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The Iron Angel: A problem with the cast


The Woman Across the Way: East Berlin
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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I visited East Berlin which was quite a procedure. You have to go to a certain station and show your passport, and they look at you. There's a mirror above the thing. They look at you from on top and from underneath, and God knows what. But it was interesting because I wanted to see what was going on. It was my first opportunity since... more or less my first opportunity since that festival in '51, before the wall was built... before that wall was built. So that was interesting for me. And... but it's a mixed experience; a bittersweet experience. Because a divided city is never particularly pleasant. West Berlin had a pleasant, slightly rural, slightly small town atmosphere at that time, which was quite pleasant, which is all gone now. I used the opportunity, such as it was, to explore a little bit the Eastern side, but the real opportunity to do that came much later when I made a film in Berlin. My third film in Berlin was made immediately after the fall of the wall. But in that film I'd already started, and I became aware of theatre in East Berlin, which was very, very good. And the one thing... the one... the community which suffered quite a bit after the... what they call the Wende, the changes, was the theatre community. They were quite on hard times because German... Berlin had three opera houses. There were two in the West and one in the East, or one in the East and two in the West. Of course, they couldn't sustain all that theatrical activity after they were reunited. So some of the theatre people actually suffered a bit, and the audiences.

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: Berlin

Duration: 1 minute, 43 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008