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Electra: getting a shot of a vulture and the music
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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I said earlier that Electra sends off Orestes to murder Agamemnon because, of course, it isn't Agamemnon, I remember, it's Aegistos her mother's new lover. And then the film finished with- we needed a shot of vultures, because in the scene where Agamemnon is murdered, they throw a net over him and Cacoyannis wanted to cut that to the flight of a bird in the same direction, a vulture. And so after the film, as I said had finished- after the filming had finished, in fact, it was early the following year that we set off for Meteora, and we acquired a dead sheep. And we put this dead sheep out and we sat and waited for the vultures to come and, of course, the vultures didn't come because they like carrion, which is not a sheep that was killed yesterday. It's a sheep that's been dead for a few days, at least. So the biggest close-up of a vulture that we could get, with our long-focus lens, was not quite as big as it should have been. So that scene isn't all that successful. But- the other comment I wanted to make is that Theodorakis- it struck me using, again, Thesarakis' music in that film, that Greece is unique in the fact that you could have the foremost poet of the land, Seferis, write a poem and that poem could be set to music by Theodorakis, and the resulting disc would be in every jukebox in the land. That is something I can't imagine outside, outside Greece.

Born in Germany, cinematographer Walter Lassally (1926-2017) was best known for his Oscar-winning work on 'Zorba the Greek'. He was greatly respected in the film industry for his ability to take the best of his work in one area and apply it to another, from mainstream to international art films to documentary. He was associated with the Free Cinema movement in the 1950s, and the British New Wave in the early 1960s. In 1987 he published his autobiography called 'Itinerant Cameraman'.

Listeners: Peter Bowen

Peter Bowen is a Canadian who came to Europe to study and never got round to heading back home. He did his undergraduate work at Carleton University (in Biology) in Ottawa, and then did graduate work at the University of Western Ontario (in Zoology). After completing his doctorate at Oxford (in the Department of Zoology), followed with a year of postdoc at the University of London, he moved to the University's newly-established Audio-Visual Centre (under the direction of Michael Clarke) where he spent four years in production (of primarily science programs) and began to teach film. In 1974 Bowden became Director of the new Audio-Visual Centre at the University of Warwick, which was then in the process of introducing film studies into the curriculum and where his interest in the academic study of film was promoted and encouraged by scholars such as Victor Perkins, Robin Wood, and Richard Dyer. In 1983, his partner and he moved to Greece, and the following year he began to teach for the University of Maryland (European Division), for which he has taught (and continues to teach) biology and film courses in Crete, Bosnia, and the Middle East.

Duration: 1 minute, 31 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008