Franz Rath Dies: German DoP Known For Volker Schlondorff & Margarethe Von Trotta Collaborations Was 88
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a close up of Anders Hove looking at the camera © German Society of Cinematographers

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Franz Rath, the veteran German DoP known for his collaborations with directors such as Volker Schlöndorff and Margarethe Von Trotta, has died aged 88, according to the German Society of Cinematographers.

Rath passed away on December 26, 2020, in Graefelfing, Germany.

Born June 22, 1932, in Eltville, Rath’s first film was well-received 1966 Cannes drama Young Torless by German filmmaker Schlöndorff. The DoP was awarded a German Film Award for their second collaboration Degree Of Murder, starring Anita Pellenberg.

In 1977 he started working closely with Margarethe von Trotta and would go on to make eight films with the director, including acclaimed dramas Rosa Luxemburg, The Promise (for which he won a German Camera Award) and Rosenstrasse.

He also worked on numerous TV productions and with directors including Mike Roemer, Josef Sargent, Kurt Gloor, Franz Peter Wirth and Egon Monk. In 1984, he served as second unit DoP on cult kids film The NeverEnding Story.

The German Society of Cinematographers said: “Franz Rath was one of the most important Directors of Photography in Germany, who’s cinematography defined numerous films of great artistic and historical value. He has helped shaping German film history and the BVK – German Society of Cinematographers for decades. Always loyal to his artistic partners, he was not only able to motivate his crew and all those involved on set with personal modesty and integrity as DoP, but also to guarantee their well-being and fair treatment. Professional and human solidarity shaped Franz Rath’s working style. He was politically wide awake and allowed himself several times to reject films that did not correspond to his humanistic and social character. His work is evidence of this. The uncritical shallow mainstream was not to his preferences.”

The organization continued: “Our condolences go to his wife, the two daughters and their families – and all those who were close to Franz and who adored him. He was a role model in life and work for everyone who knew him, was allowed to learn from him and have worked with him. We will miss our colleague and keep his memory alive. He was not only an internationally recognized DoP and master of light for cinema and television, but also a noble, committed and friendly colleague. His character and his humour will remain in our memories and comfort us.”

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