If I’m fully absorbing Larry Gross‘s riff, the best thing a director can be is (a) very bright, (b) profoundly talented and (c) possessed of a devotional attitude in terms of learning from the work of great directors. Some directors are instinctually gifted without being all that brainy or well-read but who’ve studied the greats (i.e., Steven Spielberg). Others are quite smart but with only modest talent (Woody Allen in Gross’s view). Or are modestly gifted but have learned everything they could from the best (Clint Eastwood in Gross’s view). And some are so in the grip of crackling intelligence that they seem to create more by design or scheme or deliberation than instinct. Which reputable directors appear (or have appeared) to possess all three attributes? Stanley Kubrick, for one. I know there’s a framed quote on a wall in Guillermo del Toro‘s Bleak House that references Albert Einstein, to wit: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”