Filming Wengler & Söhne – Eine Legende © DEFA-Stiftung, Wolfgang Ebert
Roland Dressel was born in Meerane, Germany, in 1932. He trained as a photographer from 1953 to 1954. As of 1954, he worked at the East German DEFA Studio for Feature Film as a location photographer and assistant cameraman. After an additional apprenticeship, he became a director of photography in 1965.
Having worked on a few television productions, Dressel shot his first movie in 1973: Siegfried Kühn’s Das zweite Leben des Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Platow. This film was banned from export and only approved for a limited domestic release. East German officials criticized Dressel’s use of different camera styles and effects, as well as the film’s presentation of the working class. For the next five years, Dressel was banned from working at the DEFA Studios; instead, he worked in television, where he had more freedom to experiment with new ideas. His collaboration with director Rainer Simon brought him back to DEFA at the end of the 1970s. Thereafter, Simon and Dressel worked together on seven major films, each of them a stylistic masterpiece with noteworthy visual effects: Dressel’s camera style significantly impacted the visual language of the 1980s in East Germany.
As of 1990, after the fall of the Wall, Dressel worked as a freelance cinematographer for cinema and television productions. He also teamed up with important German directors, including Herwig Kipping (Das Land hinter dem Regenbogen), Michael Gwisdek (Abschied von Agnes, Mambospiel), Helma Sanders-Brahms (Mein Herz – Niemandem! Das Leben der Else Lasker-Schüler) and Marcus Lauterbach (Verzweiflung). He retired from filmmaking in 2000.
Roland Dressel, who was the director of photography for over 30 films, was one of the leading cinematographers of his time. In 2017, the DEFA Foundation in Berlin honored his lifetime achievement with their Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievements. Dressel died on December 5, 2021.
Festivals & Awards:
Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievements, DEFA-Stiftung
|1994||German Film Award in Gold, Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography for Abschied von Agnes|
|2000||Verzweiflung (Desperation, TV)|
|1998||Das Mambospiel (The Big Mambo)|
Mein Herz – Niemandem! Das Leben der Else Lasker-Schüler (My Heart Is Mine Alone—The Life of Else Lasker-Schüler)
|1994||Abschied von Agnes (Farewell to Agnes)|
|1991||Die Spur des Bernsteinzimmers (The Mystery of the Amber Chamber)|
|1990||Das Land hinter dem Regenbogen (The Land beyond the Rainbow)|
|1990||Der Fall Ö (The Case of Oe)|
|1989||Die Besteigung des Chimborazo (The Ascent of Chimborazo)|
|1988||Fallada – Letztes Kapitel (Fallada: The Last Chapter)|
Wengler & Söhne. Eine Legende (Wengler & Sons: A Legend)
|1985||Das Haus am Fluss (The House on the River)|
|1984||Die Frau und der Fremde (The Woman and the Stranger)|
|1983||Kaskade rückwärts (Bailing Out)|
|1983||Olle Henry (Ole Henry)|
|1982||Das Luftschiff (The Airship)|
|1981||Jadup und Boel (Jadup and Boel)|
|1981||Das Fahrrad (The Bicycle)|
|1978||Zünd an, es kommt die Feuerwehr (Set a Fire, the Fire Brigade Is Coming)|
|1973||Das zweite Leben des Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Platow (The Second Life of Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Platow)|
|1967||Heißer Sommer (Hot Summer)|
|1965||Die Fahne von Kriwoj Rog (The Banner of Kriwoj Rog)|