Whilst she may not be the biggest name in the industry, Greta Gerwig is certainly one of the most culturally pertinent, climbing the ranks of the film industry to establish herself as one of the finest working directors. Working with Noah Baumbach to elevate the influential mumblecore movement, Greta Gerwig first found success with Frances Ha and Mistress America before turning to a career behind the camera.
Landing in 2017, Lady Bird was Greta Gerwig’s first major film project following the release of the low-budget 2008 drama Nights and Weekends, and would immediately elevate the director to impressive new heights. Starring Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet, Lady Bird was lauded by critics and audiences, earning five Oscar nominations in total, including Best Picture and Best Director for Gerwig.
Lady Bird was followed by Little Women starring Florence Pugh, Emma Watson and the return of Timothée Chalamet and Saoirse Ronan in the impressive ensemble cast. Showing off staggering storytelling skills, balancing delicate relationships in the adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s iconic 19th-century novel, Gerwig had shown just how far she had grown as a writer and filmmaker.
Inspired by the likes of François Truffaut and Mike Leigh, Greta Gerwig’s interests seem to lie in delicate dramas and coming of age tales that examine the state changing adolescent minds. A purveyor of classic cinema, Gerwig often discusses her influences throughout the history of cinema, telling Movies on Demand a shortlist of some of her favourite movies of all time.
In the short video clip, Gerwig lists seven films in total that leap to mind as her favourite films, noting, “Jeanne Dielman [23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels], Singin’ in the Rain. Red River, Rio Bravo, I want to live inside them, we don’t make those movies now, do we? The 39 Steps is maybe one of the most perfect movies ever made”.
Providing an eclectic list that includes the arthouse classic Jeanne Dielman from director Chantal Akerman, iconic musical Singin’ in the Rain and westerns Red River and Rio Bravo, Gerwig’s film interests are clearly not limited to genre. Continuing, the director further states, “David Lean, Brief Encounters, the most romantic movie ever made,” before jokingly concluding, “There are so many great ones it’s hard to really pick. King of Comedy, I’ll just keep going!”.
It’s no surprise that Greta Gerwig should mention Red River and Rio Bravo, with both films featuring one of the director’s idols, John Wayne. Speaking to The Dissolve, the director stated, “He can be really scary in movies like Red River, or he can be very gentle. I like how much time he takes for everything; he really takes his goddamn time to walk, or to talk. Maybe because I struggle with it as an actor—taking your time, you don’t have to rush anything”.
Great Gerwig’s favourite films:
- Jeanne Dielman
- Singin’ in the Rain
- Red River
- Rio Bravo
- 39 steps