focus on dion beebe

image from memoirs of a geisha
Memoirs of a Geisha
Thursday 18 May - Monday 29 May 2006

ACMI pays tribute to the work of Oscar®-winning Australian Cinematographer Dion Beebe who has collaborated with directors of the calibre of Gillian Armstrong, Jane Campion, Clara Law, Michael Mann and Rob Marshall.

The season traces Beebe's already impressive career, from his luminous renderings of Australia's and New Zealand's urban settings and landscapes through to his ambitious and inventive work in Hollywood on projects such as Collateral, Chicago and Memoirs of a Geisha. As Director of Photography, Beebe is both bold and considered; he frequently takes glorious stylistic leaps but always to the dance of the very diverse visions of the filmmakers with whom he works.

In addition to screening highlights from his body of work, ACMI will screen films nominated by Beebe as influential on his creative approach, as well as his own Top Five.

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memory & desire

Caro's film explores the ritualised grieving of a love found late and lost at the height of its intensity.

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dion beebe in conversation

Don't miss this exclusive opportunity to hear a great Australian cinematographer talk about his colourful career.

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praise + down rusty down

Featuring superb colour-saturation, Praise sustains the development of a relationship forged by immobilizing excesses. Screens with Down Rusty Down.

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charlotte gray

Gillian Armstrong's directorial eye is devoted to the gorgeousness of Cate Blanchett, and Beebe's lens is a filter for her admiration.

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eternity + the space between the door and the floor

Eternity meditates on the work of an urban philosopher and predecessor to graffiti artists. Screens with The Space Between the Door and the Floor.

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floating life

Through Beebe's lens local suburbia takes on an a surreal glare, accentuating the sense of disconnection experienced by various members of the family.

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Beebe expressively renders Rotorua's landscapes and the domestic interiors to accentuate the volatility of the characters in this striking melodrama.


In this section of the program, Dion Beebe reveals some of his source material, the films that served as visual reference points or sites of inspiration for his work on particular movies.

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all that jazz

Theatre and film director Joe Gideon's work, drug and womanizing habits send him hurtling towards a decadent demise.

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The breathlessly paced screen adaptation, based on the 1975 musical, plays its story of intrigue, romance, betrayal and a rivalry to the hilt.

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groping + collateral

Mann and Beebe brilliantly capture the beauty and menace of nocturnal Los Angeles in the fast-paced thriller Collateral. Screens with Groping.

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Roeg's background in cinematography is evident in every frame, with composition and landscape articulating the narrative as much as the action.

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holy smoke

"Beebe's camera tirelessly seeks out unusual details" - Variety 

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la jetée + what i have written

Beebe uses super 16 film in What I Have Written to emulate the resounding sense of melancholia, desire and loss evoked by use of stills in La Jetée.

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memoirs of a geisha

A veritable concert of picture perfect production design, costuming, and cinematography, this is the film that won Beebe his first Oscar®.

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This heady 1970s thriller spins contemporary noir in New York and is eloquently served by Willis' urban gothic hues and motivated camera angles.

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in the cut

Campion's underrated girl's-own thriller places a confused, modern woman amidst a range of shadowy male figures - all embroiled in a murder mystery.


ACMI invited Dion Beebe to nominate his "desert island movies", the five films essential to creative survival. Broad in taste and with a clear attraction to visually compelling films, Beebe's highest praise goes to:

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the conformist (il conformista)

Groundbreaking in its avoidance of traditional flashback techniques, a sophisticated visual language to interrogate memory, truth and history evolves.

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cries and whispers (viskningar och rop)

Brilliant performances combine with the film's visual bravura to produce one of the most devastating explorations of regret, pain, love and loss.

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don't look now

Adapted from a Daphne du Maurier short story, Nicolas Roeg's hypnotic horror film delves into guilt, eroticism and the supernatural.

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paris, texas

The film's visual prowess is perfectly matched by Ry Cooder's hauntingly beautiful musical score.

Thu 18 May - Mon 29 May 2006
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