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World Filmmakers: A Critical List of Books (February 2013): Conclusion

By Mark Emmons and Audra Bellmore


Our list includes directors only if there are three critical monographs written about them in English.  The filmmakers on our list are all giants of filmmaking.  Regrettably, important filmmakers have been left out.  We understood this would be a likely outcome as we struggled with our inclusion criteria, but ultimately settled on a minimum of three in order to meet the size limitations of a Choice bibliographic essay.

Our world filmmaker list is dominated by European men.  This is likely because early film criticism emerged from Europe, more European films are seen in English-speaking countries, and, with a few exceptions, the European film industry has been more established than those in other countries.  Internationally, men have had more opportunities in the film industry than have women.  All this has been changing in recent years, and research on non-European and female filmmakers is starting to emerge.  In addition, no matter the stance, we found that filmmakers reflected the concerns of their own countries, be they issues of culture, history, and religion or of class, gender, and ethnicity.

We organized our list by theoretical framework, neatly matching books to film theories.  We roughly followed the chronology of film theory, offering sections covering forty years of auteur, formalist, psychoanalytical, critical, and cultural theories.  In reality, authors were not always so cooperative, taking multiple approaches and crossing boundaries as they explored filmmakers and their films.  No matter the critical stance, many of the studies embraced the idea of the auteur, either in the classical sense of the term or modified through a different theoretical lens.  We were not surprised.  The act of writing about filmmakers signals that there is something exceptional about those individuals and their visions that makes them worthy of study.  We agree.  The filmmakers represented in our two articles are worthy of study, and the books make compelling cases as to why.  Our hope is that students, educators, scholars, and librarians will find our list equally compelling.