Steven Ball
Marie Craven
Solrun Hoaas
Daryl Dellora

Melbourne independent filmmakers

Leo Berkeley
Giorgio Mangiamele
Michael Buckley
Moira Joseph

Michael Lee
b. October 15, 1949, Townsville, Australia.

BIOGRAPHY:   Michael Lee came to Melbourne in 1968 to study at Swinburne College, then the only film-making school in Australia. He became involved in the blossoming avant-garde film scene in Melbourne.

He was a member of the founding board of the Melbourne filmmakers Co-operative and later served on the board of the Modern Image Makers Association.

He produced over a dozen 16mm films from 1969 to 1994, and has been working on digital video since then.


The Mystical Rose

CRITICAL OVERVIEW:   My first film Fundeath (1969, 10 mins) was shot on Super 8 and later blown up to 16mm. All my subsequent work has been on 16mm. My early films were primarily animations, growing out of the drawing and painting I did as a youth. As I developed I incorporated live action footage. Formally, I was never concerned with characterisation or narrative but with the communication of emotions and moods. Painting and music were my inspiration rather than theatre.

Apart from some shorter films concerned with formal structure and the parameters of the motion picture medium, my main thematic concern has been the search for meaning. My big efforts were The Mystical Rose (1976, 65 mins), which expresses the confused dissolute narcissism of my youth, Turnaround (1983, 60 mins), which illustrates the search for a centre or foundation, and A Contemplation of the Cross (1989, 27 mins), which communicates the acceptance of Christian faith. My latest films are totally abstract animations.

Michael Lee, April 2003

See also essay on A Contemplation of the Cross.

Rock Heart Fire (1985, 17 mins)
Razzle Dazzle Rhapsody (1992, 15 mins)


The Mystical Rose

Fundeath (1969, 4 mins, Super 8/16mm)

Black Fungus (1971, 20 mins, 16mm)

National Geographic (1972, 10 mins, 16mm)

Contemplation of the Rose (1973, 10 mins, 16mm)

The Mystical Rose (1976, 65 mins, 16mm)   view film here

Meditation upon Impermanence (1980, 40 mins, 16mm)

Turnaround (1983, 60 mins, 16mm)

Rock Heart Fire

Dance for Love (1984, 20 mins, 16mm)

Rock Heart Fire (1985, 17 mins, 16mm)

A Contemplation of the Cross (1989, 27 mins, 16mm)

Razzle Dazzle Rhapsody (1992, 15 mins, 16mm)

Screen (1994, 5 mins, 16mm)

Juggling Time (1994, 8 mins, 16mm / Digital)

Celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Birth of St Teresa in Avila (2015, 19 mins, Digital)


Dance for Love (2017, shot 1985, 21 mins, 16mm / Digital)

Crucifixion (2019, 6 mins, 16mm / Digital)

Power Lines (2019, 14 mins, Digital)

Frolic (2019, 4 mins, 16mm / Digital)

Various Energies (2020, 5 mins, 16mm / Digital)

The Quiet Game (2021, 4 mins, Digital)

On the Way (2021, 4 mins, Digital)

Pieta (2023, 5 mins, 16mm / Digital)

Contemplation of the Rose (1973, 10 mins)
Juggling Time (1994, 8 mins)


Razzle Dazzle Rhapsody

"Michael Lee talks about The Mystical Rose" Cantrills Filmnotes, No. 25/26, May 1977.

"Michael Lee's Meditation upon Impermanence", Cantrills Filmnotes, No. 39/40, November 1982.

"Turnaround" by Michael Lee, Cantrills Filmnotes, No. 43/44, 1984.

"Crossing the Great Stream with Camera in Hand" by Dirk de Bruyn, Filmviews, No. 133, Spring 1987.

In Black & White and Colour: Aboriginies in Australian Feature Films by Peter Malone (Spectrum Publications, Richmond, Victoria, 1987 pp. 97-99).

The Australian Screen edited by Albert Moran and Tom O'Regan (Penguin, 1989, pp. 173, 231, 235, illus. 20).

"Text-Texture-Gesture" by Dirk de Bruyn, Continuum, Vol. 8, No. 1, 1994.

"A Contemplation of the Cross: The intentions of the filmmaker" by Michael Lee, Melbourne independent filmmakers - a web resource, 2003. (essay written in 1989)

"The Mousoulis vision of independence", by Jake Wilson, RealTime OnScreen #63 Oct/Nov, 2004

Various Energies (2020, 5 mins)
Pieta (2023, 5 mins)

Michael Lee, April 2024.

Michael Lee YouTube Channel

Contact Michael Lee

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Melbourne independent filmmakers is compiled by Bill Mousoulis