The chore is to blank out Greek filmmaker Angela Ismailos's clueless, indulgent voiceover and moony on-camera presence and enjoy the commentary of the filmmakers she's tracked down in Europe and America.
True, much of what they say they've uttered in a dozen other interviews. But give Ismailos credit for including a trio of worthy female directors (Catherine Breillat, Agnès Varda, and the less-recognized Liliana Cavani), and for giving ample screen time to Britain's Stephen Frears, who's so smoothly skilled, from My Beautiful Laundrette to The Queen, that he's often taken for granted. The ever-charming Bernardo Bertolucci recalls the first look at the dismaying rushes of Marlon Brando in The Last Tango in Paris: "Who will see a film so gloomy about such a desperate old fart?"
Best are the talks with Todd Haynes, a former Brown University semiotics major, who goes on brilliantly, and also unpretentiously, about his gay-culture influences, from Jean Genet to Rainer Werner Fassbinder.