The international documentary filmfestival in Lisbon, 'Doc Lisboa', presents a special programme on labour, called 'A Body of Work'. A rather neglected subject in mainstream cinema, because film was exactly ment to escape from the factory, from watching the world of labour and of workers. As part of this programme from 22 October to 3 November the film A Family, a Woman (1976) by Joris Ivens and Marceline Loridan-Ivens is on-line available.
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.
Prof. Ariel Heryanto from Monash University in Melbourne lectured about Joris Ivens and Indonesia Calling in Djakarta. In his vivid presentation in Bahasa Indonesia (also a version with English subtitles is available) he discussed the tensed relationships between Indonesia, Australia and The Netherlands both back then and now. The opening sequence of Ivens' film showing an Australian society with diversity could be a model for their relationships. Since 22 October, when this film made by Jakarticus, was put on-line then thous ...
What are the greatest documentaries ever made? The international film magazine Sight&Sound publishes in the September issue 2014 a poll of 340 critics and filmmakers in the search for authoritative answers. In this list a remarkable number of 11 Ivens’films were voted.
The "art of lifting heavy stones" is not only empiral knowledge, but it's mostly related to the way we perceive others.
This has certainly nothing to do with tolerance, since the idea of tolerance itself is being in a position of power against someone else who is vulnerable.
It´s true that we have the experience of the world not only to aknowledge it, but essentialy to change it.
Thats why the "art of lifting heavy stones" is simultaneously a process of humbleness and fairness. Although, this process also requires some sort of effort and commitment (as always)... Sometimes carrying "heavy stones" might put us in a similar situation to the one of Sisyphus, but, on the other hand, it might also be the beginning of something else - a new world, perhaps? Either way, in this case both the means and the end itself seem to be equally important.
By Pedro Tavares
During the year of 1929, Ivens received an invitation to show his films and to lecture at the club house of the Metro construction workers in Moscow. After having shown Zuiderzee, a worker stood up from the audience and confronted him: "You say you are from the middle class, yet the film we have seen was surely made with the eyes of a worker. I know, because it is exactly the way i see the work. So, either you are a liar and bought the film in Holland from somebody or else you are a worker pretending to be from the middle class - and that is certainly not necessary here in a worker's and peasant state,". Ivens took it as a higher compliment and asked him, "Where in my film do you see the work shown exactly as you see it?"
"Several places," he said, "especially in that heavy stone work on the dike. I have done that kind of work."
"I see what you mean. I can explain how i filmed that sequence. I could not find the right angle of my camera on this stone work. So i started watching the work to see how it begins, how it ends, what its rithym is; but still a could not find my camera angle. Then i tried to move the heavy basalt stones myself because i thought it would be valuable to get the actual feel of the work before filming it. I soon became exhausted because i wasn't used to the work, but i found out what i wanted to know (...)"
Quotations taken from The Camera and I (Seven Seas Books, Berlin, 1969)
By Pedro Tavares
Modern war is based on such qualities as distance and speed. Filmmaking, on the other side, is all about patience and “getting closer” - or, at least, trying to find a fair spot (both physically and morally) between us and the ones which are being filmed. So, how can both filmmaking and modern war get along together? The question raised presupposes two possible answers, but we already know that only one of them is right: modern war is no business for filmmakers. Having said this, we can only assume the heavy conscience of being rather too late (most likely) or too soon, but never on time… It might even be possible that the work of filmmakers concerning modern war relies only on the aspect of ruins, which means providing a trace of a trace and never the actual happening.
Would it be possible nowadays to make an honest film like The Spanish Earth based on an actual conflict? Unfortunately, I’m afraid we can only expect something like Germany, Year Zero (which is being far too optimistic, by the way).
Still from Germany, Year Zero (1948)
Ruins of the National Library of Bosnia and
Herzegovina in Sarajevo (1992)
By Pedro Tavares
«(...)Then it is not enough for the documentarist to show what is happening. As a participant he is able to understand and to show why it is hapenning and what for. This approach generates new forms of expression, new styles, new techniques. New methods of work have led to collective direction in some instances.
Film makers have also to take into account the considerable change in the reaction of the public to their work. The intensive political changes mentioned above have stimulated a need and a demand on the part of public for political films, fiction as well as documentary.»
Brief Remarks about Militant Documentary Film, by Ivens (A.I.D. News, nº1 - Jan. 1971)
By Pedro Tavares