"Ten at a Time" is a series of my top ten lists of movies and movie-related content. Most of the movie lists will be retrospective, now that I've had the chance to view a lot of films I might not have seen in the cinema. These aren't definitive lists of what are the best of a particular area but are my own personal opinion.
The following is my list of the top ten directors working today — that is, directors who are still alive and making movies. They are directors I feel have given us some truly great films over the course of their careers and particularly those who are putting out great work in the present. Another important factor is whether they're talents to watch out for in the coming years evidenced by past and current work.
Primarily they will be directors who work in the English language or in general mainstream cinema, although that doesn't necessarily exclude anyone out of that range. On top of this, my love for the director will also be a reason for their inclusion on the list.
So without further ado, enjoy.
10. Guillermo del Toro
It’s taken a while for this Mexican filmmaker to gain mainstream recognition but with the Hellboy franchise (some would say even with Blade II, although I don’t think general audiences would know he was the man behind that one) and the phenomenal Pan’s Labyrinth people are just beginning to recognise just how much of a talent this man is. Even when he makes a painfully slow film like Cronos, there’s still a technical (particularly visual) flair on display. He's one of those directors who's very much hands on with the projects he takes on, particularly when it comes to the character design. Undoubtedly they come from his imagination and it's one of the many key aspects which make him a truly great talent. And personally I think since he’s been locked down for The Hobbit I see this man becoming a household name within the next five or so years.
9. Werner Herzog
Although his best work is behind him — Aguirre, the Wrath of God in particular — he is still one of the best the world of movies has to offer. His grasp of what goes into making a quality film is astounding and it comes shining through more than most others in his films. Not many directors could take 120-plus hours of nature footage shot by a man killed by wild bears, for example, and make it into functioning film, but somehow Herzog found a way to accomplish it with the harrowing Grizzly Man. He recently went to areas of Antarctica that have rarely been captured on film before with Encounters at the End of the World, not just making the film but truly immersing himself in the process by actually braving the harsh conditions to capture what he wanted to. It's an example of the kind of commitment you don't often see with filmmakers. I really believe the movie world would be an inferior place if this man didn’t exist.