Cinema is only as good as its directorial talent and Britain is fortunate to have a rich sea of excellent directors who have not only contributed to British cinema, but to world cinema as a whole. These are the films that make you proud to be British, they are interesting, taboo breaking, intellectually stimulating and bloody well made. Thanks to the calibre of our directors.
I don’t know whether you would call the directors below ‘mavericks’, but they have largely marched to the beat of their own drum and each of them possess an inimitable style which you could call ‘quirky’. All of the following directors have made a huge splash in cinema through being true to their own personal visions.
Please add your own favourite British directors below.
9. Nic Roeg
An immensely talented director, Nic Roeg likes to deconstruct his narratives and tell his films in a fragmented, non linear way. His breakthrough film was Performance which he co directed alongside the ill fated Donald Cammell. Starring Mick Jagger and Anita Pallenberg, the film was packed to the rafters with drugs, sex and violence. It became a very famous film due to the censorship problems it invoked in the BBFC.
Roeg went on to direct one of the best ever British horror films – Don’t Look Now starring Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland as bereaved parents who go to Venice so Sutherland’s character can work upon restoring a church. Supernatural happenings and the appearance of a red hooded little girl end in horrible tragedy, but stylish horrible tragedy.
Roeg also directed Walkabout and The Man Who Fell to Earth. Walkabout is a strange, unsettling film. Two children are driven into the Australian outback by their father who kills himself and leaves them to wander about the hostile environment. They are able to survive thanks to an Aborigine boy. The Man Who Fell To Earth features an alien called Newton who comes from a planet which is nearly decimated due to a catastrophic drought. He has to find a way of getting water back home. Earth is not a good environment for him and he becomes a drunken wreck while his planet’s people are dying all the time.
Roeg is in his 80s now, so understandably he has slowed down, but in his hey day, he tackled a wide variety of mainly strange, quirky topics in his films. His work has had a profound effect among young British film directors working today.
This article was first posted on December 10, 2013