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Watch: Agnès Varda, David Lynch, Bernardo Bertolucci And Others Talk Film In 90-Minute Documentary, Great Directors

Angela Ismailos explores the inspiration, motivation and vision of 10 legendary filmmakers.
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Great Directors: David Lynch & Agnes Varda

“I really like getting old.
I am not totally excited about dying, but it’s OK, it’s coming.”
—Agnès Varda in Great Directors

On the day we say goodbye to the Grandmother of the New Wave, let’s revisit Great Directors, a documentary from 2009 in which Agnès Varda candidly talks film alongside 9 other unique directors including Bernardo Bertolucci and David Lynch.

Agnès Varda in Great Directors
Agnès Varda in Great Directors

In her debut film, director Angela Ismailos gets access to ten of the most creative personalities behind the camera as she explores their vision, artistic evolution and identity to a backdrop of politics and history. The filmmakers talk about their struggles, successes and influences, from the role of Neo-Realism in Bertolucci’s evolution to the influence of Federico Fellini on David Lynch, Ingmar Bergman on Catherine Breillat and Rainer Werner Fassbinder on Todd Haynes. If anything, you’ll end up with a fascinating watchlist after finishing this doc.

“I was standing outside the screening room [of Eraserhead] when the doors blew open, and Mel [Brooks] came racing toward me, and he embraced me and said, ‘You’re a madman, I love you! You’re in!”
—David Lynch on how he got to direct The Elephant Man

David Lynch in Great Directors
David Lynch in Great Directors

You can watch the full documentary on Vimeo and Amazon Prime. The DVD release of Great Directors available on Amazon includes additional interview footage, but if you really want to dive into David Lynch’s take on filmmaking, check out his MasterClass.

Great Directors, a film by Angela Ismailos


Ten of the greatest filmmakers in the world passionately discuss their craft in Angela Ismailos’ hugely entertaining documentary GREAT DIRECTORS. Bernardo Bertolucci, David Lynch, Stephen Frears, Agnes Varda, Ken Loach, Liliana Cavani, Todd Haynes, Catherine Breillat, Richard Linklater and John Sayles open up about their extraordinary careers with unexpected candor and humor. Ismailos gets them to talk about their artistic evolution from their debut works to their recent triumphs, as well as the role that politics and history play in their films. David Lynch discusses how Mel Brooks netted him his job on THE ELEPHANT MAN as well as his travails with the studio on DUNE. And they all honor their influences, from Todd Haynes on Fassbinder and Breillat on Ingmar Bergman, to Lynch on Billy Wilder and Hitchcock. GREAT DIRECTORS is an illuminating and surprising crash course on the state of contemporary cinema, and an example for where it might be headed.

Richard Linklater
Richard Linklater in Great Directors
Alfred Hitchcock with Skull
Alfred Hitchcock still from Great Directors
Bernardo Bertolucci
Bernardo Bertolucci in Great Directors

Great Directors Documentary

Founder and curator of Welcome to Twin Peaks since 2011. Bobsessed since March 1991.

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