Disclaimer: this topic shouldn’t be taken too seriously. ;)
if you had to take a wild guess who do you think the smartest directors are/were in an analytical sense? You don’t need to justify your choices. This isn’t about who you favorite directors are, or who you think are objectively the best.
Of course there are a number of directors I’m unfamiliar with, but based on the ones whose films I’ve seen, interviews and books I’ve read: Kubrick, Welles, Tarantino, Tarkovsky, Polanski.
One thing I’ve noticed with Tarantino is he has a great memory, but from what I’ve read I can’t help but think he’s an idiot.
Jean Renoir has always impressed me in interviews. I’ve picked up his book about his father but haven’t read it yet. Hopefully it’s good!
I’d definitely go with Kubrick, Welles and Godard. I’d also include Antonioni, Hitchcock, Fincher, Ridley Scott, Bertolucci, Scorsese, Fassbinder, and Ozu.
Yes, Godard and Scorsese are good ones, and both notable for having that great memory for film and film history combined with smarts.
Maybe Teshigahara as well.
His IQ has been measured at genius level (his 160 score puts him in the 99.991st percentile), and he comes off as very sharp in interviews.
I remember reading somewhere that once your IQ surpasses I believe 90, there’s no correlation whatsoever between iq and artistic talent/ability/skill, whatever you want to call it. Bunuel certainly wasn’t bookish.
Not to me, Kate. I’ve always found his Rolling Thunders Pictures introductions shallow, and same goes for the many interviews I’ve seen of his. This is an opinion I’ve held since I was a teenager, and before he made any movies that made me want to vomit, so it’s not a reaction to someone I simply dislike. Even when I was a fan and awaited his next output I cringed watching him talk about movies.
Renoir on the other hand….
There’s also the interesting interview with Eric Rohmer, and Henri Langlois talking about the Lumiere films.
I obtained it from Karagarga.
Not that there’s anything wrong with a difference of opinion. I like this thread as I hope it leads to more interesting videos for me to check out! I think I stumbled upon the ones I posted above on this site, actually.
I’m going to need to see a source for that kate.
@Renault — I totally disagree. The ability to problem solve is incredibly important in directing. It would also be really hard if not impossible to prove that relationship you mention.
@Malik — looking for one now.
Eh, maybe you’re right Kate, but what I wanted to say to begin with is that it requires intelligence to be a great director, but being intelligent doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be a great artist. Tarantino, Ridley Scott, Scorsese, and Aronofsky are all cases in point. Essentially, it seems moot to discuss who the smartest directors are if what we have in mind are the truly great filmmakers, since they’re probably all smart to begin with, even if they’re not all intellectuals. Bunuel, for example, was obviously smart and artistically talented, but he wasn’t very intellectual from what I hear. You can be intelligent without being a genuine intellectual, but not the other way around.
Has an IQ of 160 despite dropping out of high school.
Eh, maybe you’re right Kate, but what I wanted to say to begin with is that it requires intelligence to be a great director, but being intelligent doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be a great artist.
Of course not, but I happen to think Tarantino and Scorsese are both great artists (when they’re on) and Ridley Scott is also great at his best, although it comes much less frequently. I’m referring to analytical ability, not intellectuality
Crispin Glover. I’m glad I remembered that one. :)
@Renault — I also don’t think the question of intelligence is irrelevant when it comes to directing, because, as I said, problem solving is the main thing directors do. It seems pretty relevant to me. Kubrick’s interview about the importance of problem solving in film:
That Ferrara-O’Brien interview is priceless.
JLG is ridiculously smart, or he’s a complete charlatan. Most likely the former if you read how he made “Breathless”.
Also, Scorsese when it comes to history,
Yeah, thanks for posting that, Kurt.
“as I said, problem solving is the main thing directors do.”
It’s something directors do, but the main thing?
I dunno. JLG has said some stupid shit. I think he’s more pompous than brilliant.
If you watch QT’s interviews it becomes clear that for most of them, he is on message to sell his films, for instance alot of interviews conducted before Inglourious Bsterds. He is also on message about his process, IMO he sells the idea of himself as a writer,and therefore an artist that should be taken seriously quite a bit. I get the feeling he is brilliant at selling himself, and also has an intuition regarding what should be in films from watching so many- yet he is definetly not a multifaceted intelligence like other directors.
I personally think he is gay,not that there is anything wrong with it EXCEPT that he won’t come out!
Disagree about Scorsese. He comes off more knowledgeable than smart per se. I think that, with the exception of maybe Altman and Bogo, the new Hollywood directors don’t generally come off as being too bright, at least compared to their European contemporaries, they are just talented guys. I could be mistaken of course.
Tarantino may be intelligent, but he lacks wisdom to me. I find him totally boring to read and watch nowadays. He just seems quite regressed and immature for a man of his age.
Like Maud said, he is an exceptional salesman.
Greenaway(Few directors can compete with his knowledge and understanding of the visual arts imo)
James Gray(he is quite well read)
i’m sure there are plenty that i’ve left out.
Yeah, James Gray seems pretty bright.
I don’t know how smart Greenaway is, but he’s such a pompous, arrogant ass in interviews that it’s hard for me to take him seriously.
Live hard, die young and leave a good lookin corpse.
John Frankenheimer, Joseph Mankiewicz, and Stanley Donen sharp as razors.
Mel Brooks and Stanley Kramer had something on the ball, apparently.
Blake Edwards, David Lean, Alexander Mackendrick, and Charlie Chaplin conveyed a similar kind of intellect and astute judgement, apart from their very excellent filmmaking smarts.
Sidney Pollack, Arthur Penn and Mike Nichols qualify as smart guys.
Roman Polanski and Peter Bogdanovich strike me as A students, or at least capable of being that. Steven Soderbergh and Wes Anderson maybe the same.
Richard Lester and Stanley Kubrick seem like exceptional thinkers, at times.
Billy Wilder, John Huston, and Orson Welles were just brilliant. Alfred Hitchcock was right in there behind them.
I wouldn’t want to play any IQ parlour games with the Coen Brothers.
Tarantino has a firm grasp of the obvious, a taste for the purely scintillating, and was just fortunate enough to arrive on the scene when a furious ambition and lack of restraint could be passed off as artistic passion and creative vision. His photographic memory of VHS tapes he rented to customers way back when has been confused with film scholarship. I have never heard him utter a new thought or insight about a single film or director.
Chris Marker. Fassbinder.
You are right though this is a non serious- thread. For me, one of the beauties of film is how all of these many variables come togethor- the director being only one (obviously very significant) factor. I do think a director has to be pretty smart even to get off first base and make a film but there are other qualities they must have to be successful. Although Renoir was obviously smart, he also obviously knew how to get the best out of his actors and actresses- at least from what I have read, they all seemed to adore him. Perhaps you could make a list of qualties that are needed or something.