Sunday, March 4, 2012

2011 Pretentious Film Awards - Best Director

And the nominees are...

Nicolas Winding Refn – Drive
Refn's stylistic exercise rests completely on his direction—his control over tone, his ability to guide his actors through what is not exactly the most verbose of pieces. He rises to the occasion admirably. Other directors tackling action, whether it's a first-time foray or a return to the genre should take note.

Lars von Trier – Melancholia
Puts his misanthropy and angry fatalism to good use, making an effective, lush and beautiful mood piece that operates as an actorly showcase and displays his unmatched talent with powerful, visual storytelling.  Few of his films fail to say "Only Lars could make this." A true auteur working at peak form.

Steve McQueen – Shame
McQueen's sophomore effort flirts dangerously between being an actor's exercise and a truly narrative experience, but his touch is so deft here, drawing the most out of his actors, his location and his subject matter to craft an incredibly arresting and haunting piece of cinema.

Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life
A tone poem, like Malick's previous four films. Yes it's problematic (the most problematic of all of Malick's films to date), but crafted so lovingly and so specifically that one cannot deny its power. He tackles the birth and death of the universe, as well as the fecund period in between with his signature eye for location and ear for tone. Ethereal, wistful and beautiful through and through.

Lynne Ramsay – We Need to Talk About Kevin
It's hard to watch We Need to Talk About Kevin and not imagine The Lovely Bones that could have been (Ramsay was originally slated to direct the film before the project was wrested away from her). Here, she does what few filmmakers can accomplish—taking a novel, adapting it recognizably yet still giving it her artistic, personal stamp. Let's just hope we don't have to wait nine years for the next Ramsay film. (her previous film was 2002's excellent Morvern Callar)