Cinema buffs tend to romanticize the kind of auteur who takes years to finish a film. How many times have we heard breathless tales of Stanley Kubrick’s perfectionist antics, which left a five-year gap between Barry Lyndon and The Shining, and over a decade between Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut? Then there’s Terrence Malick, who took a generation-long break from filmmaking between Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, and has never gone less than five years between features. But crappy, commercial directors are hardly the only ones who can bang one, two, or even five movies a year. After the jump, we’ve rounded up ten legendary moviemakers from around the world who also happen to be wildly prolific.
At only 50 years old, British filmmaker Michael Winterbottom has produced 26 features, averaging more than one new release each year. But what’s really impressive is his willingness to keep exploring new genres, from music biopic (24 Hour Party People) to serious war film (Welcome to Sarajevo) to brilliantly offbeat literary adaptation (Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story) to roadtrip mockumentary (The Trip). Over the years, Winterbottom has also produced a handful of political documentaries, as well as the controversial 2004 film 9 Songs, which featured graphic, unsimulated sex interspersed with scenes from indie-rock concerts. The director currently has two movies in the works for 2012: an adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles called Trishna and Bailout, which stars Jack Black as a down-on-his-luck dad who turns to dealing weed. Sometime after those are completed, he may begin work on a movie about The Beatles.