There are two kinds of directors in cinema. One who makes different films. And the other who makes the same kind of films every time. Well, now that would be oversimplification. But to begin my point, that would serve as a useful hypothesis. There are chameleon filmmakers who do not make the same picture twice. They may deal with a wide range of themes in their films and more often than not, turn out to be the more accessible filmmakers but their ability to lose themselves would render the film devoid of a distinctive mark or identity that would make it hard to connect with their previous works. Paul Thomas Anderson is one such filmmaker that I can think of who fits into this category. Anderson, I believe, has made three masterpieces in his career so far. But when you look at ‘Magnolia’, ‘There Will Be Blood’ and ‘The Master’, thematically they couldn’t be more different from one another. These are 3 significant works of art but Anderson’s approach to these films have been radically different from each other.
I could pretty much say the same about David Fincher too. But then there are filmmakers who have their own visions of life, the society and human relationships. These are filmmakers whose works may exhibit a sense of thematic repetitiveness that are fascinating in its distinctive authenticity. I’d abstain myself from tossing examples here since I wanted to make this a spoiler-free introduction. With that said now, let me take you to a list that explores movie themes directors are obsessed with.
10. Wong Kar-wai: City of Broken Hearts
Poetic, sensuous, exhilarating, melancholic, Wong Kar-wai’s cinema is just human emotions in colors. Kar-wai is a a passionate observer of human lives that cross paths in the city. Kar-wai romanticizes the random and the ordinary with a touch of visual madness and distinctive style and approach to storytelling that turn his cinema into an exhilarating feast of life, giving a peek into the repressed desires and throbbing dreams of his characters. His films are drenched in a certain sense of desperation and longing for love between characters who happen to meet at sidewalks, crowded alleys, on the raining streets or at the turbulent corridors of a fleeting life. The frequent use of relentlessly repetitive scores and exquisite shots of the city that bears witness to the melancholy and desolation of his characters, yearning for a glance of love and a touch of solace, along with the staggering use of colors and vivid imagery are addictive elements in his films. While Wong Kar-wai has forayed into other genres, most notably action, the underlying thematic elements of his cinema have remained the same over the years.
9. Martin Scorsese: Crime and Religion