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Another Sky: The camera breaks down and pessimistic reports


Another Sky: Shooting the second half of the film
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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So the second part of the film is this journey, first by bus and then by donkey, across the High Atlas, so we had this ancient bus and Sir Aymer's motor car. He had a rather swish Bentley and that was it. And, ever since then I've been thinking, how did they make movies without a walkie-talkie, often thought now, because we didn't have walkie-talkies in those days, and John had a very primitive kind of radio device, and there was... the journey across the High Atlas, we had one radio device in the... one set in the car, in the Bentley, and the other was in the bus, but we... the sooner... the moment the car was more than 300 yards away, we lost contact. It didn't work at all. We were in this bus and John was usually sitting on the floor, so he didn't show... he wasn't visible in the film... shots we took in the bus, and, generally speaking there was no contact. But we managed, and, because every now... now and then they were waiting for us so that... get the long shots of... of us progressing. And once, John said, 'I hear them, I hear them!' And I said, 'Yes, because they've just pulled up behind us'. Anyway, so that was the whole second part of the... of the journey. We had a series of hotels booked in the so-called Gîte d'Etappe, which were government-run hotels. Morocco was still French at that time. It was a French Dependency. It was just before the Independence struggles. We had this series, there were three or four hotels booked, each was separated from the other by a day's journey by car. They were... they were deliberately sited in that way; a day's journey away, so somebody could make a tour of the area, and every night they could stop in one of these government-run hotels, which were very comfortable. And we had a series of these hotels booked and then, at some point there after our first bit of location shooting, of shooting out of Marrakesh, we sent Derek York back to... oh, we had a report from London. Yes, I have to go back a little bit. The... our camera broke down. We had a... a Cameflex which we'd rented from a company in Rabat, and at some point it... it broke down.

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: radio, hotel, film, shooting, camera

Duration: 2 minutes, 28 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008