boaz Yakin (Remember the Titans) directing a new movie with Brittany Murphy and Dakota Fanning. They're using one of the museums, and there are signs all over the neighborhood warning residents.

    M.
     
  16. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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    Stevan, I hate to quote myself (especially since the sentence is awkwardly written now that I look at it), but I also said:
     
  17. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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  18. Mark Pfeiffer

    Mark Pfeiffer Screenwriter

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  19. Jon D

    Jon D Stunt Coordinator

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    Personally, I'd love to see either Roeper or Mr. Cranky make a movie [​IMG]
     
  20. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    I'd like to see Roeper sell real estate.
     

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