Great Filmmakers Who Have Barely Directed Any Films … – Jordan Ruimy

This year’s 12th edition of the Scary Movies festival at Film at Lincoln Center premiered Ari Aster’s extended version of “Midsommar” this past Saturday.
Over the years, there have been several one-hit-wonder directors — basically, a filmmaker who made a single great movie and then never directed again. I don’t think anyone is losing sleep over Harvey Weinstein just directing “Playing for Keeps” or Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Christmas in Connecticut.”
No, I’m thinking, in particular, to these seminal works:
Charles Laughton’s “Night of the Hunter”
Jean Vigo’s “L’Atlante”
Marlon Brando’s “One-Eyed Jacks”
Barbara Loden’s “Wanda”
Herk Harvey’s “Carnival of Souls”
Dalton Trumbo’s “Johnny Got His Gun”
James William Guerico’s “Electrica Glide in Blue”
Reigning supreme from this list, along with Jean Vigo, is Charles Laughton’s “Night of the Hunter”. The film was such a bomb with critics and audiences that he would never direct another film again. Ironically, it became one of the most mentioned and influential American.
Laughton’s film was a hybrid of genres that was sadly released in the wrong era, back when its brilliant mix of magical surrealism, and horror just didn’t exist yet. Now it’s all but heralded as a masterpiece and is a requirement for every student to watch at film school. Cahiers du Cinema named it the 2nd greatest movie ever made and BFI’s important Sight and Sound Poll had it listed as the 63rd greatest movie of all-time.
Then we have modern-day directors who have only directed a scant few amount of films in their careers, not more than four, over a period of two or more decades. Terrence Malick was one until he finally made his first film in 20 years with “The Thin Red Line.”
Most recently I’d say Bellflower by Evan Glodell is a good example of a uniquely visionary work from someone we haven’t heard a peep from since. Benh Zeitlin (Beasts Of the Southern Wild) would have probably made this list, then he released “Wendy” …
Sometimes, though, directors do work at a far slower pace, or struggle to get the funds needed for their next endeavours. I presume that is why we have barely heard from …
Bennett Miller: Capote, Moneyball, Foxcatcher
Terry Zwigoff: Crumb, Ghost World, Bad Santa, Art School Confidential
Lynne Ramsay: Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar, We Need to Talk About Kevin, You Were Never Really Here
Spike Jonze: Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, Where the Wild Things Are, Her
Mark Romanek: One Hour Photo, Never Let Me Go
Frank Darabont: The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Majestic, The Mist
Kenneth Lonergan: You Can Count on Me, Margaret, Manchester by the Sea
Shane Carruth: Primer, Upstream Color
Jonathan Glazer: Sexy Beast, Birth, Under the Skin
Tony Kaye: American History X, Detachment
S Craig Zahler: Bone Tomahawk, Brawl on Cell Block 99, Dragged Across Concrete
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