Low-budget auteurs
December 30, 2006 6:52 PM   Subscribe

I really love the works of low-budget auteurs like Hal Hartley, Gregg Araki, and Jim Jarmusch (also, although they don't fit so much in the low-budget category, Richard Linklater and War-Kong Wei). Are there any other auteurs out there whose movies I should watch? To refine your suggestions, I'm not looking for classic directors like Godard or Bergman, or big names like Wenders or Greenaway or Tarantino or Von Trier. I'm interested in learning about directors who are not big names. Basically, I'm looking for interesting young directors whose films are available on DVD but have not emerged into the national spotlight.
posted by jayder to Media & Arts (25 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Whoops, I meant Wong Kar-Wai.
posted by jayder at 6:56 PM on December 30, 2006

jem cohen! his work is really great, a link to his web site: http://www.jemcohenfilms.com/CMS/ most of his work is distributed by video data bank in chicago.
also, an older but still working director, chris marker would be up yr alley i think. search for la jetee on google video. here is a very good article on him also:
posted by ethel at 7:17 PM on December 30, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Cool, ethel. Both of those suggestions are exactly the sort of thing I am looking for ... and by the way, I did not mean to suggest that I'm only looking for young directors, although I supposed that the ones I had not heard of would be young.
posted by jayder at 7:25 PM on December 30, 2006

Despite your request, I'm going to make a couple of big director suggestions, but with a caveat; Their really early work, the stuff that most people have no idea that they did: Stephen Norrington (of Blade and League of Extraordinary Gent's) did a fantastic movie called Death Machine, Peter Jackson (LotR and King Kong, natch) cut his teeth with Bad Taste, the shockingly tasteless Meet the Feebles, and the absolutely brilliant Brain Dead. Robert Rodriguez (Sin City), of course did El Mariachi and Desperado. And obviously Sam Raimi (Spiderman 1 &2) did Evil Dead, but how many people know about Within the Woods, a short he did which is yet another permutation on his theme of getting trapped in the woods and having evil on your tail?

Not exactly what you are looking for, I know. But not everyone knows about some of these gems, and it seemed like a good place to air them out.
posted by quin at 7:28 PM on December 30, 2006

You might like the movies of Whit Stillman; he might have emerged into the national spotlight at some point but since it's now 8 years since his last movie it's safe to say he's retreated back into the, um, non-spotlight? Metropolitan, his first movie, is the no-budget classic, but his other two movies, with slightly higher production values and some name actors, are equally good. Probably best to watch them in order; The Last Days of Disco is beautifully elegiac and it'd be weird to go back afterwards and watch the others.
posted by escabeche at 7:28 PM on December 30, 2006

David Gordon Green, who directed All The Real Girls.

Lucky McGee directed May and The Woods, two interesting horror movies.

Whit Stillman.

Rian Johnson's Brick was inventive.
posted by nicwolff at 7:28 PM on December 30, 2006

You are probably aware of the Dardenne bothers, but I will mention them anyway. They are now on the international radar, since two of their films have won the Palme d'Or. Their films are low-budget (or at least they appear low-budget), realistic, and raw. They often use handheld cameras, little or no music, and their films are usually about young people on the fringes of society. I become very absorbed in their movies.
posted by LoriFLA at 7:38 PM on December 30, 2006

oh and these guys are a little more goofy, but very talented and very low budget, the Kuchar brothers, George and Mike. I especially love George's "weather diaries."

also, anything by herk harvey, jacques tourneur or edgar g. ulmer, really great low budget noir/horror b-movie directors who are really talented. i think they all have wikipedia entries...
posted by ethel at 7:48 PM on December 30, 2006

Bertrand Bonello, Arnaud Desplechin, Hou Hsiao Hsien, Jafar Panahi, Xavier Beauvois, Bruno Dumont...

Older :

Abbas Kiarostami, Jean Eustache, Claire Denis, Philippe Garrel, Manoel de Oliveira...

And others I forget.

Some are hard to find... They're not big big names but they're great...
posted by amusem at 8:01 PM on December 30, 2006

Junebug by Phil Morrison was my favorite film last year. I believe it was made for a couple million. Definately check out the aforementioned All The Real Girls by Terrence Malick David Gordon Greene. It's flawed but very beautiful.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:17 PM on December 30, 2006

I have no idea about budgets, but you might check out:

Ming-liang Tsai and Zhang Ke Jia.
posted by juiceCake at 9:46 PM on December 30, 2006

Junebug by Phil Morrison was my favorite film last year.

Seconded. Terrific film.
posted by trip and a half at 10:06 PM on December 30, 2006

I recently saw Chan is Missing by Wayne Wang. Although it's not particularly recent, it seems to fit most of your criteria.
posted by concrete at 10:15 PM on December 30, 2006

Henry Jaglom
Nick Gomez (currently immersed in TV)
Maybe Abel Ferrara
posted by rhizome at 12:42 AM on December 31, 2006

Shane Meadows is definitely worth investigating. In particular TwentyFourSeven, A Room For Romeo Brass and Dead Man's Shoes.

His upcoming "Skinhead" movie - Made In Britain - is getting excellent advance reviews.
posted by coach_mcguirk at 4:27 AM on December 31, 2006

Oh, and how about Michael Winterbottom?

He's since moved into slightly higher budget territory, but some of his earlier movies (in particular Butterfly Kiss and Wonderland are worth investigating with regard to the original post.
posted by coach_mcguirk at 4:41 AM on December 31, 2006

Lukas Moodysson

Also seconding the Dardenne Brothers.
posted by fire&wings at 6:02 AM on December 31, 2006

lately i've been really into the films of pen-ek ratanaruang and guy maddin...
posted by MonkNoiz at 8:36 AM on December 31, 2006

Monte Hellman has directed several fantastic low budget films and has proven to be a major influence on Jim Jarmusch, Hal Hartley, and Quentin Tarantino. His best films are currently OOP on dvd, but Netflix carries a few and apparently Criterion will be releasing their own version soon...

Alan Clarke was a really powerful British low budget filmmaker that made low-budget and BBC tele-films with Tim Roth, Ray Winstone, and Gary Oldman that are amazing. A boxset of several of the directors films are available at Netflix

Frank Perry made several great low budget films in the '60s and '70s.

Seijun Suzuki is one of the greatest filmmakers ever and made low budget films for the Japanese studios. After making several strange Nippon-noir masterpieces he was eventually fired from Nikkatsu Studios for BRANDED TO KILL - a film that is a major influence on Jim Jarmusch's GHOST DOG....

I would also second David Gordon Green and Abel Ferrara
posted by cinemafiend at 11:03 AM on December 31, 2006

Maybe not exactly a 'young' director, but wanted to throw in the name of Mike Leigh - didn't see it listed anywhere. Interesting dark images of contemporary England - 'Naked' has to be seen to be appreciated.
posted by rmm at 11:26 AM on December 31, 2006

Todd Solondz is a favorite of mine.
posted by hifiparasol at 3:10 PM on December 31, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone, for all these kick-ass suggestions. I'd love to mark favorites, but everyone is a winner here. I'm not trying to close up the discussion, so keep the suggestions coming if you have any. Most of these directors I haven't heard of, but just as helpful are the answers that remind me to watch works by some directors I have heard of.
posted by jayder at 7:05 PM on December 31, 2006

Response by poster: Another director that just popped into my mind, who sort of represents the type of quirky vision I am interested in, is Caveh Zahedi, who appears in cartoon form in Linklater's Waking Life, and is known for his films I Am a Sex Addict (Google video link) and Tripping with Caveh (Google video link).
posted by jayder at 7:10 PM on December 31, 2006

The Magician by Scott Ryan. Fantastic film and definitely someone to keep an eye on.

A friend of Jarmusch's is Aki Kaurismäki (he even makes a cameo appearance in the genius that is Leningrad Cowboys Go America.) Aki's brother, Mika, is worth checking out as well.

There are quite a few really interesting young directors coming out of Finland now, so if you get a chance give it a try...
posted by slimepuppy at 4:35 AM on January 1, 2007

I'm not awake enough to think of directors, but Mr. Mostly (a rabid Jarmusch and Hartley fan) suggested a couple of films:

Next Stop Wonderland
Junebug (Oscar nomination aside, it's rather Hartley-esque)
Wintersleepers (an early Tom Tykwer)
Celebration and Mifune (the only Dogma 95 films he really likes)
Personal Velocity
Boondock Saints

And, as as gimme, Little Miss Sunshine.

He wanted me to mention that although these might not be the most complicated, cerebral films, they're ones that he enjoys in the same way he digs Henry Fool and Ghost Dog.
posted by mostlymartha at 11:25 AM on January 1, 2007

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