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Another Sky: The first trip to Morocco


Another Sky: Choosing the subject
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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That started out as a different project. The director, Gavin Lambert, who, at that time, had been, and continued to be, editor of the magazine Sight and Sound, got a project together first to make his first movie, and he found this Scottish aristocrat, Sir Aymer Maxwell, who became a very good friend, and he put up the money, all the money, £20,000, and he lost every penny, but that's another story... the end of the story. And the initial idea was to make a film of the Pirandello play, Six Characters in Search of an Author. And they started negotiating with the Pirandello family for the rights, and they found the... the family impossible. They just couldn't agree.

So eventually they dropped the... the Pirandello, and Gavin, of course, was anxious not to lose the opportunity to make the first film. So very quickly he proposed another subject to Sir Aymer which was this Moroccan subject, because he knew that Sir Aymer had a house in Morocco and loved Morocco. And... so he very quickly got together this other subject which, to my mind, leans a little, let's say, on Paul Bowl... Paul Bowles novel, The Sheltering Sky. Anyway, he presented this idea to Sir Aymer and Sir Aymer agreed, and so we set off with this new script for Morocco.

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: Morocco, Sheltering Sky, Gavin Lambert, Sir Aymer Maxwell

Duration: 1 minute, 38 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008