5 film directors and their psychological MBTI profile

Today we are going to explore the psychological MBTI types of famous directors. I have based my research on the analysis of their works and interview quotes.

Christopher Nolan [INTJ]

“I never considered myself a lucky person. I’m the most extraordinary pessimist. I truly am.”

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Christopher Nolan

Nolan gained considerable attention for his second film Memento. That gave him the opportunity to make the big-budget Insomnia and the drama The Prestige. What followed was the Dark Knight trilogy, Inception, Interstellar and Dunkirk. His stories are rooted in metaphysical themes and explore depths of personal identity and the nature of memory. He uses nonlinear storytelling and practical special effects.

Inception is a Jungian psychoanalyst’s wet dream as it (quite well) explores the realm of dreams and dream analysis. Dark Knight has the Joker as a symbolic representation of Chaos and Batman as the manifestation of Order. Bruce Wayne is the Ego, who tries to become the Freudian Superego, Batman, Übermensch, Superhuman. Batman Begins explores the depths of human fear and also uses Jungian archetypes. Memento is a look into a head of a cognitively impaired man, who is looking for the murderer of his wife. He has has no short term memory — he forgets everything that happened 5 minutes ago. The Prestige is a fight between two Magicians. Both are controlled by their archetypal selves.

Introverted intuitive

His stories are often very symbolic and abstract. Nolan himself plans his movies way ahead of time — Inception took him 10 years to plan before he started filming it.

“I have been interested in dreams, really since I was a kid. I have always been fascinated by the idea that your mind, when you are asleep, can create a world in a dream and you are perceiving it as though it really existed.”

“One of the things you do as a writer and as a filmmaker is grasp for resonant symbols and imagery without necessarily fully understanding it yourself.”

Thinking

The stories he makes are a product of a very rational mind. He is excellent at organizing people and wanted to be an architect (architects are usually INTJ). Thinkers are obsessed and fascinated by technology.

“The only job that was ever of interest to me other than filmmaking is architecture.”

“But, in each case, as a filmmaker who’s been given sizable budgets with which to work, I feel a responsibility to the audience to be shooting with the absolute highest quality technology that I can and make the film in a way that I want.”

Judging

Judgers are good at organizing themselves and others. They tend to not be scattered all around the place.

“No, I’ve only ever done one film at a time.”

Andrei Tarkovsky [INFJ]

“I am convinced that any attempt to restore harmony in the world can only rest on the renewal of personal responsibility.”

Tarkovsky was a Russian filmmaker, writer, film editor and film director. His work is characterized by unconventionally long takes, poetic imagery, and spiritual and metaphysical themes.

His masterpieces include Solaris, Stalker, Mirror and Andrei Rublev and are listed among the greatest films of all time.

Feeling: His Feeling character is quite obvious from these quotes of his:

My function is to make whoever sees my films aware of his need to love and to give his love, and aware the beauty is summoning him.

Unspoken feelings are unforgettable.

Being silent for a while is good. Words can’t really express a person’s emotions.

Intuitive: His film are metaphysical and spiritual.
Introverted: He expresses it quite nicely in the video above.

INFJ’s are altruistic people who like to serve others.

The Stalker seems to be weak, but essentially it is he who is invincible because of his faith and his will to serve others

My purpose is to make films that will help people to live, even if they sometimes cause unhappiness

Some great quotes of his, very well worth reading:

Many manage to separate their life from their films. They live one way and express other ideas in their works. They are able to split their conscience. I can’t. To me cinema is not just my job: It’s my life, and each film is an act of my life.

A man writes because he is tormented, because he doubts. He needs to constantly prove to himself and the others that he’s worth something. And if I know for sure that I’m a genius? Why write then? What the hell for?

Never try to convey your idea to the audience — it is a thankless and senseless task. Show them life, and they’ll find within themselves the means to assess and appreciate it.

An artist who has no faith is like a painter who was born blind.

An artist never works under ideal conditions. If they existed, his work wouldn’t exist, for the artist doesn’t live in a vacuum. Some sort of pressure must exist. The artist exists because the world is not perfect. Art would be useless if the world were perfect, as man wouldn’t look for harmony but would simply live in it.

David Fincher [INTJ]

“I tend to over-intellectualize things.”

He is most known for Se7en, Fight club, Zodiac, Social Network, The Girl with dragon tattoo and Gone Girl.

The first one is a dark psychological thriller. Fight Club is a cult classic, nihilistic anarchy with a bit of fascism. Zodiac follows the detectives hunting the serial-killer Zodiac. Social Network tells a story on how the Facebook came to be, and what kind of a person Mark Zuckerberg really is. The Girl with dragon tattoo is also a dark psychological thriller, Scandinavian and .. cold. And the Gone Girl? A psychological story about a crazy manipulative Witch.

Esquire Magazine: “[In person Fincher is] socially adept. Friendly. Kind. Nice guy.”

Introverted

Laura Ziskin: “There’s what he thinks is right, and there’s little else. If you have a difference of opinion, he’ll listen politely, then tell you in no uncertain terms how completely wrong you are.”

Fincher: “[The plots of] my movies are fairly obvious. [But the characters] process the information from [a] singular, subjective point of view. And that becomes the subtext.”

Fincher: “As much as people pretend [to] fit in … there [is] always … that sense of loneliness … of not fitting in or being out of depth.”

Thinking

He uses perfectionist, pragmatic methods in his films.

Fincher: “My idea of professionalism is probably a lot of people’s idea of obsessive.”

Scott Rudin: “He’s capable of taking any point of view and dismantling it until he comes to the conclusion that, for him, makes perfect sense.”

Fincher: “Entertainment has to come … with a little bit of medicine. Some people go to the movies to be reminded that everything’s okay. That … is a lie. Everything’s not okay.”

Fincher: “[about Fight Club] The movie is not that violent. There are ideas in the movie that are scary, but the film isn’t about violence, the glorification of violence or the embracing of violence. In it, violence is a metaphor for feeling. It’s a film about the problems or requirements involved with being masculine in today’s society.”

Intuitive

Rooney Mara: “He wants [to make real] what he sees in his head.”

Judging

He has great organizational skills.

Fincher: “Filmmaking encompasses everything … [from] being painfully honest, unbelievably deceitful, and everything in between.”

Quentin Tarantino [ENTP]

Ah, the great Quentin Jerome Tarantinois. Pulp fiction, Django Unchained, Inglorious Basterds, Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill 1 and 2 are his signature works.

“Something stopped me in school a little bit. Anything that I’m not interested in, I can’t even feign interest.”

His films feature nonlinear storylines, over the top violence which serves purely for comedic purposes, strong language, satirical stories and references to popular culture.

Quentin Tarantino may at times feel like he is on cocaine. He uses his hands a lot, and makes bold statements, not caring very much about offending people. Some may say that his character is obviously ADHD— fortunately, ADHD traits are very interchangeable with ENTP character traits. Quentin’s films are not very feeling sensitive, but are definitely well thought-out. Every shot and sentence in the script serves a higher purpose, creating a genius masterpiece together. His stories are heavily influenced by the thousands of movies he studied prior to making any of his own. He is a great director, even when he may feel scattered — once he is in his flow, his organizational skills kick in. As he says, he is literally unable to do anything that doesn’t interest him. All things considered, he is an obvious ENTP.

ENTP’s see everything as a challenge.

I want to top expectations. I want to blow you away.

ENTP’s are very rational thinkers, and are stimulated in unconventional ways.

I was kind of excited about going to jail the first time and I learnt some great dialogue.

Critical thinking is probably the strongest in INTP and ENTP characters.

If I wasn’t a film-maker, I’d be a film critic. It’s the only thing I’d be qualified to do.

Some of Quentin’s cool quotes:

I’ve always thought my soundtracks do pretty good, because they’re basically professional equivalents of a mix tape I’d make for you at home.

I just grew up watching a lot of movies. I’m attracted to this genre and that genre, this type of story, and that type of story. As I watch movies I make some version of it in my head that isn’t quite what I’m seeing — taking the things I like and mixing them with stuff I’ve never seen before.

A writer should have this little voice inside of you saying, Tell the truth. Reveal a few secrets here.

I don’t believe in elitism. I don’t think the audience is this dumb person lower than me. I am the audience.

I always do an all-night horror marathon on Saturdays where we start at seven and go until five in the morning.

To be a novelist, all I need is a pen and a piece of paper.

I really become the characters when I’m writing them. I’ll become one or two of them more than others, I’m consistent that way.

I try not to get analytical in the writing process. I try to just kind of keep the flow from my brain to my hand as far as the pen is concerned and go with the moment and go with my guts.

When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, ‘no, I went to films.’

Guillermo Del Toro [INFP]

Del Toro is a Mexican film director, screenwriter, producer and novelist.

His work on Pan’s Labyrinth and Crimson Peak is based on extraverted intuition and introverted sensing — lots of emphasis on symbolism. His films tend to be dark and he is not afraid to end a story in a morbid way. Before he got his first movie made, he did effects for other movies for eight years.

The saddest journey in the world is the one that follows a precise itinerary. Then you’re not a traveler. You’re a f@@king tourist.

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All things considered, we can wrap this one quickly with the things we know from the article. Introversion is obvious, symbolism and abstract ideas in his films equal intuition; feeling is apparent from his movies and his Perceiving nature is expressed by the hate towards the lined up and structured things.

Some of his great quotes:

Well, the first thing is that I love monsters, I identify with monsters.

What happens to me is that I am first and foremost a film geek

I’d grab the camera and tell people what to do, and when I was 14, someone told me that it was called directing.

Without context, things are not scary. Without context, like humor, horror doesn’t work.

There’s nothing that defines who you are more than boundaries, whether you cross them or not, in every aspect of your life, and horror is a really great boundary.

If you get bored with nothing to do, you are not a writer.

There are men who bloom in chaos. You call them heroes or villains, depending on which side wins the war, but until the battle call they are but normal men who long for action, who lust for the opportunity to throw off the routine of their normal lives like a cocoon and come into their own. They sense a destiny larger than themselves, but only when structures collapse around them do these men become warriors.

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Written by

INTP, Master’s degree in comp-sci, Creator, indie game developer, director, writer, photographer. I like BJJ, Jungian psychology, mythology and memes.

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