Sometimes the best reason to watch a movie is the director. Many audience members opt to see a movie just because their favorite actor is in it, but it wasn’t for the directors and their insight, those stars might not make a great film.
There is a reason why many actors love working with specific directors: They know the director is that good. It’s the same throughout the world, as with these top-notch foreign directors.
Karan Johar has helped build Bollywood’s popularity in the United States. His films are the highest grossing outside of India, and for good reason. They fulfill Bollywood film requirements to guarantee a box office hit in India but also add a little something to entice the rest of the world. Like Depp and Burton, Johar’s name is often connected to Bollywood mega-star Shah Rukh Khan.
Must-see Johar films: All of them. Watch “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai,” “My Name Is Khan,” “Khabi Khushi Khabie Gham,” and “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna.”
Akira Kurosawa has the ability to make a tough film about a fighting warrior and then make a simple film about family and regret. Yet, both stories teach similar lessons about life, leaving you satisfied at the end.
Many directors throughout the world look up to Kurosawa, including veteran Swedish director Ingmar Bergman. Kurosawa regularly chose to work with the same group of people, individuals he knew would give the best performances. He worked most with actor Takashi Shimura, with second place going to regular collaborator Toshiro Mifune.
Must-see Kurosawa films: “Seven Samurai,” “Yojimbo,” “Ikiru,” and “The Hidden Fortress.” The latter film was a key influence on “Star Wars.”
In the majority of Bollywood films, characters have massive mansions and fancy cars. If a character is poor, they usually aren’t for long before money comes sweeping in. On the flip side, non-Indian films about India generally show the country as nothing but slums.
Ashutosh Gowariker makes movies that show both sides, managing to bring together the good and bad in India without making the country appear terrible to outsiders. He’s worked with many Bollywood mega-stars, including Aamir Khan and Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan.
Must-see Gowariker films: “Swades,” “Jodhaa Akbar,” and “Lagaan.” “Lagaan” earned a Best Foreign Film Oscar nomination.
Guillermo del Toro
Guillermo del Toro knows how to creep people out. His horror/fantasy films prove that we don’t need blood, gore, and sex to entertain and terrify. When there is gore in a del Toro film, it twists the stomach into knots. His movies are dark, and they mess with the mind.
Besides his foreign films, del Toro has also directed the “Hellboy” movies. He enjoys working with actor Federico Luppi.
Must-see del Toro films: “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Cronos,” and “The Devil’s Backbone.”
People know the name Bekmambetov not because he has directed tons of box office hits, but because he directed two huge films. Maybe he got lucky, or maybe he’s just good.
His two biggest hits were adaptations of a book series, which Bekmambetov not only directed but adapted the script. Actor Konstantin Khabenskiy’s career took off thanks to these films.
Some call Bekmambetov the Russian Peter Jackson. Thanks to his fame from these two films, Bekmambetov is now directing movies in America. Catch his work in the upcoming summer flick “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”
Must-see Bekmambetov films: “Night Watch” and “Day Watch.”
Many American directors cite Ingmar Bergman as an influence on their work. The Swedish filmmaker has helped cinema as a whole grow. His works took chances and used ideas and techniques never seen before, tackling thought-provoking topics instead of using cheap tricks for thrills. Desire and faith were common themes Bergman tackled, despite such topics being taboo at the time. He worked several times with Swedish actor Max von Sydow.
Must-see Bergman films: “The Seventh Seal” and “Fanny and Alexander.”
Find showtimes and tickets near you on Yahoo! Movies.