The `14th International Hemingway Conference’ started last Friday in Lausanne. It’s a biannual conference with dozens of lectures on various aspects of the life and work of American writer Ernest Hemingway. This year, five film scholars from the United States and France provide lectures dealing with the cooperation between Hemingway and Ivens during the Spanish Civil War.
His earlier experiences as a Red Cross employee in ambulances on the battlefields of World War I (Farewell to Arms) had disassocieted him from the militarism but in 1936 he could not bear to see Spain collapse in a civil war. He enlisted as a journalist to report on the struggle of the legally elected republic against the rebels backed by Hitler and Franco. In March 1937 he met Ivens inParis for several weeks, he helped the small film crew in the filming of The Spanish Earth, in and around Madrid. Back in the U.S. in June, he wrote a caption for this groundbreaking documentary. After he had several times returned to the front in Spain two years later, Hemingway would incorporate his experiences in the novel "For Whom the Bell Toll".
The five film scholars from various universities did parts of their research for the presentations in the Joris Ivens Archives.