"Cult Filmmakers: 50 Movie Mavericks You Need to Know" Book Review
Written by Jennifer Turner
Published by White Lion Publishing
Written by Ian Haydn Smith
Illustrated by Kristelle Rodeia
2019, 144 pages, Reference
Released on September 3rd, 2019
I’ve always considered myself a cinephile. I have so much movie trivia crowding my brain that I forgot how to do math. I was the girl that my friend’s called whenever there was a movie debate, this was back before Google and smart phones stole my thunder.
But when I read this book I realized something, I know everything about movies except for the creative minds behind these masterpieces. Even the directors that I did recognize in this tome I realized I knew next to nothing about them.
Cult Filmmakers: 50 Movie Mavericks You Need to Know has the perfect layout, one or two pages per subject with a brief biography, movie credit, and fun little trivia tidbit. For example: Did you know that a 14-year-old Quentin Tarantino lied about his age to get a job as an usher in a porno theater? Or that David Lynch turned down directing Return of the Jedi in order to helm Dune? Or that Tim Burton was the concept artist for Tron?
These are just a few of the many fun and engaging facts in this book. As much fun as I had learning about the directors I have heard of, I had a better time discovering unsung talent to explore. While reading this book, I took out a notebook to jot down interesting movies to check out. By the time I finished reading, the list has grown to about 20 films.
A couple of the films in this list are Sophia Coppolla’s Beguiled and Polyester by John Waters. I mention these two in particular because I consider these directors to be favorites of mine. I learned while reading this book how little of their work that I had actually experienced. I haven’t really explored Coppola’s work past Marie Antoinette nor have I explored John Waters’ less mainstream offerings.
Another director that I’m intrigued to discover is Kenneth Anger. When I was a teenager I devoured his Hollywood Babylon books, which are chock full of scandalous tales about the rich and the famous. I had pictured him as some kind of gossip columnist or socialite. To realize that he was a director and apparently a good one was pretty mind-blowing. It makes me wish I had kept his books so I could read them with this new view of him.
The biographies are accompanied by brilliant illustrations by Kristelle Rodeia, and theyt are so colorful and well-detailed they embody the personality of each and every director.
My only teeny complaint is that some of the director profiles are a little vague. One of such profile mentions a filmmakers controversial films but no mention of why it was described as such. But then again, the point of the book is to explore all these films so in this case less is definitely more.
If you are a self-proclaimed cinephile like myself, then this is a must have, must read, must research companion that is highly entertaining and educational.
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