After last years agreement between the Vietnamese Film Instituut and the European Foundation Joris Ivens to establish an active partnership director André Stufkens visited Vietnam on the invitation of director Vũ Nguyên Hùng. The purpose of the successful visit was to make concrete appointments further developing this collaboration of exchange of knowledge and expertise.
On March 28th, during the 2017 annual meeting of The Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS), the Katherine Singer Kovács Book Award for outstanding scholarship in cinema and media studies will be presented to prof. Thomas Waugh for his magisterial The Conscience of Cinema. The Works of Joris Ivens, 1912-1989. It is thé ultimate peer review recognition of the intellectual quality and vibrance of this first book about the complete film oeuvre of Joris Ivens.
Mark Hamlyn made a new composition for The Billi Brass Quintet for Ivens' 'the Bridge'. It is part of the Billi Brass' Silent Films Project.
In the series 'Stationen der Filmgeschichte' (Stations of Film History) the Filmmuseum Düsseldorf presents films of 100 Master film directors who influenced film history. Stations are sites of arrivals, departures, crossings and switches, similar to icons of film history: the selected film directors paved the way of new directions, cross overs and switches in filmmaking. On 3 January the Filmmuseum presents three films of Joris Ivens: Lied der Ströme (1954, Song of the Rivers), ...à Valparaiso (1963) and Regen (19 ...
‘A new Ivens’, this is how German film historian Günter Jordan describes the documentary The Compass Rose (Die Wndrose, 1957). With an outstanding cast, like Simone Signoret, Yves Montand, Helene Weigel, with outstanding directors like Alberto Cavalcanti, Yannick Bellon and Gilio Pontecorvo, this five-episode omnibus film presented a new style and format in documentary film. It was shown during the International Documentary Festival DOKS Leipzig celebrating its 70th anniversary on 3 November.
During the UBUD Writers festival on Bali the 'Black Armada/Hitam Armada' exhibition was presented at the Agung Rai Museum of Art. Dr. Helena Studdert, consul-general of Australia on Bali, attended the opening event. This travelling exhibition, with the permanent screening of Ivens' Indonesia Calling, made by the National Maritime Museum of Australia on the initiative of Mr. Anthony Liem was already shown in Sydney and Yogyakarta. It will be shown at the end of November at the Margarana National Park to commemorate the ...
On Friday prof. Thomas Waugh (Concordia University, Montreal) presented his monumental 'The Conscience of Cinema. The Works of Joris Ivens 1912-1989' in EYE Amsterdam. Together with Amsterdam University Press and the European Foundation Joris Ivens, EYE organized an expertmeeting, two filmscreenings of six Ivensfilms and a live music performance accompanying Rain (Regen, 1929, Ivens/Franken). This marked the launch of a book that for the first time surveys all the films of Ivens, with a description, analysis and ...
At the occasion of the launch of Thomas Waugh's masterly book The Conscience of Cinema. The Works of Joris Ivens 1926-1989, a special Joris Ivens Seminar will organized in EYE Study on 21 October 2016. Paul Kusters, president of the Ivens Foundation, will be the moderator of the day with lectures and debates focussing on 'Ivens & The Netherlands'. The programme also includes the screening of Indonesia Calling!, New Earth, The Bridge, Rotterdam-Europoort and a Q&A.
The 13th Ubud Writers & Readers Festival is Southeast Asia’s leading festival of words and ideas. The Festival celebrates extraordinary stories, amplifies brave voices, and tackles global issues through the lens of literature and the arts. On 30 October Ivens’ Indonesia Calling! will be shown with a Q&A of Agung Rai, Anthony and Helen Liem and other guests from the Australian National Maritime Museum.
With the bulky book 'Saviour of the Tenth Muse. Jan de Vaal and the Netherlands Filmmuseum, 1946-1987' the European Foundation Joris Ivens is presenting the treasures of the national film archive of the Netherlands, as collected, presented and preserved by Jan de Vaal (1922-2001). Until now only sporadically has been published about the pioneering activities by its first director. He started in 1946 without anything, no film, no money, no housing, nog experience and no personnel. After 40 years he left the film museum with 1 ...
The director of the Vietnames Film Institute gave a precious present to the Ivens Foundation, when both FIAF-institutions met in Nijmegen on Thursday 30th of June. Mr. Dao Quoc Hung (on the photo: second from the left side) handed over the found footage of Ivens' visits to Vietnam when Ivens started filmmaking durign the war against the US in 1965. Most of the footage concerns outtakes of Le ciel, la terre (1966) and various meetings in North-Vietnam. Next year the Vitenames Film Institute will commemorate the 50th anni ...
The Sächsische Staatskapelle in Dresden will performing a live concert with film screening of Rain (Regen, Ivens-Franken 1929) during the 7th Shostakovich-Days. The Final concert programs Ludwig von Beethoven, Dmitri Shostakovich, Paul Dessau and Hanns Eislers Fourteen Ways to Describe Rain (1941) with the film.
NAMU in Prague, the publishing house of the Academy of Arts, presented the Czech translation of André Stufkens book Joris Ivens. Filmmaker of the World (518 pages). This Czech book explores the content, production, meaning and reception of 21 Ivens films and was first published in Dutch and German in 2008 and 2009 as part of the DVD box. Especially a chapter about the relationship between Joris Ivens and the Czech Republic has been added, focussing on the documentary The First Years.
What are the greatest documentaries ever made? The international film magazine Sight&Sound publishes in the September issue 2014 a poll of 340 critics and filmmakers in the search for authoritative answers. In this list a remarkable number of 11 Ivens’films were voted.
He is doing it again: Günter Jordan, film historian, filmmaker and author of major works about East-German film history wrote another solid book of 700 pages, focussing on Ivens’ German films in the 1950’s. Probably the less researched period of Ivens’ film career. His book ‘Unbekannter Ivens. Triumph, Verdammnis, Auferstehung 1948–1989’ has been commissioned by the DEFA Stiftung and will be published in November.
Rejection and appreciation
Why were the films Ivens made for the DEFA filmstudios up till this publication ‘unknown’, the least shown, the least researched or even the least appreciated? Did Ivens reject his East-German films himself?
During the 1980’s he prohibited screening of certain films he made in the GDR, because he felt these films could cause him political trouble. Some were even labelled Stalinist. On the other hand he stated that his most rejected and less successful films were the most deer to him, similar to what a parent would feel for a prodigal child. In this sense he never rejected these films.
The troubled reception of this period certainly didn’t have to do with the appreciation at the time these films were released. On the contrary, these films received many awards and met Millions of spectators in the Communist world, which at that time covered a large part of the globe with the Soviet-Union, China, the Eastern-Block, Western-European countries with strong left wing parties and a lot of Third World countries fighting for independence against neo-colonial oppression. Song of the Rivers (Lied der Ströme, 1954) for instance must have been seen by some 250 Million spectators around the world, according to impressive figures of the commissioners themselves.
Also Ivens himself was awarded within the context of this system and became a leading figure in the film production. However as soon as he broke with the political line of the Soviet-Union and embraced the Chinese political policies, which became apparent when he supported the Prague Spring in 1968, he became persona non grata in the GDR, never to enter the GDR anymore.
A for Ivens unexpected homage to the Prince William of Orange as protagonist in the feature film Till Eulenspiegel (1956), an international co-production of DEFA and Ariane.
When Ivens started to work for the Berlin based DEFA filmstudios in 1951 his documentary style had already taken shape. He was no longer the avant-garde pioneer of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Documentary film and documentary filmmakers had conquered in only a few decades a fundamental position within the cultural landscape. Mostly because documentary film was increasingly used by governments for educational and propagandistic purposes during the Second World War and the years of reconstruction.
The classic documentary style with not-synchronic sound, well composed pictures and lighting, the ‘voice-of-God’-voice over and objective camera techniques is characteristic for this period, avoiding experiments and confusing modes of interpretation and imagination. Ivens used a broad spectrum of -even opposing- film modes ranging from film poetry, newsreel, reportage, compilation film, re-enactment up to even feature film. This wide range of styles makes this period as interesting as all other periods in Ivens’ career. Soon the generation of the 1960’s took over and made this film style suspected, irrelevant and outdated, using themselves new hand-held cameras with direct sound. Also Ivens himself changed his film style in this way, not only due to new film technology, but also as a reaction on television.
This new aesthetical paradigm of documentary film as direct cinema is probably the main reason why the East-German period of Ivens was for a long time neglected.
Nowadays a new appreciation of various artistic developments during the 1950’s makes a more balanced judgement possible.
Günter Jordan ( 1941), studied Slavonic languages, History and Educational Theory, Teaching, Film direction at the Deutschen Hochschule für Filmkunst Potsdam-Babelsberg. He was documentary filmmaker and director himself at the DEFA-Studio für Dokumentarfilme, and freelance filmmaker from 1992. He gained his PhD in 1990 from the Humboldt-University Berlin with a dissertation about the early DEFA documentary film and the DEFA weekly newsreels Der Augenzeuge (Eyewitness). He published in magazines (Sonntag, Film und Fernsehen, BFF), Close Up (Konstanz), Ivens-Magazine (Nijmegen), in the annuals of the DEFA Foundation (Berlin 2000–2005) and in ‘Bilder einer gespaltenen Welt’ (Berlin 2007); ‘Alltag des Dokumentarfilms 1946-1950’ (Berlin 1987); ‘Erprobung eines Genres. DEFA-Dokumentarfilme für Kinder 1975-1990’ (Remscheid 1991), ‘Sie sehen selbst, Sie hören selbst ...‹ Die DEFA von ihren Anfängen bis 1949’ (with Christiane Mückenberger, Marburg 1994), ‘Schwarzweiß und Farbe. DEFA-Dokumentarfilme 1946-1992« (with Ralf Schenk, Berlin 1996, 2000), ‘Film in der DDR. Daten Fakten Strukturen’ (Potsdam 2009, 2013). ‘Zu den Anfängen zurück, um weiterzukommen. Die Geburt des neuen DEFA-Dokumentarfilms’, in: Klaus Stanjek (Hg.): ‘Die Babelsberger Schule des Dokumentarfilms’, Berlin 2012.
For the book ‘Unbekannter Ivens. Triumph, Verdammnis, Auferstehung 1948–1989’ Günter Jordan did research in the Joris Ivens Arhives and many other in Berlin, Paris and elsewhere.
Fo more information at the webiste of publishing house Bertz+Fischer:
Triumph, Verdammnis, Auferstehung 1948–1989
ca. 700 Seiten, ca. 35 Fotos
Hardcover, 14,8 x 21 cm