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Unlikely Auteurs Wrap Us in Their Cinematic Spells

by Mike Rivera.

Auteurs have shaped the framework that has formed the golden empire of cinema, creating a world of visual, auditory and emotional stimulation that is unrivaled in the media world. Most of the cinema-savvy are familiar with legends like Hitchcock and Fellini, but few of us are as well acquainted with the lives and modus operandi of the more talented modern movers and shakers of the film world. Today’s modern Auteurs such as Michael Bay or Gus Van Sant, love them or hate them, have brought us a whole new breed of filmmaker.

Wes Anderson

Wes Anderson has been hailed as the reigning king of hipster films. He has risen to fame slowly, and drenched our eyes and minds with rich, fulfilling color schemes and equally satiating plots. 1996’s “Bottle Rocket” gave us our first taste of Anderson’s style, and it has only strengthened since then. There are few filmmakers that are as meticulous about every tiny detail as Anderson is, from the font used on a character’s stationery, to the tiniest background object. The unique viewing experience of an Anderson film is further enhanced by his incredibly symmetrical shots, contrasting wide angles with straight-on close ups and seldom-used zooms.

Anderson’s dry humor and understated drama also takes the viewer on an evocative journey that provides a buffet for all senses. Anderson continues to inspire with his creative off-the-wall and many times, zany antics. Up and coming indie-hipster filmmakers and producers such as Rick Alverson, Greg Starr and many others continue to be inspired by the quirky, brilliant mind of Wes Anderson.

Start with: “The Royal Tenenbaums” (2001), then move onto “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou” (2004), then “Rushmore” (1998), and if you like these, move on to the rest of his catalog, you won’t be disappointed.

Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan has recently shown the world that superhero movies are not just a lot of CGI work and explosions, but that they can touch us with a deep realism that rivals that of the real world. Nolan stands out as a beacon of depth and beauty that can awaken even the most stoic of movie-goer.

Nolan is as well known for his camera tricks as he is for his for his deep, yet followable, plots. Nolan gives his characters a moral ambiguity that allows the audience to relate to them without exalting them, against an almost film-noir-esque back drop. Nolan also shies away from CGI whenever he can, so the beloved fight and explosion scenes are often created carefully and organically using tricks in the real world, ensconced in cerebral, non-linear storytelling.

Start With: “Batman Begins” (2005), then watch “The Dark Night” (2008), and “The Dark Night Rises” (2012), then move onto “Inception” (2010) and top it off with his breakthrough hit “Memento” (2000).

Michael Bay

Director Michael Bay is beloved by action film fans and visual story lovers the world over. Many critics have been wary of really delving into Bay’s unique style, on account of his almost base-allegorical storytelling methods, but the brave scholars that do peel back the layers of Bay’s techniques can’t help but realize the technical prowess and visual mastery of the art.

Variety senior film critic Peter Debruge notes, “He is the one that has risen to the top of the pack and really continued to pioneer that aesthetic on the big screen, for better or worse.”

Bay rose to fame as a master of music videos and commercials, winning some of advertising’s most prestigious awards just a few short years after graduating from Wesleyan. From there he nudged his way into film and began captivating us with his CGI masterpieces, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.

Start with: “The Island” (2005), then watch “Armageddon” (1998), then move onto “Transformers” (2007), “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” (2009), and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” (2011).

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