01 The Directors à la Andrew Sarris

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Author Comments: 

In 1968 Andrew Sarris published his groundbreaking study The American Cinema: Directors and Directions, 1929 - 1968. This list has absolutely no pretention to compete with Sarris' book. I just thought it would be fun to use the same categories, although I don't limit myself to the American cinema. More so, there are loads and loads of directors I can't include since I haven't seen enough of their films.
Within each category the directors are listed alphabetically, a ranking of the directors can be found here. And yet another kind of list.

Sarris' definitions:

PANTHEON DIRECTORS: These are the directors who have transcended their technical problems with a personal vision of the world. To speak any of their names is to evoke a self-contained world with its own laws and landscapes. They were also fortunate enough to find the proper conditions and collaborators for the full expression of their talent.

THE FAR SIDE OF PARADISE: These are the directors who fall short of the Pantheon either because of a fragmentation of their personal vision or because of disruptive career problems.

EXPRESSIVE ESOTERICA: These are the unsung directors with difficult styles or unfashionable genres or both. Their deeper virtues are often obscured by irritating idiosyncrasies on the surface, but they are generally redeemed by their seriousness and grace.

LIGHTLY LIKEABLE: These are talented but uneven directors with the saving grace of unpretentiousness.

LESS THAN MEETS THE EYE: These are the directors with reputations in excess of inspirations. In retrospect, it always seems that the personal signatures to their films were written with invisible ink.

STRAINED SERIOUSNESS: These are talented but uneven directors with the mortal sin of pretentiousness.

ODDITIES, ONE SHOTS, AND NEWCOMERS: These are the eccentrics, the exceptions and the expectants, the fallen stars and the shooting stars. They defy more precise classification by their very nature.

SUBJECTS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH: These are the directors whose work must be more fully evaluated before any final determination of the American cinema is possible. There may be other unknown quantities as well, but this list will serve for the moment as a reminder of the gaps.

MISCELLANY: Sarris did not give an description, but They Shoot Pictures, Don't They have a sensible definition: assumedly, all directors that didn't quite fit into one of the above categories.

I did not include FRINGE BENEFITS ("These directors occupied such a marginal role in the American cinema that it would be unfair to their overall reputations to analyze them in this limited context in any detail."), since I don't limit myself to American cinema, nor MAKE WAY FOR THE CLOWNS ("These are the most conspicuous of the non-directorial auteurs, and, as such, they cannot be subsumed under any directorial style. They are ultimately the funniest footnotes to the auteur theory"), since it is not about directors.