I joined the guys at Film Dispenser looking back at first films from notable directors. I created a list of the chosen films over on Letterboxd, where I also share my opinions on each of the films after I’d seen them, and I ranked them at the end of the event.
It was a really interesting exercise, and a great choice to look at early works of established directors. What’s striking in many cases is how much of their future style or focus is clearly visible even at this early stage – with Michael Mann’s Thief and David Gordon Green’s George Washington being the most obvious. It’s also a blessing that the directors under consideration did mature and develop as their careers progressed, and that someone gave them a chance to do so.
However, Roman Polanski’s Knife in the Water is unbelievably accomplished for a young, first-time director in 1960s Poland.