Chris Menges

Active - 1962 - 2019  |   Born - Sep 15, 1940   |   Genres - Drama

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Biography by Hal Erickson

British-born Chris Menges worked his way up from the editing room to documentary cameraman, earning the respect of his peers through his willingness to film in perilous locations under near-impossible circumstances. This may be why Menges evinced no fear of formidable director Lindsay Anderson when he was hired in 1968 as camera operator on Anderson's If.... By 1970, Menges was a full director of photography, and during the next two decades amassed such impressive credits as Black Beauty (1971), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), The Killing Fields (1984) and The Mission (1986); for the last two films, Menges won Academy Awards. Menges became a director with 1988's A World Apart, which kept in line with the sociopolitical themes explored in Killing Fields and Mission by exposing the horrors of South African apartheid as seen through the eyes of an activist's teenaged daughter. Menges' subsequent directorial assignment, 1991's Crisscross, was likewise politically charged (Vietnam was the "subtext" this time around) but nowhere near as dramatically involving as A World Apart.

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