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.
Paul Wendorf, a graduate of Columbia University, fought for 19 months in the XVth International Brigade at the Jarama and Brunete front, before he was killed in action. His cousin found letters which proof that he was filmed for Ivens’ The Spanish Earth in April-May 1937.
On 24 May 1937 Paul Wendorf wrote to his wife Leona Grossman: ‘There are many things to while away our time, the Circulating Library, ping-pong, (no foolin’) and amateur entertainment, lectures by Bates and G. Marion. My gosh, I almost forgot. We’ve had movies of ourselves taken by a guy who works with Joris Ivens. I am in the following scenes: Standing in line for pay (3rd in line); carrying food (I’m the guy carrying the big bag on my shoulders); and sorting out packages just received in the mail. Watch for it’
And on June 4th: ‘In case my letter to Harold misses him, I want to repeat that I am in the following scenes in the movies taken of the Battalion: 1. Standing in line for pay. (3rd in line); 2. Carrying a big bag of bread on my shoulders.; 3. Helping to sort out newspapers received in the mail.’
(Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives Collection, processed by Jessica Weglein and Elizabeth Compa, produced on August 08, 2017)
A Unique Testimony
Besides the journalistic and literary reports of Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos, who were direct testimonies of the shooting of The Spanish Earth no testimonies of soldiers, volunteers of the International Brigades, left. The letters of Wendorf are therefore unique.
Thanks to Peter Davies documentary Digging The Spanish Earth and Rien Dijkstra’s (Stichting Spanje 1936-39) network the cousin of Paul Wendorf in the US found out that he wrote about the documentary. She intends to publish the letters of Wendorf, who had studied history and economics at Columbia University, and was appointed in September 1937 to the Historical Commission in Albacete and, under the supervision of Sandor Voros, and participated in writing the history of the 15th International Brigade and the American battalions. He also contributed articles to the Brigade's newspaper the Volunteer for Liberty.
Paul Wendorf departed New York on the ‘SS Paris’ on February 6th to serve the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. He fought at the Jarama front from March to June 1937. Joris Ivens and John Fernhout (Ferno) already filmed on this battlefield when on 12 February they experienced the first bombardment by Italian Caproni bombers in the village of Morata de Tajuña. The small film crew of Ivens and Ferno returned various times to this front in March and April among others accompanied by Hemingway. Ivens left Madrid 25 April in a car with Dos Passos, but had given a list to John Ferno with 70 subjects to film extra footage necessary for the final editing of what would become The Spanish Earth. Indeed a sequence can be seen in the final version where a soldier is sorting out newspapers, a soldier who similars Paul Wendorf, although no certain evidence can be given.
Wendorf participated in the Brunete offensive from July until August 1937. In January of 1938 he was charged, along with Carl Geiser, with organizing a school for political commissars. A bout of rheumatism and subsequent hospitalization prevented him from carrying out this assignment, and by March, he was returned to active service. On August 18, 1938, Wendorf was killed during an aerial attack in the Sierra Pandols. In 1939 Charles Nusser, a fellow Lincoln Brigade veteran and Wendorf's friend, married Leona Grossman Wendorf, Wendorfs widow.
Complete typoscript of Wendorf’s letter of 24 May 1937.
Received yesterday your letter of May 11. I am still in the same place, same trenches, same state of good health. You ask me many questions about myself. I am well-tanned, have shaved my beard as an infernal nuisance, my hair is clipped in close-cropped, Prussian military style (we have a first-class Battalion barber-shop where you get face-lotion after a shave). I have lost perhaps 20 pounds, am in the pink of condition. Yesterday, on fortifications, I carried a 60 pound block of concrete on my shoulders for a quarter of a mile, mainly uphill; also much pick and shovel work.
I got your previous letter about the exam. To repeat on my side, in case I get notice of an appointment type of letter telling them I have a contractual engagement with a private employer and will not be free for several months, but requesting to be kept on the list for future opportunities, and sign my name to it.
About the package mailing, have you been to the Friends of the Lincoln Brigade? Of course, you’re smart and you’ve been there already.
Did you get the flower I mailed? The fields around here are carpeted with red poppies. When you look down at the valley here and across at the range of hills opposite you can see red streaks and smears among the green vegetation.
The new government seems to be going places. The new People’s Army which had been training for a couple of months now does not seem to have been put into action yet, but still the old nucleus of volunteers plus International Brigades are holding their own. When the combined forces are joined in the coming big drive, we should go fast—and the faster we go, the better I like it. [Sentence crossed out]. (I was saying something indiscreet from the military viewpoint.)
There are many things to while away our time, the Circulating Library, ping-pong, (no foolin’) and amateur entertainment, lectures by Bates and G. Marion. My gosh, I almost forgot. We’ve had movies of ourselves taken by a guy who works with Joris Ivens. I am in the following scenes: Standing in line for pay (3rd in line); carrying food (I’m the guy carrying the big bag on my shoulders); and sorting out packages just received in the mail. Watch for it!
And in a few days, I hope to mail a photo of myself in new summer uniform.
Gee how I hope I don’t get a winter uniform.
Mucho, mucho, amor
June 8, 1937
Say, the ’17’ is O.K. The composite masthead was good, and the general make-up swell. And the light touches were fine. And it did seem to be written by more than one person.
About criticism, I think a little more could have been done in bringing forward the Party’s position on certain points, over and above the “People’s Front” positions. I say that with apologies because I know how damned hard it is to do just that without making an article sound like a stereotype. Rather than go much further with my own comment I am sending you a copy of a new sheet here, the “Volunteer for Liberty”, (separate cover). I also sent one to Harold. Of course the more advanced political situation here doubtless makes the problem a bit more clear, but I would like too call your particular attention to the two main articles, on the development of the people’s army and on the land question. The main trick is, I believe, presenting a question in terms of movement, of the forces operating [ ] dialectally. I don’t think it was necessary in the article “Spain in Flames” to say it was a “Left Republican capitalist government [ ] into power”. Then the article “Nine Old Men” (was it written by Hana?) I think makes too much of the abstract “progress vs. reaction” and not enough of the class forces opposed. Or maybe I’m wrong. Read the “Volunteer”! Maybe only 2 or 3 in the unit can write as well as Ralph Bates, but with a nucleus like that, it should become a good paper.
So, politics aside. how’s everything? How’s your stomach? Out here everybody gets diarrhea once in a while, and you eat rice and cold potatoes. Oh yes, about the war, our front is still quiet. Last night there was terrific bombardment going on several miles away in a direction where we have advanced recently, but I don’t know what’s happening. Right now it is so perfectly quiet here that a person would believe it was a year ago, before trenches were dug in these olive groves. There’s actually a bird whistling somewhere.
In case my letter to Harold misses him, I want to repeat that I am in the following scenes in the movies taken of the Battalion:
1. Standing in line for pay. (3rd in line)
2. Carrying a big bag of bread on my shoulders.
3. Helping to sort out newspapers received in the mail.
So long kid!
P.S. I am sending with the “Volunteer” a pamphlet circulated in peaceful parts of Spain soliciting placements for women and children evacuated from the war zones. Hope you get them. I suggested in a letter to Pearl that they might be raffled as a means of raising money.
P.S.#2: Just reminded myself of a poster I saw in Madrid, with the Slogans
“Books and periodicals to the Front!”
“Culture is a Preparation for Attacking the Enemy!”
That’s there ticket, hey baby?