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Michael Ballhaus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael Ballhaus, A.S.C. (5 August 1935 – 12 April 2017) was a German cinematographer who collaborated with directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Martin Scorsese, Mike Nichols and James L. Brooks. He was a member of both the Academy of Arts, Berlin, and the American Society of Cinematographers.

Life and career

Ballhaus was born in Berlin as the son of German actors Lena Hutter and Oskar Ballhaus.[1] Ballhaus was influenced by family friend Max Ophüls,[2] and appeared as an extra in Ophüls' last film Lola Montès (1955).[3]

He came to prominence with his work with Rainer Werner Fassbinder beginning with Whity (1971), in addition to The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972), Chinese Roulette (1976) and The Marriage of Maria Braun (1978). In 1990, he was the Head of the Jury at the 40th Berlin International Film Festival.[4]

After settling in the United States he worked on many American films, such as Baby It's You (1983) for John Sayles; Old Enough (1984) for Marisa Silver; Under the Cherry Moon (1986) for Prince; After Hours (1985), The Color of Money (1986), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), Goodfellas (1990), The Age of Innocence (1993), Gangs of New York (2002) and The Departed (2006) for Martin Scorsese; Broadcast News (1987) and I'll Do Anything (1994) for James L. Brooks; The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) for Steve Kloves; Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) for Francis Ford Coppola; Sleepers (1996) for Barry Levinson; and Wild Wild West (1999) for Barry Sonnenfeld.

Ballhaus was nominated three times for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Broadcast News, The Fabulous Baker Boys and Gangs of New York, but never won. Despite this, he did win the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Bram Stoker's Dracula; both the Boston Society of Film Critics and Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography for his work on The Fabulous Baker Boys; and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Goodfellas.

His documentary In Berlin, made with Ciro Cappellari, was released in May 2009.

Ballhaus's final film was Sherry Hormann's 3096 Days in 2013.

Personal life and death

Helga Maria Betten Ballhaus, Ballhaus' first wife from 1958, appeared in a handful of films, such as those directed by Fassbinder; she died in 2006. Their son Florian is also a cinematographer who worked on Flightplan and The Devil Wears Prada. In 2011, he married German-American film director Sherry Hormann, who is known for Desert Flower.[5] Ballhaus was also a nephew of German stage and film actor Carl Balhaus, who starred in The Blue Angel and M.[6]

Ballhaus died at his home in Berlin on 12 April 2017, at the age of 81, after a short illness.[7]


Year Film Director Other notes
1971 Whity Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Beware of a Holy Whore German title: Warnung vor einer heiligen Nutte
1972 The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant German title: Die bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant
1973 World on a Wire German title: Welt am Draht
1974 Martha
1975 Fox and His Friends German title: Faustrecht der Freiheit
Mother Küsters' Trip to Heaven German title: Mutter Küsters' Fahrt zum Himmel
1976 Sommergäste [de] Peter Stein
Satan's Brew Rainer Werner Fassbinder German title: Satansbraten
Chinese Roulette German title: Chinesisches Roulette
1978 Germany in Autumn German title: Deutschland im Herbst
1979 The Marriage of Maria Braun German title: Die Ehe der Maria Braun
The First Polka Klaus Emmerich German title: Die erste Polka
1981 Lili Marleen Rainer Werner Fassbinder
1982 Dear Mr. Wonderful Peter Lilienthal
1983 Sheer Madness Margarethe von Trotta German title: Heller Wahn
Baby It's You John Sayles
1984 Reckless James Foley
Old Enough Marisa Silver
Heartbreakers Bobby Roth
Das Autogramm Peter Lilienthal
1985 After Hours Martin Scorsese Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography
1986 Under the Cherry Moon Prince
The Color of Money Martin Scorsese
1987 The Glass Menagerie Paul Newman
Broadcast News James L. Brooks Nominated – Academy Award for Best Cinematography
1988 The House on Carroll Street Peter Yates
The Last Temptation of Christ Martin Scorsese
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Frank Oz
Working Girl Mike Nichols
1989 The Fabulous Baker Boys Steve Kloves Won – Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Cinematography
1990 Postcards from the Edge Mike Nichols
Goodfellas Martin Scorsese Won – Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography
1991 Guilty by Suspicion Irwin Winkler
What About Bob? Frank Oz
1992 The Mambo Kings Arne Glimcher
Bram Stoker's Dracula Francis Ford Coppola Won – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
1993 The Age of Innocence Martin Scorsese Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography
1994 I'll Do Anything James L. Brooks
Quiz Show Robert Redford
1995 Outbreak Wolfgang Petersen
1996 Sleepers Barry Levinson
1997 Air Force One Wolfgang Petersen
1998 Primary Colors Mike Nichols
1999 Wild Wild West Barry Sonnenfeld
2000 What Planet Are You From? Mike Nichols
The Legend of Bagger Vance Robert Redford Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Cinematography
2002 Gangs of New York Martin Scorsese Nominated – Academy Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Cinematography
2003 Uptown Girls Boaz Yakin
Something's Gotta Give Nancy Meyers
2005 Sonntagsluft Frank A. Buecheler
2006 The Departed Martin Scorsese Nominated – Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Cinematography
2013 3096 Days Sherry Hormann Final film


See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ A Conversation With Michael Ballhaus, ASC (November 20, 2006) at the Wayback Machine (archive index)
  3. ^ Michael Ballhaus discusses his connection with the Austrian director in the documentary film Working with Max Ophuls: Lola Montès Revisited (2008).
  4. ^ "Berlinale: 1990 Juries". Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  5. ^ Filmreife Hochzeit in Zehlendorf!., 28 Oct. 2011. Retrieved on 13 March 2012.
  6. ^ Thomas Vorwerk, Das fliegende Auge: Michael Ballhaus im Gespräch mit Tom Tykwer
  7. ^ McNary, Dave (12 April 2017). "Michael Ballhaus, 'The Departed' and 'Goodfellas' Cinematographer, Dies at 81". Variety. Retrieved 11 January 2019.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 July 2021, at 00:54
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