First Run Features // 2006 // 220 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // October 16th, 2010
Thirty-three legends on the art of filmmaking.
Professional filmmaking is a thrilling art form that requires loads of talent, ambition, and patience, and not everybody out there has what it takes to create memorable big-screen experiences that will enchant cinemagoers and stand the test of time. There is, however, a group of famous directors who have successfully created one or more masterpieces during their wonderful careers in the business. Some of them are featured on Directors: Life Behind the Camera, a superb collection of interviews with talented filmmakers sharing their insight and knowledge about the craft of making movies.
Created with the help of the American Film Institute, Directors: Life Behind the Camera features approximately four hours of interviews with thirty-three top directors and a bunch of A-list talent discussing numerous topics relevant to the art of filmmaking. From what it takes to get started in the industry to choosing scripts and how to really work with actors, most of these interviews provide the participants the opportunity to revisit their careers and share their own experiences with their viewers. When it comes to discussing all things movies, this group certainly makes for the best resource around.
The program is split into several topics across two discs. Each topic runs about 10 minutes and features anywhere between ten to forty directors, which means that most of the sections consist of a series of short interview bits instead of long interviews with just a few directors. In that sense, the program is very interactive and fast-paced, letting viewers choose whether they want to watch entire topics or just listen to specific directors. Interviewees include Robert Altman, David Lynch, Clint Eastwood, Ridley Scott, William Friedkin, Tim Burton, Ron Howard, Adrian Lyne, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Bryan Singer, James Cameron, Spike Lee, and Lawrence Kasdan.
Directors: Life Behind the Camera doesn't exactly qualify as a quick, interactive film school on DVD, but it gives spectators a better insight into how these directors work and what they have learned during the adventurous journey to where they are today. From tips and tricks on how to survive on sets all the way to compelling anecdotes from projects they've worked on, the material they discuss is at the same time informative and entertaining. A special section on the DVDs even features detailed filmographies and a bunch of interesting trivia about the participating directors.
The interviews featured on Directors: Life Behind the Camera were recorded at different times over the years, so some of them look a tad older than others, which means that the overall picture quality of this DVD set slightly varies as well. The program is presented in a full-frame format with a sharp enough image and solid audio transfer. The discs don't include any additional extras.
Directors: Life Behind the Camera is a must-watch for avid filmgoers and aspiring filmmakers alike. Featuring great stories directly linked to some of the greatest movies of the past decades, this collection of energetic interviews has something for everyone to learn and enjoy. Definitely worth the investment and a prime spot in your DVD collection!
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Scales of Justice
Studio: First Run Features
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 220 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* American Film Institute