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The Girl in Black: Post-synching


The Girl in Black: Getting arrested
Walter Lassally Film-maker
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During the second half of the shoot, we were doing a night shoot on some steps in Plaka, going up towards the Acropolis, and suddenly there was some sort of fuss, and the police arrived and it transpired that we'd been denounced. Cacoyannis and I were both foreigners, because Cacoyannis was a Cypriot, and in theory we needed work permits, which we didn't have. So somebody denounced us, actually it turned out to be a jealous technician who had not been offered a job on the movie. And he denounced us and we were arrested for working without a permit, and we were carted off to jail, and we actually saw the inside of the jail, but only for half an hour or so, because Cacoyannis said, 'Well don't worry, I'll...' you know, but unfortunately, it was the night that Field Marshall Papagos died. Field Marshall Papagos was the head of the government in those days. It was a sort of semi-dictatorship in '55. A democracy in theory but not in practice. And, because Papagos died that night everybody was running around in small circles wondering what's going to happen next, so Cacoyannis couldn't immediately contact the lawyer who couldn't immediately contact the police chief to get us out. But we were got out. But not entirely, we were half released into the custody of the police, who said, look, unfortunately due to the circumstances we can't let you go home, so very regretfully, they said, would you mind spending the night on the floor of the police station, we will give you some mattresses and so on. So we spent the night on the floor of the police station. Then a couple of days later, or the very next day, I can't remember, there was a wonderful trial. We were all brought to court and Cacoyannis had hired his lawyer, or it was his lawyer who came, and he made a wonderful speech saying... with gestures and shouting and sort of saying, 'Mr Cacoyannis and Mr Lassally, they're not workmen, they're artists! Artists don't need work permits!' And we were released.

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: work permit, arrested, jail, court, artists

Duration: 2 minutes, 9 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008