Recently a citizen from Montpellier travelled 1200 kilometres to visit the Joris Ivens Archives in order to find his biological father. There are many reasons why people around the world consult the Ivens collection, but this is a very special and personal one. He wanted to look for his father, which he has never known and met, in Ivens’ documentary Peace Will Win (1951)
The Indonesian Diaspora Network Victoria is organizing an exhibition in the Immigration Museum in Melbourne about the international solidarity movement in Australia after the Proclamation of Indonesia's Independence, that united the communities of Indonesians, together with the local Australians, Indians and Chinese that we should celebrate. One of the activities during the weekend of 27-29th of May is the film screening of Indonesia Calling (1946) directed by Joris Ivens, which explores the refusal of ...
Why The Netherlands has so may outstanding painters and documentary filmmakers? German film historian Thomas Tode attempts – following previous authors - to provide an answer in a recent article. According to Tode it was Joris Ivens who was leading the way in depicting the elements of nature, like the famous Dutch Light, the wind or water in all its guises: rivers, rain and clouds.
After years of preparations and research, professor Zhang Tongdao (University of Beijing) and Dutch filmmaker René Seegers finalized their four-part television series about Joris Ivens. In each part of 50 minutes one of Ivens’s Chinese films is key: 1- The 400 Million (1938); 2- Before Spring (1958); 3- How Yukong Moved the Mountains (1976) and 4- A Tale of the Wind (1988).
In 1951 Joris Ivens met Pablo Picasso during a visit to his atelier in Vaucluses. Marion Michelle made a series of photos of them, together with poet Jacques Prévert, which are on display at the exhibition about 'Picasso: Shared and Divided' in Museum Ludwig, Cologne (25 September 2021-30 January 2022). After the Second World War Picasso was 'a hero of the left' and used in this way. His dove, symbol for world peace, became a tool for propaganda in the Eastern Bloc. What do we associate with Pablo Picasso today ...
FIAF, in partnership with the Jan de Vaal Fund, invites film historians to submit proposals for thematic chapters as part of a forthcoming book on the 82-year history of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), both as an institution and as a coherent global community with its shared values, cultural missions, professional practices, scientific methods, and collaborative projects. The European Foundation Joris Ivens is an associate of FIAF since 2002 and André Stufkens is participating as co-editor of the book, together with Ch ...
75 years ago, on 17 August 1945, Indonesia declared its independence as a nation. In support of the young republic Joris Ivens filmed in October and November 1945 the boycot actions of maritime workers (the Black Armada) from various nationalities in the harbour of Sydney: Indonesia Calling. On August 26th 2020 the Indonesian ambassador opened in the National Maritime Museum of Australia, situated on Sydney's waterfront, an on-line exhibition about the relationship between Austra ...
On Thursday 16th of January H.E. Mrs. Ngo Thi Hoa, Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, conferred the Order of Friendship posthumously to Joris Ivens. Mrs. Annemiek Nooteboom received the Friendship Medal on behalf of the Ivens-family. She gave the medal and certificate to the European Foundation Joris Ivens to keep and treasure it forever in the archives.
On 30 and 31 October a delegation from Quang Tri province (central Vietnam) visited the city of Nijmegen, at the invitation of the municipality of Nijmegen, The Economic Board and the European Foundation Joris Ivens. Ms. Ngo Thi Hoa, ambassador of Vietnam in The Hague, attended the meetings. In Quang Tri the Ben Hai River is situated on the 17th parallel, where Joris Ivens and Marceline Loridan-Ivens in 1967 shot the long documentary Le 17e parallele. The delegation was headed by mr. Hoang Nam, the vice-president of the Peoples C ...
Matera in the Italian region of Basilicata is this year’s European Capital of Culture. The exhibition ‘Visione Unica’ of the design group Formafantasma includes Joris Ivens’ documentary l’ Italia Non è un Paese Povero (1960) as part of a visual archive about the very rich patrimony of this region. The last decades Matera shows a remarkable switch from poor and subordinated region towards a spectacular cultural pinnacle, praised by UNESCO, the World Monuments Fund and used by many famous ...
On 16 November at IDFA Amsterdam the documentary Marceline. A Woman. A Century made by German director Cordelia Dvorak will be premiered. This portrait of the strong-minded filmmaker Marceline Loridan-Ivens (1928-2018) and fourth wife of Joris Ivens, saw its final editing two days before she passed away. In this film we see Marceline serving her guests coffee or vodka in her Paris apartment at the rue des Saints Peres.
At the occasion of the 120th birthday of Joris Ivens and the 50th anniversary of the debut of the film The 17th Parallel, The People’s War (Joris Ivens and Marceline Loridan-Ivens, 1968) the VietNam Film Institute in collaboration with the European Foundation Joris Ivens are organizing an international Ivens-seminar in Hanoi on 22-24 November. Renowned (film) scholars from Vietnam, Canada, USA, Australia, Indonesia, China and The Netherlands will provide an impulse to the Ivens Studies around the world. Former Vietnamese co ...
The DEFA Foundation in Berlin released a new German DVD with Ivens-films in conjunction with the book Günter Jordan published about these films. DEFA already had launched a DVD with Song of the Rivers in and now presents The Wind Rose, Friendship Will Win and The Peace Cycle Tour Warsaw-Berlin-Prague 1952.
The long awaited book (in German) about Ivens and his East-German films, written by thé specialist in this field, Günter Jordan, has been published by the DEFA Foundation. This beautiful book describes in 680 pages the triumph in the 1950’s, the condemnation at the end of the 1960’s when Ivens became persona non grata in the GDR, until the resurrection of Ivens’ DEFA-films.
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