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Is "club" here used figuratively?

Mr. DiCaprio’s choices may be unusual, but he does have his own version of sticking with what works. The characters are mostly tortured, unsympathetic, larger-than-life guys created with the help of a tiny club of A-list directors, most notably Martin Scorsese. A urine-collecting Howard Hughes in “The Aviator.” A Zimbabwean smuggler in “Blood Diamond.” A mental patient in “Shutter Island.” A dream extractor in “Inception.”

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2 Answers

In this case, I think the word club is used to refer to a small group or clique of directors that are all somehow connected. Most likely they are all friends on work on related projects.

I believe they are using a definition close to 3a from here: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/club although ; although a club does not have to have a formal structure and association. A group of people can be said to form a club if they simply associate with each other frequently, and for the same purpose. In your example, they form a club by having producing similar types of movies, and probably be being friends that occasionally associate with each other. It's very informal sort of club.

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The article is using club in the sense of clique:

clique, noun: a narrow exclusive circle or group of persons; especially : one held together by a presumed identity of interests, views, or purposes

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