Philosophy is a vast ocean of complex theories and ideas about reality, existence and the human nature. The world is blessed to have witnessed the works of great philosophical painters like Lena Hades and Andy Warhol and influential philosophical writers like Friedrich Nietzsche and Albert Camus. But what about the most directly influential form of art, cinema? How well does philosophy go with cinema? Like most other forms of art, cinema has paved the way for intellectual minds and philosophical theorists to express their vision through images, sounds and words. And this is where the auteur theory comes into play.
Auteurs are movie directors who control all the creative aspects of a film. Most auteurs are deeply philosophical human beings who seamlessly incorporate their ideas and vision onto the screen using the power of images and stories that are profoundly human at its core. So let’s take a look at 10 greatest philosophical movie directors whose cinema forever changed the perceptions of the world and the way we think.
10. Alejandro Jodorowsky
Perhaps the most underrated filmmaker on this list and one of the most divisive auteurs of all time, Alejandro Jodorowsky is the greatest living avant grade filmmaker in cinema today. Known for his deeply surrealistic films, Jodorowsky is one among the few filmmakers who relentlessly stretches the boundaries and limitations of cinema with his massively intriguing philosophical films that question the norms of society and at times, even ridicules our perceptions of the world around us. His cinema is a hybrid blend of surreal images that blur the subconscious clarity between dreams and nightmares. His control over the medium is so commanding and powerful that his vision, ideas and his own personality are inseparable from his craft.
Jodorowsky’s cinema is a spiritual quest and an introspective journey into the grandiose mystifications of life. His 1979 western drama, ‘El Topo’, tells the story of a black clad gunfighter, played by Jodorowsky himself, and his spiritual quest for enlightenment. The film received immense universal acclaim and was noted for its use of rich imagery, Christian symbolism and Eastern philosophy. Jodorowsky is 88 and with his latest release, ‘Endless Poetry’, last year, he continues to question human existence and the world with his own bizarre philosophies that we, as a crazy breed of cinephiles, can never get enough of and his cinema will claw its way out of obscurities with time and we can only hope to live to see the day when this man gets the respect and admiration that he truly deserves.