While movies are definitely a collaborative medium, I've always found the idea of the auteur really fascinating. In short, a director who manages to create a film with enough personal style that she (or he) is considered the author.
A good case for this is the work of Christopher Nolan.
From his very first short film (Doodlebug seen above), Nolan has shown an interest in perception, misdirection and unreliable protagonists. This is carried through all of his works most obviously in Inception but even in his Batman trilogy.
For a fascinating trip through film perception, check out these Nolan milestones. You won't look at the world the same again.
A man whose short term memory only allows him short pieces of recollection attempts to track down the people who killed his wife. The film is famous for being told in reverse chronological order. The audience sees the end at the beginning of the movie. Guy Pearce and Carrie Ann Moss are both riveting in this psychological thriller
In this English language adaptation of the excellent Norwegian thriller, a detective is called in to solve a brutal murder in Alaska, where the sun shines at midnight. The lack of sleep ultimately causes the detective to become more and more unstable as he seems to be caught up in a second crime.
During the time of Edison's and Tesla's electric rivalry, Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale play a pair of magicians who compete to prove their greatness in a competition of escalating brutality. This intricate thriller has more than one sleight of hand as it twists its way to a powerful conclusion.
Agents who can invade dreams get caught up in corporate espionage as they find themselves drawn through layers and more layers of consciousness. Once again Nolan plays with time and perception as Leonardo Dicaprio struggles with his past demons and with implanting an idea in an executive's mind. My friends and I are still arguing over the ending. This film won four Academy Awards including Cinematography, Visual Effects, Sound Mixing and Sound Editing,