Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Sacha Baron Cohen Reportedly Returning To Write, Produce, Star In & Direct The Freddie Mercury Biopic Sacha Baron Cohen Reportedly Returning To Write, Produce, Star In & Direct The Freddie Mercury Biopic Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending Watch: Trailer For 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Unrated Blu-Ray Edition, Will Also Feature An Alternate Ending New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Best Of 2013: The Breakout Directors Of The Year

The Playlist By The Playlist Staff | The Playlist November 27, 2013 at 5:20PM

Every year, film buffs get themselves in a lather over the latest from their favorite experienced directors. The calendar is marked for the next Spielberg, I’ll be there opening day for Scorsese’s latest, I am all about Spike Lee, etc. But the real pleasure in being a film fan is stumbling upon the undiscovered, lifting a rock and uncovering a new talent, a new voice, with a brand new vocabulary for us to learn. The Scorsese films will be there for us to discover and rediscover whenever we want. In 2013, however, there was only one Shaka King picture, there was only one Lake Bell joint.
14
Best of 2013: The Breakout Directors Of The Year

Every year, film buffs get themselves in a lather over the latest from their favorite experienced directors. The calendar is marked for the next Spielberg, I’ll be there opening day for Scorsese’s latest, I am all about Spike Lee, etc. But the real pleasure in being a film fan is stumbling upon the undiscovered, lifting a rock and uncovering a new talent, a new voice, with a brand new vocabulary for us to learn. The Scorsese films will be there for us to discover and rediscover whenever we want. In 2013, however, there was only one Shaka King picture, there was only one Lake Bell joint.

What’s exciting about catching a filmmaker with their debut or breakout movie is seeing the birth of a new cinematic language. Not every filmmaker has all the pieces in place so quickly: Brandon Cronenberg’s “Antiviral” was one of the year’s clunkier debuts, but it was considerably more polished than the early experimental fare from his father David. Even the more modest debuts could foretell the filmmakers that will be running Hollywood a decade from now. And when the earlier films are as accomplished as the ones featured in the following piece, it paints a rosy picture for the future of the industry, one we just don’t get to see very often.

Here are a few fresh and emerging faces in filmmaking who provided 2013 with some of its cinematic highlights. If you haven’t seen these films yet, make sure you rectify this soon.

Short Term 12 Brie Larson

Destin Daniel Cretton (“Short Term 12”)
Expanding upon his short, Cretton’s “Short Term 12” has become one of those summertime indie hits that, as the end of the year approaches, many can’t stop talking about. Cretton tackles some sobering material in this, his second film, dealing with troubled youth in a group home. But it’s also not a bummer. Cretton doesn’t skimp on the ugly details from which these children are superficially isolated, and the area itself is a depressing, paint-chipped summer camp of restrictions, rules, and maximum supervision. But thanks to the warmth of a cast with great chemistry, he emphasizes not just the everyday clock-punching struggles of this staff, but also the illustration of people making changes in the world, chisel by chisel. Rarely do you see independent films with this sense of time and place, but “Short Term 12” feels both confident and relaxed, emotionally specific without being overtly somber or intense. “Short Term 12” is very much like the best of crowd-pleasers, a warm, funny and inviting film that earns its keep by taking an incisive but heartfelt look at a difficult subject, and for Cretton, who is attached to the high-profile “The Glass Castle” starring Jennifer Lawrence next, it’s a helluva calling card.

Lake Bell
Lake Bell

Lake Bell (“In A World...”)
Lake Bell pulled quadruple duty on her directorial debut, “In A World…” clocking in credits as writer, director, star and producer, giving real credence to the saying “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” And the result is a vastly charming comedy that also injects the film with a real world dose of feminist subtext. Set in the highly competitive movie voiceover world, Bell manages to gently skewer Hollywood cliches (“Amazon Games,” anyone?) and workplace sexism. She also manages a hell of a cast, stacked with character actor heavyweights (including Bell herself) such as Fred Melamed, Ken Marino, Michaela Watkins, Rob Corddry, Demetri Martin, Tig Notaro, Nick Offerman and Alexandra Holden (with notable cameos from Eva Longoria and Geena Davis). With that group, how can you go wrong? But Bell does much of the heavy lifting with regard to performance as well, as the dizzy but determined Carol, and the result is one of the most satisfying comedies in years, with an ending that will make you want to shout “PREACH!” in a crowded theater. Her comedic voice is a welcome, and needed, one indeed.

Ain't Them Bodies Saints David Lowery

David Lowery (“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints”)
Lowery is no newbie: the indie film lifer has been working under the radar for years now, and carries an editing credit on two of the year’s finest independent films, “Upstream Color” and “Sun Don’t Shine,” as well as the moody, as-yet-unreleased “Nor’easter.” But it’s his latest film, “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” that has placed him on the map. A lot of that is due to a relatively high wattage of stars in the picture, all doing terrific work: Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara are heartbreaking as a separated couple of criminal lovers, and as voices of conscience, Keith Carradine, Ben Foster and Nate Parker are excellent in one of the year’s finest ensembles. But it’s not necessarily the depth of their work as much as how they’re used by Lowery. His approach echoes Terrence Malick in its emphasis on the fluidity of nature and the inner monologue of voiceover sifting through the story like fingers through grass. The actors themselves are forces of nature, with Affleck and Mara distant buoys in the ocean, and others representing nature’s obstacles to keep them apart. A movie like “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” doesn’t announce itself loudly as it merely wafts through the air, reminding moviegoers of an earlier time, a combination of the romantic outlaw poetry of “Badlands” but also the neo-contemporary western slant of John Milius’ “Dillinger.” This is no throwback, but rather a moment in time, one that envelopes the audience. Lowery’s picture isn’t one you watch, but one you get inside, only able to walk out of hours later, long after you’ve physically left the theater.

This article is related to: Features, Destin Cretton, Short Term 12, Shaka King, Newlyweeds, Lake Bell, In A World..., David Lowery, Ain't Them Bodies Saints, Sebastián Lelio, Gloria , Jordan Vogt-Roberts, The Kings Of Summer, Jill Soloway, Afternoon Delight , Haifaa Al-Mansour, Wadjda , Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Don Jon, Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station, Joshua Oppenheimer, The Act of Killing , Alexandre Moors, Blue Caprice, Amy Seimetz, Sun Don't Shine, Best of 2013, Best Movies of 2013


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates