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The Day Shall Dawn: Problems getting the final rushes


The Day Shall Dawn: The opening ceremony
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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Half way through the shoot, roughly, certainly a third of the way into the shoot, we had what was called the opening ceremony. Every film in India has an opening ceremony, which is a sort of good luck. Sometimes they decorate the camera. It happens again in my film, The Perfect Murder, they actually show that, it's called the Mucharat, which is the kind of a formality to wish good luck to the film and to placate the gods that they don't do anything bad. So, some officials came down from God knows where, from Dhaka I suppose, and we had this opening ceremony in the village where people made speeches and little fresh meats again, sweetmeats, were served and that sort of thing. Then somebody held an address. One of the officials held a... made a speech and part of this speech was in praise of me and John Fletcher. They wanted to pay us their... they wanted to pay us a compliment each and, no doubt, he'd read up on what cameramen do, and somewhere he'd come across this phrase, so he says, 'Walter Lassally doesn't merely photograph, he paints with light'. Unfortunately, he couldn't find an equivalent phrase for John, for the sound recordist. So he said, '...and John Fletcher doesn't merely record sound, he feels with his machine'.

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.

Tags: The Perfect Murder, The Day Shall Dawn, John Fletcher

Duration: 1 minute, 35 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008