The Zuiderzee Works episode of We Are Building was elaborated to the much longer film Zuiderzee by Joris Ivens in 1930. In 1934 Ivens used the same material, and additional footage, to make another version: New Earth. This time the film got a political message, and the editing became more compact and stronger, sustained by the stirring Music of Hanns Eisler. After the part on the reclamation and the closing of the dyke the film continues with images of the economic crisis and the poverty among labourers. Ivens opposes this with the speculation on the market: those who helped with the reclamation of new land for agriculture are now unemployed and starving, while grain is dumped at see to keep the prices up. The closing of the dyke is still one of the strongest editing sequences in the films of Joris Ivens. —ivens.nl
Joris Ivens (18 November 1898, Nijmegen – 28 June 1989, Paris) was a Dutch documentary filmmaker and committed communist.
Born into a wealthy family, Ivens went to work in his father’s photo supply shop and from there developed an interest in film. He completed his first film at 13; in college he studied economics with the goal of continuing his father’s business, but an interest in class issues distracted him from that path. Originally his work focused on technique – some argue that it had that focus at the cost of relevance, especially in Rain (Regen, 1929), a 10-minute short filmed over 2 years which features impressive cinematography and a number of ‘characters’ (but no information about them aside from what was visible) and in The Bridge (De Brug, 1928), which showed a frank admiration of engineering and also featured a number of “characters” but again did not give any information about them.
In 1931 Ivens went to the Soviet Union… read more