10 years ago an ad made a bold statement: EVERYONE IS A DIRECTOR.
In the 1960’s this statement would have been ludicrous. Directors were grand masters of a young art-form, explorers of the mystery of movement and the power of story. Directors, at least in Eruope, were an intellectual avant-garde at the edge of all the arts, carrying the torch of inspiration, talent, individuality, genius.
Cinema directors of that time were like shamans, a living conduit between universal questions and small human stories told in frame-by-frame detail. Films often reflected experiences that the mostly grown-up audiences could recognize and identify with.
In a film by Fellini or Kurosawa or Antonioni one could expect to get lost in magical worlds that other arts could not yet access. The master directors blended material, physical and spiritual dimensions in personal, unique manifestos. No other art-form could move so dynamically: the monopoly on moving images, virtual travel, urban escapism and human darkness and dream belonged to the cinema.
Directors held the power to unleash Freudian/Junghian shadow dark sides. The new release by Kurosawa or De Sica was awaited (in almost every country except the United States) with fervor, more than a Lady Gaga show today. Cinema audiences were mostly still unspoiled by a world of inflated, constant, omnipresent imagery and constant swift manipulation and pressure to buy, not think or feel.