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.
Chiara Bonfiglioli recently published her splendid book chapter about the DEFA filmproduction Die Windrose (1957, The Compass Rose) of which Joris Ivens was supervisor. ‘Die Windrose is a significant example of cross-border cooperation and provides important insights on the internationalists networks that developed after 1945 between Western-Europe, the Soviet Union and the Third World.’
Extraordinary women like Marie-Claude Vaillant-Couturier , Helene Weigel and Simone Signoret play an important role in this film as well as grassroots activist women organisations. In five episodes shot by five different directors in five countries, Brasil, China, Soviet Union, France and Italy, this documentary focuses on the struggle of women around the globe. It was commissioned by the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF), a left wing, anti-fascist women’s organization founded in 1945 in Paris. Although discredited and marginalized as a result of the US House of Un-American Activities (HUAC) , this WIDF was much more diverse in its political agency. ‘In fact, it included women’s organizations from the First, Second and Third World, and saw the participation of a number of notable feminists and women’s right activists.’ The secretary general of the WIDF was Marie-Claude Vaillant-Couturier, one of the first female photojournalists, during WO-II engaged in the Resistance until her deportation to Auschwitz, Birkenau and Ravensbruck. After the war she became a high-ranking politician of the French Communist Party. After seeing his Song of the Rivers (Lied der Ströme, 1954) Vaillant-Couturier contacted Joris Ivens and asked him to produce something similar about women’s lives around the world.
Chiara Bonfiglioli, a graduate of Utrecht University, former researcher in Croatia and currently lecturing Women's Studies at University College Cork, found out that in the preparatory phases of the movie Joris Ivens and his team asked in various countries for footage about women’s lives and mobilizations. Not only the five countries which were included in the final cut, but besides these also in among others Japan, the United States and India. For instance from the US Ivens received a report concerning political campaigns that included the election campaign of Charlotta Bass, the first African American to run for vice-presidency in 1952, the murder of Ethel Rosenberg and the case of Rosa Lee Ingram, a ‘Negro mother sentenced to life imprisonment because she defended herself against the attacks of a white farmer.
Bonfiglioli argues that the WIDF wanted a specific framing, on the one hand, women’s oppression in capitalist and colonial countries, and on the other, women’s fulfilled lives in socialism. The five episodes, shot by local directors and cameramen, were done in a fictionalised manner, either in a socialist-realist style or neo-realist style. ‘Issues of welfare and social rights were at the core of the movie. Social motherhood, meaning the idea that the state had to provide adequate welfare services for mothers (particularly working mothers) and children was central to WIDF-campaigns in the mid 1950’s. In 1955, the WIDF organized the World Congress of Mothers in Lausanne, where maternalist narratives related to women’s role as peacemakers found expression not only among communist and socialist women, but also among Christian and liberal women’s organizations.’
The message that the WIDF wanted to transmit with of the Compass Rose was that ‘women’s interests and problems are the same across the world, but only socialist countries have managed to resolve the conundrum of women’s emancipation.’ In the film Helene Weigel, actress and co-founder of the Berliner Ensemble, introduced the filmic mosaic of five stories by pointing at the five countries on a spinning globe.
After a complex production with several delays, the film was premiered in Helsinki in the summer of 1957. ‘Its reception was negative, even among WIDF-members themselves, who expected to see a more authentic and less propagandistic account of women’s struggles across the world. The critical commentaries proof that the WIDF was far from homogeneous and different opinions coexisted.’ The hegemony of the Soviet Union was contested and Asian and African delegations played an increasingly prominent role.’ The Brazilian delegation condemned the Brazilian episode claiming that the movie’s emphasis on extreme poverty could not be taken as representative of Brazil’s overall economic situation.
The Italian episode directed by Gillo Pontecorvo received highest praise for its authenticity, he was able to make a quality movie despite the low budget. Working with non-professional actresses, the local trade union and politically engaged volunteers he succeeded in filming the occupation of a factory in Prato in a convincing way. ‘Giovanna’ is the first movie that portrays women as direct protagonists of a working-class struggle, Bonfiglioli concludes.
That’s why especially this part still is being shown in Italy. Since 2000 a restored version started to circulate during trade union events, proving that the theme of women’s labour and citizenship maintains its urgency six decades later. Bonfiglioli: ‘In the meantime, gender studies scholars have started to re-evaluate post-war and Cold war women’s movements in 20th century Italy. The making of Giovanna points at the complexity of Cold War imaginaries and organizations such as the WIDF as agents of social transformations in the field of women’s rights.
According to Dr. Celia Donert (University of Liverpool): ‘The transnational circulation of ideas about women’s equality during the Cold War may at times have been motivated by solidarity between women as women across geographical and geopolitical divides, but was more often hemmed around by national loyalties, ideological cleavages and painful personal decisions.’ Bonfiglioli: ‘Between East and West, grassroots movements for women’s equal rights coexisted with top-down state socialist propaganda proclaiming women’s full emancipation in socialism. Women’s political subjectivities, loyalties and agency during the Cold War era must thus be understood within this complex historical and geographical framework.’
Chiara Bonfiglioli, ‘Cold War Gendered Imaginaries of Citizenship and Transnational Women’s Activisme: The Case of the Movie Die Windrose (1957), in Anne R. Epstein and Rachel G. Fuchs (eds.) Gender and Citizenship in Historical and Transnational Perspective (London: Palgrave McMillan, 2017), pp. 166-185.
Dr. Chiara Bonfiglioli is Lecturer in Gender & Women's Studies of the University College Cork
Magazine of the WIFD (Women’s International Democratic Federation), 1963, with an article about 'the authentic films of Joris Ivens' by Hans Wegner.