Tag Archives: Joris Ivens

Joris Ivens – …A Valparaíso (1963)

Before the Panama Canal was dug in 1911, Valparaiso was one of the main seaports on the passage around Cape Horn. Over the centuries, the city fell into the hands of different conquerors, and natural violence repeatedly destroyed it for the greater part. In cooperation with the university of Santiago de Chile, Joris Ivens made a semi-documentary about the daily life in Valparaiso, where the contrasts between poor and rich immediately strike the eye. Ivens chose realistic, but also poetical images. The abrupt shift from black-and-white to colour in the film marks the transition from the initial pessimistic part to the later, more hopeful images. Read More »

Joris Ivens – The Spanish Earth (1937)

Plot/Description: from IMDB
This documentary tells of the struggles during the Spanish Civil War. It deals with the war at different levels: from the political level, at the ground military level focusing on battles in Madrid and the road from Madrid to Valencia, and at the support level. With the latter, a key project was building an irrigation system for an agricultural field near Fuentedueña so that food could be grown to feed the soldiers. Read More »

Joris Ivens – Power and the Land (1940)

Information film that was an important part of the rural electrification campaign, set up as part of the New Deal policies of president F.D. Roosevelt. Privatised electricity companies of the U.S. cities saw no profit in bringing electricity all the way to the sparsely populated countryside, so the ministry of Agriculture tried to convince farmers to set up co-operations which in turn could buy power from the government.
Ivens selected a model farm and family, the Parkinsons, and shows the daily life on the farm before and after the installation of electricity. The films was seen by over 6 million people until 1961 and houses besides the two main components of American culture (untamed pastoral nature versus industrial progress) many autobiographical aspects. The whole film is staged with the farmer’s family acting as themselves. Today we’d call this a docudrama. The Parkinson’s farm had already been electrified several months before the shooting. Read More »

Joris Ivens – Nieuwe gronden aka New Earth (1933)

The Zuiderzee Works episode of We Are Building was elaborated to the much longer film Zuiderzee by Joris Ivens in 1930. In 1934 Ivens used the same material, and additional footage, to make another version: New Earth. This time the film got a political message, and the editing became more compact and stronger, sustained by the stirring Music of Hanns Eisler. After the part on the reclamation and the closing of the dyke the film continues with images of the economic crisis and the poverty among labourers. Ivens opposes this with the speculation on the market: those who helped with the reclamation of new land for agriculture are now unemployed and starving, while grain is dumped at see to keep the prices up. The closing of the dyke is still one of the strongest editing sequences in the films of Joris Ivens. Read More »

Joris Ivens – La Seine a rencontré Paris AKA Seine a rencontré (1957)

The first film Joris Ivens made when he returned from Eastern Europe is a film poem about Paris and Parisian life on the borders of the Seine river. The film follows the flow of the river through the city of Paris, making a portet of this city and its people living, strolling, sun-bathing, fishing, working, swimming, loving and laughing beside the Seine. The poem written by Jacques Prévert gives the film an extra dimension, and the music, with the recurring theme of a children song, gives it a melancholic touch. Read More »

Joris Ivens – Pour le Mistral (1966)

One of Joris Ivens’ most poetic films is his first attempt to film the wind. With a beautiful photography, a powerful editing and a poetic commentary the film tries to make the wind visible and tangible. It starts in black and white, continues in colour and ends in cinemascope to illustrate the force of the upcoming Mistral wind that blows in the south of France. The original scenario was much more elaborate and ambitious and fits Ivens’ lifelong wish to film the impossible: the wind. It was difficult to find a producer for this film, for most people were rather sceptical to finance a film with an invisible main character. Finally Claude Nedjar was willing to produce the film, which despite many financial problems was finished in 1965. Read More »

Joris Ivens – Philips-Radio (1931)

An industrial film which shows the operations inside the Philips Radio plant: In a mêlée of activity, glassblowers make delicate glass bulbs. Machinery assists the bulb manufacture. A virtuoso glassblower begins a more complex tube used in radio broadcasting; it is then turned, fired, and sculpted. Conveyors carry partially completed units. Workers perform their various specific assembly-line tasks. Cases are manufactured and machined, wire harnesses are assembled, loudspeakers are produced. As radios near completion, they are run through a series of tests. Engineers and draughtsmen define future developments. In a closing stop-motion sequence, in a style reminiscent of Norman McLaren, a group of loudspeakers performs a playful dance. The film overall is a poetic depiction of an industrial process. Read More »