September 15, 1940 |
Life and career
Menges was born in Kington, Herefordshire, the son of the composer and conductor Herbert Menges. He began his career in the 1960s as camera operator for documentaries by Adrian Cowell and for films like Poor Cow by Ken Loach and If.... by Lindsay Anderson. Kes, directed by Ken Loach, was his first film as cinematographer. He was also behind the camera on Stephen Frears' first feature film Gumshoe in 1971.
After several documentaries and feature films like Black Beauty (1971), Bloody Kids (1978), The Game Keeper (1980), Babylon (1980) and Angel (1982) he became notable for more ambitious works for which he was critically acclaimed.
In 1983 he received his first BAFTA nomination for the Bill Forsyth film Local Hero and only a year later won his first Academy Award for the film The Killing Fields about the genocide in Cambodia. He continued his work with helmer Roland Joffe and he won his second Oscar in 1986 with the historical drama The Mission. He also shot a television play titled "Made in Britain", starring Tim Roth in 1983.
His second film as director CrissCross with Goldie Hawn received critical acclaim but was a box-office flop. In 1996 he moved back behind the camera to shoot the award winning films The Boxer (directed by Jim Sheridan) and Michael Collins. For the latter he received his third Academy Award nomination in 1997.
Menges also made documentaries. In the early 1970s he went to Burma with British film maker Adrian Cowell to shoot The Opium Warlords, a film about the drug trade. After the release of the documentary in 1974 the Burmese government was said to have put a price on their heads. He is mentioned in the book Conversations with Cinematographers by David A. Ellis, published by Scarecrow Press.
as Cinematographer (selected)
- 1968: Kes directed by Ken Loach
- 1971: Gumshoe directed by Stephen Frears
- 1980: The Gamekeeper directed by Ken Loach
- 1981: Looks and Smiles directed by Ken Loach
- 1982: Warlords of the 21st Century directed by Harley Cokliss
- 1983: Local Hero directed by Bill Forsyth
- 1984: The Killing Fields directed by Roland Joffe
- 1984: Comfort and Joy directed by Bill Forsyth
- 1986: The Mission directed by Roland Joffe
- 1987: Shy People directed by Andrei Konchalovsky
- 1996: Michael Collins directed by Neil Jordan
- 1997: The Boxer directed by Jim Sheridan
- 2001: The Pledge directed by Sean Penn
- 2002: The Good Thief directed by Neil Jordan
- 2003: Concert For George directed by David Leland
- 2005: The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada directed by Tommy Lee Jones
- 2005: North Country directed by Niki Caro
- 2006: Notes on a Scandal directed by Richard Eyre
- 2008: The Reader, with Roger A. Deakins, directed by Stephen Daldry
- 2008: Stop-Loss directed by Kimberly Peirce
- 2008: The Yellow Handkerchief directed by Udayan Prasad
- 2010: Route Irish directed by Ken Loach
- 2011: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close directed by Stephen Daldry
- "Festival de Cannes: A World Apart". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
- "Cameras Roll on "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" as It Heads from the Page to the Big Screen". Business Wire. March 1, 2011. Retrieved May 30, 2011.