A Decade in: Directors

A selection of our writers reflect on the directors who stood out this decade; whether for their cultural contribution, the work they’ve done, or the personal impact they’ve had. 

Denis Villeneuve

Though quantity certainly does not equate to quality, Denis Villeneuve’s output of six feature films this decade is nothing short of a exhibition of excellent craftsmanship. Captivated by Prisoners (2013), I found myself anticipating every new Villeneuve film, and he never disappoints. His impressive streak of films – Incendies, Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario, Arrival, Blade Runner 2049 – definitively affirms him as one of the breakout directors of the 2010s, as well as positioning him as an influential player in the direction and potential of sci-fi cinema to come. His continual exploration into trauma and violence coupled up with a frequent collaboration with Roger Deakins brings to cinema worlds that are cold, harsh, yet beautiful. The season of winter comes to mind: the frosty forest of Prisoners, Ryan Gosling’s K lying in the snow, the cool colour palette of Arrival, silhouettes against the dawn breaking in Sicario. Psychological isolation and existentialist dread persist throughout his filmography; qualities that, in my opinion, are reminiscent of this decade in the Western world.

Plus, the ending of Enemy alone speaks for itself.

Xinyi Wang

The Safdie Brothers

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