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Heat and Dust: A tricky mirror shot and the editing


Heat and Dust: The crew
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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By that time, I had assembled a crew in India which was the only crew in India which worked permanently for Merchant Ivory, because they did a certain amount of local shooting, commercials and a certain amount of stuff. So I had gathered together a crew in India that were the only crew resident in India that were familiar with Western ways of shooting. Because, although India has a large film industry, it's almost entirely confined to the studios, in Bombay and elsewhere, and all they do on location is what they call picturising the songs, which we would call playback, shooting to playback. They call it picturising the songs. And they send the crew off to Kashmir... for instance, we met a crew in Kashmir who were doing that and just that. But otherwise they are not used to working on location. Certainly not used to shooting location interiors. Nobody knows how to do that in India. And I had the only crew gathered together by then, who knew something about that, the grips and electricians, who were efficient at managing that kind of shoot. They were the only ones in the whole of India.

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: Merchant Ivory, Heat and Dust, India

Duration: 1 minute, 7 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008