Visionary Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus Dies

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The Berlinale Mourns the Loss of Michael Ballhaus

Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus in 1990 (Photo credit: Erika Rabau @ Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek/Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin)

The Berlin International Film Festival mourns the death of the visionary cinematographer Michael Ballhaus, who passed away on April 12.

The Berlinale enjoyed a long and close history with Michael Ballhaus, who was a frequent guest at the festival with his films, and served as president of the International Jury in 1990. In 2016 the festival dedicated a Homage to his work and awarded him the Honorary Golden Bear.

Ballhaus was one of the world’s most important cinematographers. Before spending 25 years working primarily in the USA, he established his reputation in Germany where he worked with, among others, auteur Rainer Werner Fassbinder, helping New German Cinema achieve new artistic freedom. At the lens alongside great American directors such as Martin Scorsese, he had a decisive effect on the lighting and look of US moviemaking. His body of work comprises some 130 films for cinema and television, including 15 films with Fassbinder and seven with Scorsese alone, as well as with many other legendary directors, including Peter Lilienthal, Wolfgang Petersen, Volker Schlöndorff, John Sayles, Robert Redford, James L. Brooks, Paul Newman, Mike Nichols, and Francis Ford Coppola.

“Michael Ballhaus was a cinematographer who was a kindred talent to directors and whose oeuvre is unique. He was a great artist, a wonderful person and a longtime friend,” says Berlinale Director Dieter Kosslick

(Source: Berlinale press office)

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