Battle of Directors is a weekly column that pits two filmmakers against one another, sheds light on their respective filmographies, and then asks readers to state which director they prefer. Thoughtful discourse and discussion is encouraged and desired. Enjoy!
In the medium of cinema we have many filmmakers, but not many auteurs.
Woody Allen and Charlie Chaplin are among the select few of true artists with distinct voices (and longevity) that place themselves at the center of nearly all their movies. Through writing, directing, and acting in many of their most successful endeavors, both personas have entered our culture – for better or for worse.
The logic behind pairing these two up is simple: aside from similar comedic stylings, Allen and Chaplin are/were extremely prolific filmmakers. Moreover both possess a rare ability to blend the silly, idiosyncratic elements of everyday life with intimate portraits of what it means to fall in and out of love. Perhaps this is why the universal works of both artists remain so beloved. There’s a sort of youthful quality to them, from Manhattan to Modern Times, that contemporary audiences are still able to connect with even today.
Since I am (more or less) Chaplin-illiterate, I’ll side with the romantic and neuroses-driven Woody Allen. Then again, Charlie never really had a chance with me. God almighty could come down and direct ten consecutive magnum opuses and my choice would still be Allen. Long live the limitless loveliness of Annie Hall.
Ten example films from Woody Allen:
Hannah and Her Sisters
Crimes and Misdemeanors
The Purple Rose of Cairo
Midnight In Paris
Ten example films from Charlie Chaplin:
The Great Dictator
A Countess from Hong Kong
Chase Me Charlie
The Gold Rush
So which filmmaker do you prefer? The choice is yours.