Directors: Life Behind the Camera
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Here is what Martin Scorsese has to say about working with actors: "They're your whole movie; their faces, you know, how they just literally ignite the frame, their emotion, you can't fake it, you can't paint it, you have to deal with the humanity of it, and the humanity of the actor". And that's it. I can't believe that's all he has to say on the subject. James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, they all say about two or three sentences and that's it. And it doesn't feel like a complete answer or thought, it feels like a tiny excerpt from a much larger and more interesting discussion.
This DVD is the definition of superficial. It claims to have been created from over 300 hours worth of interviews... what a wasted opportunity.
It is, in fact, a series of short clips from interviews conducted by, I presume, the American Film Institute with thirty-three major motion picture directors. They include Robert Altman, Tim Burton, James Cameron, Jonathan Demme, Clint Eastwood, Nora Ephron, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Oliver Stone and many others. These interviews are enhanced with occasional film clips and on-camera remarks from various actors and other folk with whom these directors have worked (e.g. Kevin Bacon, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Leslie Nielsen, Roy Scheider, etc.)
The two-disc set is totally interactive. The viewer chooses a topic, such as "Everyone Has to Start Somewhere," or "The Art of Writing and Choosing Scripts," or "The Care and Feeding of Actors," or "Will the Industry Survive," then he can either decided to listen to all of the responses to that subject, or just select the directors that interest him.
Although most of the answers are interesting and informative, many are only a sentence of two long and don't really add much to the discussion. I think this package would have benefited greatly from the services of an experienced editor and a narrator, both of whom could have woven this worthy material into a much more involving presentation.
© Michael B. Druxman
Produced in conjunction with the American Film Institute this DVD includes four hours of interviews culled from over 300 hours recorded in 2006 with 33 well known Directors. (only Francis Ford Coppola - and his daughter, Sofia- seem to be missing). Sure, we've love to see all 300 hours, but that would probably be cost prohibitive - and onlt the true scholar would have time to watch them.)
The interviews are grouped by "subject" - which the DVD's Director thinks of as "answers to questions". The background question is titled "Everyone has to start somewhere", Choosing actors for roles is titled "The Care and Feeding of Actors", and so on. There are seven categories in total. Not all of the 33 Directors are featured in each segment but they all appear in the background one and "One of Your Most Compelling Films", which is at the hear of the DVD and the longest segment. If that section alone was available, it would be a must own!
The Directors range from veterans like William Friedkin (The French Connection), Robert Altman (MASH), and Martin Scorsese (Mean Streets) to the new crop of "hot Directors" such as Tim Burton, Spike Lee and Bryan Singer. James Cameron is here too but, since the interviews are pre-2006, there is no mention of Avatar and his other recent projects. Sadly quite a few of the older Directors are now deceased so its great that their comments are preserved. Nearly all are excellent conversationalists and their stories will keep you interested.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Menu for watching individual answers makes this easy to watch and fun to explore. Answers are more anecdotal and less about insight into the process of film making. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Eric Lankford
interesting to get directors perspectives but felt they were brief in their comments.... if on the Directors Guild program---could ask questions . Read morePublished 8 months ago by REEL RELIEF
This is an unbelievably poor excuse for a documentary. You spend more time looking at your remote instead of the content in order to move from one shallow short clip to another. Read morePublished on March 11, 2014 by Teddy S. Stotler
Great to hear about the inner workings of a movie. we really enjoyed watching this dvd. If you are a movie lover, this is for you.Published on December 30, 2013 by Karen Johnson
A real disappointment! Dozens of very short statements that say absolutely nothing. Should have concentrated on one or two directors rather than 33.Published on December 28, 2013 by George B. Purdy
This is a very nice look behind what goes on in movie making with several great directors giving their input.Published on October 2, 2013 by Bobette Campbell
I loved the content of this film. It's incredibly helpful to hear all these directors talk about their paths in the industry, and lightly how their lives are effected by it... Read morePublished on April 29, 2013 by Rastein
The DVD isn't what is says it is. There is no real insight into what these directors do behind camera. No tips or tricks. Read morePublished on June 5, 2012 by Film student
DIRECTORS is very informative with the authenticity from the point of view from some of the most celebrated film directors in the last several decades. Read morePublished on April 23, 2012 by T. Johnson