53 minutes / sound / black&white / 35mm

English title: The 400 Million

French title: Les 400 millions

The 400 Million

Director: Joris Ivens
Script: Joris Ivens
Camera: John Ferno, Robert Capa
Editor(s): Helen van Dongen
Music: Hanns Eisler
Commentary: Frederic March
(written by Dudley Nichols)
Production company: History Today Inc.

The Japanese agression against China in 1937 forced the Chinese communists to join Chiang Kai-shek's Kwomintang to take up the battle against their common ennemy. In 1938 Joris Ivens and John Ferno went to China, later joined by Robert Capa, to film the battle of T'aiertshwang; one of the few combats won by the Chinese. The film shows all aspects of a war: the battle itself, the preparations, refugees, casualties and victims, the fear and distress, the human misery and the courage, and the land under fire. Although filming for the Chinese, Ivens and his crew were checked by the censors of the Kwomintang as to prevent that the communists would be given too much prominence. Nonetheless, Joris Ivens succeeded in contacting the communists, leaving them a camera and some reels of film so they could film their battle. This camera has been exhibited in the Museum of the Revolution in Peking.

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