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Movie Directors

This information seemed accurate when published at the beginning of 2015. However these things sometimes change very quickly, and it's possible some of this is not currently correct.

Although auteur theory is not as widely applicable as once proposed, it often really is true that simply knowing who directed a movie tells a whole lot about what that movie's like. Particularly (but not exclusively) in the world of art movies made in the last half century, many directors have exerted so much influence that their films are marked by their own distinctive style.

A movie review on the website IMDb (Internet Movie Data‑base) expresses this very clearly. Rather than try to paraphrase or summarize or restate it, I'll simply repeat parts of it verbatim:

I am always a little surprised to see negative reviews of Tsai Ming‑Liang films in web communities populated by film enthusiasts. And that's not because I'm about to argue that all film enthusiasts should like Tsai Ming‑Liang movies, far from it. Rather, what surprises me is that film enthusiasts -- people motivated enough to have IMDb logins and, further, motivated enough to write reviews -- would be unfamiliar enough with Tsai Ming‑Liang and his work, prior to viewing any particular film, that they could end up being surprised by what they get. [...] He's an acquired taste and if you don't like quiet, light-brush-stroke movies you won't like this guy's stuff. But I can't imagine anyone not knowing all of that before they start, and then complaining about it afterward.

In my experience, the situation is actually a bit more complicated than the quote above makes it seem. Accurate and meaningful thumbnail summaries of directors are oddly hard to come by, so much so that I can understand how even a knowledgeable viewer can be surprised viewing a film by a director new to them.

Accordingly, I've constructed this webpage from my own experience, describing only the most important things about each of many directors. Remember this is an idiosyncratic list of my personal opinions, and that the descriptions are purposely kept short and so may be quite abbreviated. Some of them may not mention important themes, and they may occasionally not even be completely accurate. If you're looking for authoritative/scholarly or in‑depth descriptions of movie directors, look elsewhere.


Robert Altman
American director active in the last half of the 20th century. Somewhat like Stanley Kubrick, his movies tend to be quite different from each other and are frequently a foray into what is for him a new genre. His movies tend to be about characters and situations that are rare and even extreme, so they often provide a window into another world. Typically they appear fairly serious (sometimes on later reflection even downright depressing), yet often also contain bits of hidden and very understated humor. His trademark is overlapping sound (dialog and actual ambient noise together, or several characters speaking at the same time) even at the risk of loss of clarity. This often necessitates every single character in a scene wearing a hidden microphone, and recording all the microphones on separate tracks for later mixing.
Paul Thomas Anderson (PTA)
Directed the hit There Will Be Blood. His camera movements and angles have morphed from splashy virtuosic ones to nearly static unobtrusive (but just right) ones. His films are quite varied, including such things as black comedies, bizarre stories based on personal research, and literary adaptations. His recent very sophisticated works have been ever more the darlings of critics and movie mavens; he is often mentioned as one of the best current directors. But none of them have been anywhere near as widely accepted by rank and file viewers as his first hit was.
Michelangelo Antonioni
He started out making films in his native Italy, but then became a sort of world citizen, making films in London, Los Angeles, and even in China. He first gained worldwide recognition for his trilogy (actually four films) about alienation. (The fourth was his first [and excellent] foray into color.) His trilogy emphasized moods evoked by the pictures and sounds more than action or character; the story-lines were hazy and inconsequential. He was one of the first to take films in the evocative direction. He was also one of the first to use some really really long takes. These new stylistic directions influenced later directors such as Akira Kurosawa and Andrei Tarkovsky. Various questions surround the next three films he produced: His London film Blow-Up is still a favorite puzzle to audiences, but the puzzle may be quite a bit more than he originally intended. One story is that his producer was aghast at the shooting expense and suddenly completely forbade him to shoot any more, so that he had to edit together a finished film just from the shots he already had. His Los Angeles film Zabriskie Point was an extensive aggressive attempt to capture the youth rebellion of the swinging sixties. But it ultimately failed, partly because the dialog seemed klunky, sounding didactic by delivering too much explication, and suggesting the philosophy behind the youth rebellion had more coherence than it really did. And his relationship with Hollywood -already strained- was further ruptured by the charge he often egged on questionable behaviors so he'd have more to document with film. His mysterious film The Passenger with Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider returned to form, but was not a box office success. And for some reason the rights to that film went to Jack Nicholson, who kept it private, so that for a couple of decades the only way to see it was a personal screening by Jack Nicholson himself at one of his appearances.
Ingmar Bergman
Swedish director who was fully involved with movies for much of his long life. His works were at the front of the European invasion of American art‑house cinema in the fifties and sixties and into the seventies. His early background was in theater, and although his films were very much films, parts of many of them nevertheless feel a little bit stage‑ready. As his favorite subjects were so dark (death, insanity, etc.), his films have earned the reputation of displaying Swedish angst. His dark topics do not imply any sort of spirituality though; in fact –particularly in his earlier films– organized religion is often portrayed in an unflattering light.
Robert Bresson
His work in France in the mid-20th century garnered him a reputation as one of the finest filmmakers. His films have an ascetic or minimalist bent, perhaps even a spiritual or Catholic one. He used little music, and his method of directing actors reduced them to not much more than puppets, so most of the emotional weight of the film was carried by the images themselves. It's sometimes theorized that spiritual is nothing more than shorthand for I don't get it, and what he was really doing -although few viewers realize it even now- was playing out every stylistic permutation. He greatly affected the direction of the French New Wave, although as he was a bit older he isn't generally considered to be a New Wave director himself. He was very good at organizing and verbalizing his thoughts about film theory, impacting the French New Wave through his theoretical musings, and leaving to posterity an excellent book on film theory.
Shane Carruth
Learned filmmaking on his own as a second career after being a high-powered software engineer for several years. Much of his learning came from doodling with sophisticated software on his personal computer. He has made only a couple of films to date, using relatively (sometimes very) low-cost techniques to produce polished results. He fills a very wide range of roles: director, writer, composer, producer, distributor, cinematographer, co-editor, and actor. He famously refuses to patronize his audience by simplifying even a little bit for them. The (unintended?) result has been movies whose story‑lines can sometimes be rather difficult to follow and which sometimes seem to be puzzle movies. For example a whole lot of computer forum participants from all over the world, with much guidance from him, took three years to fully unravel all the bits of the story behind his first movie. That movie was about time travel, but in a much more intricate and sophisticated way than anything that had been seen before.
Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini was an Italian director who was active for several decades after WWII. He started out right after WWII as an assistant on some Italian Neorealist films (for example Rome, Open City), contributing to them as screenwriter, assistant director, etc. Shortly he moved on to directing his own films. He's deeply intrigued by circus culture, which often appears in some form in his films. If you see a film where a group of clowns playing crazy music appears in a most unexpected place, it's probably a Fellini film. Many of his films also have significant psychological/spiritual components, for example explorations of what subconscious is and does, or what creativity is and where it comes from. His films often significantly overlay reality with what might be called childish whimsy, so the net result is a bit surreal (yet not completely unreal). While some of his films are B&W, many others are very colorful. Initially a very high proportion of his films received both regional and worldwide acclaim, and still have the reputation of being masterpieces. This earlier period culminated in , his film about filmmaking. He continued to produce films regularly for a couple more decades, but a somewhat lower proportion of those films were publicly acclaimed. Many critics judge him one of the most influential filmmakers of all time.
Jean-Luc Godard
A French-Swiss film director who's made a great many films over a very long period of time. He's mainly identified with France, but also has roots in Switzerland and holds dual citizenship. He contributed significantly toward both the definition of and the films of the French New Wave. He and François Truffaut sometimes collaborated and sometimes leapfrogged each other toward making the earliest New Wave film; ultimately Truffaut released the first internationally recognized New Wave film (The 400 Blows), and Godard released the second (Breathless). (More properly these were the second and third New Wave films, as the very first New Wave film remains almost unknown outside of France.) Because he's made so many films over such a long period of time, the style of his films has changed significantly several times, and some of his films are not at all like others. For example some of his films are overtly political, some appear plain but in fact have a political subtext, and some are not political at all. When someone says Godard is my favorite director, the next question should be which one?.
Hou *Hsiao-Hsien
Grew up in Taiwan and became an important contributor to the Taiwanese New Wave. After largely absenting himself from making commercial films for almost a decade (partly to be intimately involved in the Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards) he recently returned with The Assassin. That film is based on a Chinese folktale/myth which is well known to many, but hardly known at all to Westerners. As a result, Westerners typically need to invest some effort in order to understand who's who and what's happening. (Just finding a Family Tree with Google may be enough.)
Peter Jackson (and Fran Walsh)
Helmed the huge and hugely successful production of the The Lord of the Rings trilogy. It was released over three years (and was in production more than twice that long), put New Zealand firmly on the moviemaking map, and provided the springboard for his Weta Studios to become one of the premier effects houses in the whole world (in the same rank as ILM). His adventurousness in using and expanding so many new moviemaking technologies all at once to tell a story more effectively has blazed a path for others. It's a bit unclear what he should tackle next, since he was still quite young when he did his movie event of a lifetime.
Wong *Kar-Wai
Works in Hong Kong. His output may seem rather schizophrenic; there really are two rather separate filmmakers in one body. One persona produces martial arts/violent/action movies, while the other persona produces much slower extremely artistic films. He sometimes floods the whole screen with a riot of (often subtly related) colors, he sometimes noticeably manipulates the projected speed of the image, and his characters are often at the same time both universal archetypes and unique (even quirky) individuals.
Krzysztof Kieslowski
Serious Polish director who worked both before and after the end of the communist regime, and whose career was ended suddenly by unexpected complications following heart bypass surgery. He began as a documentary filmmaker, but gave up documentaries as he found it too (morally?) difficult to produce them under the authoritarian regime. Something of the documentary style remains in his feature films though, with his straightforward and unmysterious and not at all arty approach, often described more simply as a heightened appreciation of realism. Typical of films made in Eastern Europe near the end of the communist regimes, his early feature films were funded by the government even while being obliquely critical of that same government. They are mostly not well known in the U.S. for various reasons: some are only available with some difficulty (and even then only inferior prints, and often without good English subtitles); and some are a very awkward length for theatrical distribution. (In particular his famous Dekalog, based on the idea of the ten commandments, was made as a TV miniseries, and so consists of ten approximately one hour segments. The segments are unified in setting and tone [and even characters in some cases], yet each can stand alone. But a single segment is too short for a theatrical showing, and all ten segments together is too long. Thank goodness for home VideoDiscs:-) After the fall of the communist regime he and similar filmmakers faced two problems: First, nothing replaced the government as a source of funds - he could not get local funding for another feature film. And second, the whole serious film culture in Poland fell apart completely, not just the funding but also the film schools, the studio system, the distribution system, and so forth. His solution was to become an international director, making his last feature films inside some other country's system.
Stanley Kubrick
Produced on average one film every three years over the entire last half of the 20th century. He honed his keen eye and composition sense in his early job as a staff photographer for LOOK magazine. Although unquestionably an American director, he worked mostly in the U.K. He was known as an enfant terrible. He tackled a whole genre at a time, producing one movie of that type before moving on to some other genre. Although each movie clearly fit into its genre, he usually broke the rules to produce something different, sometimes sending the whole genre off in a new direction. Although his movies are quite different from each other and tend to not have a whole lot of ideas in common, an implied anti‑war theme does somehow show through many of them. He often composes a frame with a single vanishing point (symmetric, centered). He's known for his very simple and highly stylized and colorful settings (especially architecture and furniture), so much so that even today use of large simply-shaped shiny surfaces as a principal design element is often referred to as Kubrick‑esque.
Akira Kurosawa
Japanese director worked through much of the latter 20th century. He was especially good at: portraying actions such as duels and horseback riding, frame composition, editing, and judicious use of music to mesh with and subtly help portray plot points. His movies were often set in historical Japan, yet modern value sensibilities generally peeked through somehow (for example treating women more equally). He was quite influenced by some foreign directors (especially American), and sometimes borrowed from western writers (for example his Ran can partly be thought of as Shakespeare's King Lear reenvisioned in medieval Japan). And the movies he made, even though largely factually accurate to their Japanese settings, often had a western sensibility that made them more eagerly accepted by foreign audiences than by Japanese audiences.
Fritz Lang
Director initially working in Germany. He helmed several very large projects, many of them loosely classified as German Expressionism. His silent science fiction and dystopian classic Metropolis has strongly influenced even films made close to a century later. It initially bombed both critically and at the box office though, practically defining ahead of its time. It was such an expensive project it contributed to the entire German film industry losing its independence. (Finding and restoring all the pieces was very difficult and took well over two decades. Back when it was created, the process for copying negatives was so poor that directors routinely produced several good takes, and used different ones when cutting together the distribution masters for different continents. So our concept of the authoritative version doesn't quite fit, and film restorers sometimes face quite a puzzle.) He eventually escaped Germany and ultimately settled in Hollywood for decades before finally returning to Germany. His later films are less well known, and have received inconsistent and confusing critical acclaim.
Terrence Malick
An arty director who tries to convey as much as possible through just the images. Most of his films also have significant voiceovers, so much so it's something of a trademark. His unique visual style, which was initially a considerable breakthrough, has been so widely copied and adopted over the decades that these days it's sometimes referred to (often derogatorily) as either fashion advertisement style or MTV style. He's not a full-time filmmaker - filmmaking is only one of his interests (and probably not even the primary one). His films tend to be about people and emotions (not so much about action or razzle-dazzle). His films are sometimes described as very spiritual (what might be described as a subtle Catholic sensibility seems to pervade all of his works). His output is quite small (only a handful of films in a lifetime) and sometimes very personal (even autobiographical); with erratic timing (sometimes decades-long gaps between films); and his film's topics vary widely (with no discernable pattern?-). Many consider him a difficult director - he's one of those love-him-or-hate-him strongly polarizing directors, considered by some to be one of the greatest filmmakers of all time and by others to be not worth watching at all. He's often mentioned together with either Andrei Tarkovsky or Stanley Kubrick.
Goro Miyazaki
Hayao Miyazaki's son (although the two were not close when Goro was a child:-). Once thought of as the likely heir to Studio Ghibli artistic leadership, after the untimely death of Yoshifumi Kondo. (As of [February 2015] it's not clear what will become of Studio Ghibli now that both Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Tahata have announced their retirement. Some sort of restructuring, possibly including a change of ownership, and possibly even including complete withdrawal from producing theatrical releases, seems likely. It's anybody's guess where Goro might fit into this future.) Unfortunately Goro's first directorial effort was a bit of a stinker, which both re-problematized relations with his father and sullied his reputation with distributors. As a result, his later excellent efforts have not received the marketing push and wide distribution they deserved in North America. He's by no means just a slavish copy of his famous father, yet his art isn't completely different either.
Hayao Miyazaki
Very talented retired senior figure in Japanese Anime (animation). He co-founded Studio Ghibli. His works often allude to Japanese folk sources, often appear as simple as fairy tales, and often have environmental overtones. The Japanese folk sources he uses have often been largely forgotten, so in a sense he acted as a cultural archaeologist for Japan. He prefers the hand‑drawn style of animation, and he guided his studio in producing only a few high quality works for theatrical release (rather than churning out lower quality works which are typically released mainly through TV). Although his animes are definitely Japanese, he attended quite a bit to worldwide marketing requirements too, rather than producing purely for the local market. For well over a decade he had an agreement with Disney U.S.A. (it's been modified in secret many times, so the details are no longer fully known publicly) which seems to give Disney U.S.A. the right of first refusal for North American distribution to all Studio Ghibli works that Miyazaki directed. As a result, his works have been widely publicized and shown in America and are fairly well known there, so much so that sometimes Studio Ghibli's work is mis-taken to be a representative sampling of the entire world of Japanese anime. His significant contribution to the Disney relationship was his insistence on no cuts, which seems to have ended the tradition of North American distributors trimming or even rearranging foreign animation. Disney's significant contribution to this relationship has been a long series of very high quality replacement English soundtracks, much higher quality than was previously typical for North American distributors, with attention to translating not just the dialog but even cultural references.
Makoto Shinkai
As a young man with a background in graphics design, around the turn of the century he brought together and refined techniques for routinely producing very detailed and artistic anime entirely within a computer. At that time he was widely hailed as the new Miyazaki. While visually diverse and exciting, thematically all his early works tended to be rather similar. Specifically, they all revolved around looking back on one's early life, generally with some mixture of nostalgia and regret. More recently he has apparently consciously decided to focus on creating for and distributing to the Japanese market exclusively, no longer trying to cater to worldwide tastes as well. As a result his more recent works are barely known in the U.S. (also they're available only on Blu-ray but not on DVD).
Alexander Sokurov
A Russian director, working after the collapse of the USSR and working with apolitical subjects. His films tend to adhere to formalistic artistic tenets, and are sometimes technically audacious. For example his Russian Ark (about the Russian State Hermitage Museum) set a record for longest single camera take (no editing splices or tricks), one that seems likely to stand for all time. At the time he had to obtain the latest technology and even then modify it substantially to support what he wanted to do. Technology has improved a lot in just a few years, so run of the mill equipment operated in a routine way can now do what he did. But nobody cares any more, because in the meantime techniques for editing together different sequences so they appear to be a single take have been developed. Some of Sokurov's films are so slow they at first appear to be completely static, until the viewer notices the subtle variations or the tiny characters in view. He tends toward documentary subjects, very matter-of-fact and not at all sensationalized or romanticized or fictionalized. One of his recurring subject areas is the life of army soldiers.
Isao Takahata
Other co‑founder of Studio Ghibli in 1985. He's just a handful of years older than Hayao Miyazaki. He's tended to direct less often than Miyazaki, but similarly produced high quality animes for theatrical distribution. His body of work is more varied and does not have obvious common themes. His works tend to be more creatively aggressive, sometimes to the point of being classified as downright experimental. Among other things, he's introduced to anime aextremely sad topics, bthe idea of focusing on young adults more than on teenagers, ca plethora of ribald remarks and double-entendres, da new distinctly different drawing style, efocus on reality with absolutely no fantasy elements, fgreat emotional impact without resorting to action/violence, and even greligious and philosophical themes.
Andrei Tarkovsky
A Russian who made films in the mid-20th century. He made only a few films, most inside Russia within the regime's system, and the last couple in Europe. He was so good at gaming the Russian system and its censors that he actually found arranging production of films as he desired them outside of Russia to be more difficult. As a result of his very frequent tussles with the Russian system, few of the many stories about the production of his films can simply be taken at face value. For example something happened related to film development on Stalker, but what exactly that was isn't crystal clear. Was Tarkovsky the victim of a severe technical problem? or was the whole scenario his elaborate scam to substitute his preferred (uncensored) script and his preferred cinematographer? or was the event unintentional but exaggerated and taken advantage of by Tarkovsky to get enhanced creative control, relaxed deadlines, and additional funds? His films tend to be slow and symbolic (something he'd vehemently deny), showing situations and images that would be banal or worse in most directors' hands, but turned out just right when he did them. He's often mentioned in the same breath as Terrence Malick, and his film Solaris (remade decades later in Hollywood) is often referred to as The Russian 2001. In addition to his films, he produced significant theoretical and critical writings; fortunately his films can be enjoyed without reference to those writings. He died of cancer (possibly caused by severe chemical pollution near the Stalker filming location), and is buried in Paris.
Bela Tarr
Hungarian film director who began producting films in the late seventies and is now retired. Only a few of his films are known in the U.S., and only some of those have had a theatrical distribution. He is known for filming all the seemingly insignificant details too, letting the camera continue to roll far longer than other filmmakers would. (One of his films is famous for being seven and a half hours long! It's of course firmly relegated to home video.) While this makes most of his films much longer than one would expect, the result is by no means an exercise in watching paint dry. It's a little like that old Galloping Gourmet recipe Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic; at some point when you keep adding garlic it stops just being more and instead becomes something qualitatively different. Likewise as a movie scene gets longer and longer one starts to see it in an entirely new way and notices many interesting subtleties. Most of his available films are close adaptations of modernistic high literary fiction, the kind of thing that brandishes lots of big words, long sentences, fractured and reordered time, multiple points of view, an almost impenetrable structure, and so forth. In other words his films really are as weird as they may at first seem, which in the context of their source isn't weird at all. It's easy to focus so much on the very long scenes aspect of his style (also perhaps on the black‑and‑white filming) that one misses most of the modernistic literary flourishes, such as that sometimes one really is seeing the exact same scene all over again except from the point of view of a different character. The common lack of comprehension is so bad that his films are generally regarded as deadly serious even though he himself describes almost all of them as comedies.
François Truffaut
After a childhood so troubled he was thrown out by his biological family, he was informally adopted by the great film critic André Bazin at the film journal Bazin helped found: Cahiers du Cinéma. Truffaut was always very interested in movies, and eventually began making his own. His name became closely associated with the French New Wave. In addition to directing movies, he also participated in moviemaking as a screenwriter, a producer, and even an actor. He was initially very close to Jean-Luc Godard, but they later had a falling out. He extensively interviewed (a whole week) Alfred Hitchcock, and from that produced the famous book that discusses in great detail film content and filmmaking, titled simply Hitchcock. He died relatively young (age 52) of a brain tumor and its complications.
Douglas Trumbull
Not primarily a director (although he has directed some films), but rather one of the premier wizards with special effects involving light. An inventor, designer, and producer of visual effects. Several decades ago he championed the idea of a powerful new film position that was effectively co-director for visual effects, a reorganization of film creative control that never caught on. (He even once actually held such a position on one film, although the actual title wasn't exactly that.) He opened his career with various special effects for Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, most notably adapting the slit scan technique to produce the stargate sequence. (Nowadays similar graphics are done easier and better with generic photo manipulation software on a PC, so the slit scan technique is no longer used. But back then the purely mechanical approach was the only possible way to do such a thing, and he was the first one to use it in a feature film.) Over his career he worked in various capacities on several other well-known films, including The Andromeda Strain, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Blade Runner. And most recently (and quite possibly last) he did the birth of the universe sequence in Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. He also worked a lot with hi-def movies, including serving as president of IMAX for several years, inventing and ceaselessly promoting a hyper-realistic large and wide format very high frame rate (60 fps) system he called Showscan, and developing the Ridefilm.
*Tsai Ming-Liang
Malaysian Chinese, began working in Taiwan and gained a reputation as a member of the Second New Wave of directors in Taiwan (although he's worked in other countries too). His films use an almost completely static camera with infrequent jump cuts, a lot of longer/wider shots, and a detailed and completely realistic soundtrack with little or no music. Some scenes appear to be nothing more than still photographs, either because the motion is so small and obscure, or because the motion doesn't start until well after the scene starts. Sometimes scenes get only very low and inconsistent lighting, so the viewer doesn't even know right away what he's looking at, and so shapeless unidentified mounds can eventually resolve into characters. Sometimes characters proceed quite a way without the viewer ever being quite sure who they are, and only later turn toward the camera so they can be facially identified. Most people describe his films as extremely slow. Some people really like his work, while many do not.
Apichatpong ("Joe") *Weerasethakul
A Thai with a background in architecture, already known worldwide through the fine art world before producing any feature films. Like many Thais, he's chosen a short western nickname (Joe) since so many non‑Thais have trouble with his real name. He has produced many short films (which don't seem to be easily available in the U.S.), and he has produced cutting edge video installations for many galleries and shows. The artistic sensibilities honed there led him to create feature films which feel vaguely experimental, and allowed his very first feature films to win an extraordinary number of international prizes. Each of his feature films has its own unique structure, none of which are anything like the rules (in fact one of his features explicitly follows the surrealist exquisite corpse concept). And his features tend to be extremely culturally specific to the time and place and way he grew up. I've never wished so hard for lots of footnotes and editorial comments (like studying a Shakespear play in high school); unfortunately –as with virtually all films nowadays– I haven't found anything like that. After initially making quite a splash, his profile has been significantly lower recently. (In fact some opine he's not even trying all that hard any longer, perhaps because he got a better understanding of what it would take to be a world‑famous feature film director and decided that was not the game he wanted to play.)
Joss Whedon
Currently early middle aged, he comfortably moves back and forth between movies and TV all the time, as though the differences were insignificant. He's sometimes a writer, sometimes a director, and often takes on multiple roles, most often writer/director but also including things like producer. He works the gamut from almost idiosyncratically personal through creative collaborations all the way to hired gun director. An example of a creative collaboration was the TV show Firefly, where as usual the TV executives had considerable control, yet he made a couple key creative contributions: forcing the show to be shot in widescreen aspect ratio, and supplying the whole underlying conceit of combining western and space tropes into a single ongoing story. He is known for iextensive and complex female roles, and iionslaughts of snappy, clever, funny dialog that work on multiple levels.

* indicates family name, which is analogous to the western surname. In most of the Far East (but not in Japan), family name is usually written first (rather than the western convention of writing the surname last). This list is alphabetized by surname/family name.



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