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The 25 Most Influential Directors of All Time, From Scorsese to Kubrick

The 25 Most Influential Directors of All Time, From Scorsese to Kubrick

Articles - Directing

16. Jean Renoir (1894 – 1979)

Never did the worlds of art and film collide as closely—or literally—than in the work of Jean Renoir. Employing the same masterful visual stimuli as his father, Auguste Renoir, did in his paintings, Jean Renoir discovered that simple adjustments to lighting, location, focus and camera angle could add new and exciting dimensions to a film. Selling some of his father’s paintings to finance his work, Renoir was a renegade moviemaker—too far ahead of his time to be fully appreciated.

Though he’s best known for Grand Illusion, about a WWI prisoner camp, Renoir’s most powerful work was probably The Rules of the Game, a satirical take on a high-society country weekend, originating the vein in which films like The Celebration and Gosford Park have been created.

Says Slamdance Film Festival founder Peter Baxter: “Renoir is film’s great humanist. His perspective trapped the essence of the real world for the spectator—a human viewpoint that integrated actors, objects and space that expressed the relationship between individuals and society as one mutual tie-in.”

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  1. Avatar

    R. Taylor

    January 6, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    Where the heck is David Lean?!

  2. Avatar


    February 25, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    david lean? where is andrei tarkovsky?

  3. Avatar


    March 8, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    Where is Satyajit ray, the greatest indian filmmaker?

  4. Avatar

    Violet Ray

    May 5, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    Where are the women?

  5. Avatar

    Roger Howerton

    May 9, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Yes, David Lean has should be here, and how ’bout William Wyler?

  6. Avatar


    July 25, 2019 at 1:30 am

    For me, it’s definitely Lars vor Trier with his impecable style and metaphors. His Melancholia drama was just astonishing with its sci-fi influences and Kirsten Dunst starring. I wrote more than 50 movie reviews on all of his films starting with The Orchid Gardener. I wonder how may times Willem Dafoe wanted to leave the projects.

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