The Encyclopedia of Great Filmmakers pays homage to the personalities behind such films as The General (Buster Keaton), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Luis Bu$uel) and The Player (Robert Altman). Cataloguing filmmakers alphabetically, University of Kansas theater and film professor John C. Tibbetts and Literature/Film Quarterly editor James M. Welsh have provided biographical portraits of more than 150 popular and influential filmmakers. Each entry gives an explanation of the filmmaker's beginnings and entry into the industry and then discusses his or her key films and their major themes. Appendices list great documentary filmmakers and great animation filmmakers.
As noted film scholars Tibbetts and Welsh admit in their introduction, their roster of slightly more than 350 directors is "hardly a comprehensive one." The select few are each given two- to three-page entries, which are written with clarity and enthusiasm and end with brief bibliographies. The subjects come from many countries and ethnic backgrounds and include directors of experimental, documentary, animated, and silent films; special attention is given to American directors whose first films were released in the 1990s. Such a limited number of directors makes it difficult not to quibble over the selection Alan Alda instead of Warren Beatty, M. Night Shyamalan instead of Pedro Almodovar, and the fabled Alan Smithee instead of any flesh-and-blood director. Perhaps eliminating the generally small illustrations provided for about a third of the entries would have allowed the authors to add several more names to their roster. Complete filmographies are not included; instead, some films are mentioned in the text and the rest listed afterward. Unfortunately, only films cited in the text appear in the index, making access by film title incomplete. The index is also inconsistent in noting the directors' nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. The lively writing and emphasis on young American directors may make this title a good choice for high school or junior college libraries, but The International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers: Directors, edited by Nicolet V. Elert and others, offers a considerably larger roster, more international scope, and better illustrations and indexing. Vivian Reed, California State Univ. Lib., Long Beach Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
This two-volume reference presents 350-plus filmmakers from every branch of the industry, such as independent films, French new wave, documentaries, Hollywood blockbusters, silent films, and others. The profiles, written by a team of film scholars and ranging in length from one to approximately three pages, include a biographical portrait which gives a glimpse at the individual's early work and entry into the industry, a discussion of key films and major themes, a critical analysis placing the filmmaker in the context of his or her culture and time, discussion of professional growth and accomplishments, and commentary on cinematic style and significance. Edited by Tibbets (theater and film, U. of Kansas) and Welsh (English, Salisbury U.). Contains 80-plus b&w photographs and drawings. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)