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The Battleship Potemkin Survivor


World Youth festival in Bucharest
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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One of my documentaries was quite early on, in 1953, I think it was. I went to Romania with Tony Simmons and we made a documentary about the World Youth Festival, the next one. The one in 51 was in Berlin. They had them every two years at that time. So the next one was in Bucharest. And we went off to Bucharest, and Bucharest at that time hadn't seen many foreigners. We were quite, sort of, unusual animals to roam the streets in Bucharest. And there was a little old lady who met us in the street, and she heard us talking English, and she got into a conversation with us and was very interested. And then she said- you have a queen in England? And we said- yes, because Queen Elizabeth had just been crowned, the previous year. So we said- yes, we have a Queen in England. And she said- I know Victoria. That was really lovely.

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, 2 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008