Joris Ivens’s first 16mm film with synchronous sound, which he made together with Marceline Loridan, is situated on the demarcation line between North and South Vietnam: the seventeenth parallel. Like The Spanish Earth, this film shows the daily life of the people together with their struggle against the aggressors. The Vietnamese people were living underground and had to work on the land at night. The film shows this horrid balance between daily life and the constant bombing by the B52s. In a few weeks more than twenty thousand tonnes of bombs were dropped in this area. In relation to his other films, The Seventeenth Parallel is marked by longer sequences, direct sound combined with synchronized sound and a less dramatic montage. Although not innovative, the film is a masterpiece like The Spanish Earth, and shows a professional use of modern techniques, largely due to Marceline Loridan’s influence, especially regarding the sound recordings. —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
Born in Epinal (Vogesen) in 1928. In 1940, she and her parents, who, as Jews, had already been driven out of Poland, fled into the France. From 1944-45 she was a prisoner at the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. In the 1960s, she worked as a television journalist; after meeting the politically committed documentary filmmaker, Joris Ivens, she was to become his most important collaborator on his projects. In 1967, she also began working as a producer (Capi-Films) and distributor. She is a co-founder of the Joris Ivens Foundation. —Warsaw Film Festival