10 Best Experimental Filmmakers

Saturday, February 12 by Georgina Spiggott

The 10 best experimental filmmakers are definitely not afraid of controversy.  And while all of these directors ma break from the Hollywood norm, they all do it with a style of filmmaking uniquely their own.

  1. David Lynch- Lynch's career began with the granddaddy of all experimental films "Eraserhead" and he continues to break through in films like "Lost Highway" and the critically acclaimed "Mulholland Dr."  David  Lynch's unique style and unabashed surrealism make him one of the top experimental filmmakers of all time.
  2. David CronenbergViolent, strange,  yet somehow organic, the films of Cronenberg never fail to entertain and yet at the same time repulse. Cronenberg bursts on to the scene with films like "Shivers" and "The Brood" and although he has hit the mainstream, his creativity makes him one of the great experimentalists.
  3. Stanley Kubrick – Never one to avoid risk, Kubrick brought a touch of the strange to all his movies, without losing plots or character development, the mark of  a great experimental filmmaker.  And yes, we've forgiven him for "Eyes Wide Shut".
  4. Lars Von Trier – Von Trier has written and directed many experimental films such as "Dogville", "Dancer in the Dark", and the recently released "Antichrist" and is living proof that experimental films are not dead in the modern era.
  5. Luis Bunuel  -One of the premier experimental filmmakers, Bunuel has been called the "father of cinematic surrealism" for his work on such movies as "Virdiana" and the French classic  "Belle Du Jour", which launched actress Catherine Deneuve to stardom.  Bunuel continued to work well into his 70s before passing away in 1983.
  6. Jean-Luc Godard - You may have probably heard the name of Godard, but have a hard time placing it.  The Parsian filmmaker tries to fly under the radar while simultaneously perfecting his craft in movies like "Breathless" and "A Woman is a Woman".  Godard continues to impress his audiences, however small, today.
  7. Gus Van Sant - You may not have enjoyed the shot for shot remake of "Psycho" but it was a experiment and experimental filmmaking is all about taking chances.  Van Sant has used his avant-garde filmmaking skills on movies such as "My Own Private Idaho" and "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues".
  8. Andy Warhol – Nothing Andy Warhol every did was normal and that includes his movies. His films, with names like "Batman Dracula" and "Mario Banana I" may not be household names but then again, not many experimental films are.  Or should be.
  9. Melvin Van Peebles – One of the premier African-American filmmakers, Van Peebles combined experimental and exploitive in movies like 1971's Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song" and "Watermelon Man".
  10. John Cassavetes – A actor as well as director, John Cassavetes proved his merit with films like "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie".  Cassavetes free-form style and refusal to follow any specific genre make him one of the most regarded and admired filmmakers of all time.
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