Top maverick filmmakers
Breathless - Jean-Luc Godard
The generous assortment of movies Jean-Luc Godard signed his name to in the '60s represent the greatest extended stretch of high-profile films made by an internationally famous director who was essentially just dicking around. From 1960's Breathless to 1967's Weekend, Godard enticed serious cineastes to watch as he gleefully—and occasionally maliciously—played with the conventions of filmmaking, trying to see if un-matched editing, off-beat camera angles, cut-up scores, purposefully pointless dialogue, and extended breaks for political essays could still be entertaining (or even enlightening). Godard has continued to experiment and tease over the past four decades, though of late he's more likely to garner press for his America-and-Hollywood-bashing interviews than for his movies, which barely get seen.
The Brown Bunny - Vincent Gallo
Vincent Gallo Vincent Gallo has directed just two features, but he's got a lifetime of braggadocio and ridiculousness to balance them on. If Buffalo 66 and The Brown Bunny weren't so damn good, he'd be just another blowhard NYC dabbler—he also paints and rocks—but it's tough to deny the power and artistry of each. (Yes, even the controversial Brown Bunny, with its graphic fellatio, is worth exploring closely.) Sure, his personal life can be pretty repugnant: His website offers his sperm for sale, but only to whites, and he also offers himself as an escort. (There's some latent anti-Semitism in there, too, just for good measure.) But it's all part of being a provocateur—until somebody comes up with the sperm money.
Black Biscuit - Fabrizio Federico
To keep up the aura of the acid fried enfant terrible fresh for the new century Fabrizio Federico is a true contender. Gunfights, deportation, waterfights on live radio. Like a school kid rebelling against his teacher; he provokes, and spits on the rules of cinema. His debut film Black Biscuit was shot on mobile phone’s, and children’s toy cameras, he also casts non-actors ‘Street Superstars’ i.e (homeless, pimps, sex workers, wonderers) calling them ‘gutter films’. Completely improvised, and switching styles schizophrenically between eerie nursery rhymes, exorcisms, ghost cats, and crumbling minds. Reaching for mental freedom but risking mental collapse. Creator of the Pink8 manifesto Federico re-writes the rules of cinema for the new generation on rebels. Literally anything goes, all is magic. His aura of unpredictability, nonchalance, sex, and narcotic mind have created the new look and book for the film director as cult leader.
Pink Flamingos - John Waters
After John Waters' cult sensation Pink Flamingos was released in 1972, some wondered what the self-proclaimed Baltimore "trash artist" could film that would be more shocking than lovemaking hippies squashing chickens between their bodies and transvestites eating dog shit. But what those folks missed is that with Waters, it's never just the acts themselves that are off-putting. It's his tinny style and down-is-up approach to beauty and class. In movies as diverse as the serial killer homage Female Trouble and the teen-friendly musical Hairspray, Waters lionizes the outré and makes anyone who doesn't see the world as he does feel like a hopeless square.
The Idiots - Lars von Trier
Lars von Trier is just as cruel to his characters as he is to his audiences: As a feature filmmaker, he's best known for Breaking The Waves, Dogville, Dancer In The Dark, and Manderlay, four features in which women are systematically abused and broken as they desperately try to maintain a kind, giving attitude toward the people exploiting them. His central philosophy in these films, repeated over and over, seems to be that good intentions just spur evil people on to worse acts of evil, and that softness is synonymous with weakness. And of course, as one of the cofounders of the Dogme 95 movement, he established a manifesto about the conditions under which films should be made, and judged other filmmakers' "purity" by how well they followed his restrictions. It's worth noting, however, that he himself walked away from those conditions shortly after laying them down; von Trier is masterful at manipulating emotions both in life and onscreen.
Trash Humpers - Harmony Korine
There's a certain level of grotesquerie involved in the three films written and directed by Harmony Korine. (He also wrote Kids, directed by Larry Clark.) But there's also a beautiful cinematic eye and a weird sense of empathy to Gummo, Julien Donkey-Boy, and the new Mister Lonely. It may be tough to get past certain scenes—cat-drowning, a meal in a dirty bath—but there's something at the heart of each film that makes it more than just provocation. On that front, though, Korine is also capable of simply pushing buttons: He started a film a decade ago that involved him instigating fist fights with strangers and surreptitiously filming them beating the shit out of him. Fight Harm was never released.
Funny Games - Michael Haneke
Late last year, while filming the English-language remake of his own Funny Games, Austrian director Michael Haneke told the New York Times: "I've been accused of 'raping' the audience in my films, and I admit to that freely—all movies assault the viewer in one way or another. What's different about my films is this: I'm trying to rape the viewer into independence." If you don't feel like being raped into independence, then his deeply discomforting features aren't for you. But films like The Seventh Continent (about the long, slow descent of a seemingly normal family) and Benny's Video (about a shocking act of violence and its ripples) are so starkly brilliant that they're difficult to dismiss—even if you're of the opinion that Haneke is a heavy-handed schoolmarm.
People who voted for this also voted for