If Sidney Lumet has been my guru, then, as far as film direction is concerned, these are the directors I look up to as a role models of the highest order:
1. Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa holds the number one position, being the most prolific, successful, artistic and commercial of the three directors. He’s the only director I know who has consistently balanced art with commercial success throughout his illustrious career. Among his films, my favorites are Rashomon, Seven Samurai and Ikiru.
2. Orson Welles
Orson Welles was an unstoppable force, who, unluckily, met an immovable object. His career almost ended with the release of his first film, but thankfully it didn’t. His subsequent films confirm his genius in the art of storytelling and acting, and for me, he is the undisputed master of actor blocking and camera movement. My favorite films are Citizen Kane, Touch of Evil and The Magnificent Ambersons.
3. Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick made only 13 films in a career that spanned more than 40 years. He took great pains to write and prepare each movie, and often his budgets went through the roof. However, his films always got mixed reviews and were average commercial successes. What keeps him apart from other directors who have been long forgotten, is his singular vision, which can only be described as ‘cold’, and his sense of grand spectacle. You may not like it, but you will certainly react to it, and that is the true test of any artist. This, he has consistently managed to do. My favorite films are 2001: A Space Odyssey, Barry Lyndon and A Clockwork Orange.