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Dante Spinotti

Dante Spinotti

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Also Known As: Died:
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Birth Place: Italy Profession: director of photography

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Italian cinematographer Dante Spinotti worked with such internationally respected directors from his native country as Lina Wertmuller, Liliana Cavani and Giacomo Battiato before making his American debut with Michael Mann's "Manhunter" (1986), an early introduction to the Thomas Harris character Hannibal Lecter. He reunited with Mann for "The Last of the Mohicans" (1992), allowing his camera to run alongside Daniel Day-Lewis' Hawkeye and accompany the trajectory of a bullet or the flight of a tomahawk, and again for the dynamite cops-and-robbers saga "Heat" (1995). Another frequent partner has been director Garry Marshall, the two teaming on "Beaches" (1988), "Frankie and Johnnie" (1991) and "The Other Sister" (1999). Spinotti was also director of photography on two Michael Apted films, "Blink" and "Nell" (both 1994).Spinotti's collaboration with Curtis Hanson yielded the critically acclaimed "L.A. Confidential" (1997). Rejecting the classic film noir approach, Hanson and Spinotti pored over the work of Swiss-born still photographer Robert Frank, intrigued by the contemporary look and feel of his pictures that were still true to their period. Inspired by Frank's photos, Spinotti took every...

Italian cinematographer Dante Spinotti worked with such internationally respected directors from his native country as Lina Wertmuller, Liliana Cavani and Giacomo Battiato before making his American debut with Michael Mann's "Manhunter" (1986), an early introduction to the Thomas Harris character Hannibal Lecter. He reunited with Mann for "The Last of the Mohicans" (1992), allowing his camera to run alongside Daniel Day-Lewis' Hawkeye and accompany the trajectory of a bullet or the flight of a tomahawk, and again for the dynamite cops-and-robbers saga "Heat" (1995). Another frequent partner has been director Garry Marshall, the two teaming on "Beaches" (1988), "Frankie and Johnnie" (1991) and "The Other Sister" (1999). Spinotti was also director of photography on two Michael Apted films, "Blink" and "Nell" (both 1994).

Spinotti's collaboration with Curtis Hanson yielded the critically acclaimed "L.A. Confidential" (1997). Rejecting the classic film noir approach, Hanson and Spinotti pored over the work of Swiss-born still photographer Robert Frank, intrigued by the contemporary look and feel of his pictures that were still true to their period. Inspired by Frank's photos, Spinotti took every opportunity to film exclusively with practical lights (i.e., fluorescents and street lamps), augmenting with bat strips ("I call bat strips my 'no-light lights'") when the practicals needed a boost. After teaming with Roland Joffe for "Goodbye Lover" (1999), a female detective story also set in the City of Angels, Spinotti made the best of the interiors and Midwestern locations for Mann's "The Insider" (also 1999) and earned his first Oscar nomination. He then joined Hanson for "Wonder Boys" (2000), proving that dark, dreary weather is not incompatible with comedy.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Deception (2008)
3.
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1980:
Early credits as director of photography, the Italian movies "Il Minestrone" and "Cenerentola"
1985:
Served as director of photography on Lina Wertmuller's "Sotto Sotto"
1986:
First film in the USA, Michael Mann's "Manhunter"
1986:
Collaborated with Bruce Beresford on "Crimes of the Heart"
1988:
Worked with Garry Marshall on "Beaches"
1989:
Helped Jerzy Skolomowski exquisitely etch "Torrents of Spring"
1990:
His stunning visuals of Venice upstaged the actors in Paul Schrader's "The Comfort of Strangers"
1991:
Second film with Marshall, "Frankie and Johnnie"
1992:
Reteamed with Mann on "The Last of the Mohicans"
1994:
Was director of photography for two Michael Apted films, "Blink" and "Nell"
1995:
Third collaboration with Mann, "Heat"
1996:
Began work on "The Mirror Has Two Faces", directed by Barbra Streisand; was replaced by Andrzej Bartkowiak
1997:
Took inspiration from the still photography of Swiss-born Robert Frank to create the distinctive contemporary look of Curtis Hanson's "L.A. Confidential"
1999:
Worked as director of photography on Roland Joffe's "Goodbye Lover", a detective story set in L.A.
1999:
Earned first Oscar nomination for his work on Mann's "The Insider"
2000:
Reteamed with Hanson as director of photography on "Wonder Boys"
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Notes

Some sources list 1943 as the year of Mr. Spinotti's birth.

"On 'L.A. Confidential', I tried to compose shots as if I were using a still camera. I was constantly asking myself, 'Where would I be if I were holding a Leica?' This is one reason I suggested shooting in the Super 35 widescreen format; I wanted to use spherical lenses, which for me have a look and feel similar to still-photo work. We would also be shooting a lot at night. With anamorphic lenses, which we used on 'Heat', you are limited to a stop of f5.6; with spherical lenses you can open up to f2.8, 2.3 or more and still get a very sharp image. We also wanted to have the ability to move around and use Steadicam, which is easier with spherical lenses." --Dante Spinotti to American Cinematographer, October 1997

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