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Sam Mendes

Jul 8, 2002

Sam Mendes was an acclaimed British theater director before making an astonishing screen debut with American Beauty (1999), a satirical, compassionate, highly theatrical dark comedy set in contemporary American suburbia. The film, starring Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening, won five Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Picture. For his second film, Road to Perdition, Mendes ventured into a mythological American landscape to create a 1930s period film about gangsters, fathers and sons, violence, and redemption. Exquisitely crafted and deeply felt, Road to Perdition further establishes Mendes as a distinctive cinematic stylist, and as a remarkable collaborator. He talks about working with two screen icons—Tom Hanks and Paul Newman—and about his creative partnership with the great cinematographer Conrad Hall, who received a posthumous Academy Award for Road to Perdition.

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Discussions with creative figures in film, television, and digital media—formerly the Pinewood Dialogues—made possible with a generous grant from the Pannonia Foundation.