Joris Ivens

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ivens, Joris


Born Nov. 18, 1898, in Nijmegen. Dutch film director.

Ivens’ early films are characterized by a search for a greater cinematographic expressiveness (The Bridge, 1928), a use of impressionistic imagery (Rain, 1929), and an attempt to show the poetry and beauty of constructive labor (Zuider Zee, 1930; New Earth, 1934). His travels in the USSR gave him a knowledge of the life of Soviet people, and his documentaries were influenced by S.M. Eisenstein, V.I. Pudovkin, and D. Vertov.

In 1932, Ivens directed Song of Heroes, a film about the builders of Magnitogorsk. His films of the 1930’s defended the interests of the working class and were devoted to the anti-imperialistic struggle for liberation of peoples in many nations. The films of that period include Borinage (1933), Spanish Earth (1937), and Four Hundred Million (1938).

During World War II (1939–45), Ivens worked on Our Russian Front (1941). He is the director of Indonesia Calling (1945), about the solidarity of the Australian longshoremen with the Indonesian people’s struggle for national independence, and The First Years (1947), about life in the socialist countries of Bulgaria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. The struggle for peace is reflected in his films Peace Victorious Throughout the World (1951) and We’re for Peace! (1952, with I.A. Pyr’ev’ and A. Thorndike). In 1954 he directed the brilliant epic Song of the Great Rivers. For this film and his entire oeuvre, Ivens was awarded the International Peace Prize in 1955.

The Seine Meets Paris (1957) is another of Ivens’ contributions to the poetic documentary. He made a film about embattled Vietnam, The 17th Parallel, in 1968. His work has had an enormous influence on the development of documentary film art in many countries of the world. Ivens was awarded the International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace Among Nations in 1968. Several of his films have been awarded prizes at international film festivals.


Drobashenko, S. Kinorezhisser loris Ivens. Moscow, 1964.
Michalek, B. Sztuka faktow: Z historii filmu documentalnego. Warsaw, 1958.
Wegner, H. Joris Ivens. Berlin, 1965.
Grelier, R. Joris Ivens. Paris, 1965.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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This year the festival will pay tribute to film-makers and directors such as Guy Debord, presented and introduced by Giorgos Ikaros-Mpampasakis, Joris Ivens, Elem Klimov, Artavazd Peleshian, Chris Marker, Pipilloti Rist, William Kentridge, John Waters, Larry Jordan, Jessica Hausner, Chantal Akerman and Bruno Dumont among others.
As other biographers have noted at some length, Hemingway was closely connected to such notable communists as Joris Ivens, the Dutch filmmaker with whom he worked on the antifascist (and yes, pro-proletarian if not overtly Marxist) propaganda film, The Spanish Earth (1937), but Reynolds concedes he "was not a communist, or even a fellow traveler" (88).
We can do that, for example, by recalling Joris Ivens's immortal words from his 1933 documentary Nieuwe gronden (New Earth).
Combining the eye of van Gogh, who wrested grisaille beauty from the Borinage's sooty skies and grim interiors, with the poetics and leftist politics of Meyer's compatriot Henri Storck and the Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens, directors of the landmark documentary about a 1932 mining strike, Misere au Borinage (1933), the starkly eloquent From the Branches turns coal-mine tradings and abject workers' quarters into a terrain of privation, where silicosis abounds and a slag heap serves as a playground for the children: They skitter down the obsidian hills on metal griddles and race across a smoldering landscape that, recalling the volcanic topography of Rossellini's Journey to Italy (1954), belches jets of steaming stench.
The book closes with the travels of filmmakers Joris Ivens and John Fernhout during the Civil War of the 1930s, making rare recordings of a country in deep turmoil.
Meanwhile, Films for Chamber Orchestra features two newly commissioned scores (performed live by Sinfonia Cymru) for the screening of silent films by Joris Ivens and Ralph Steiner composed by Young Welsh composer Gareth Moorcraft.
In 1937 Joris Ivens directed a film called Spanish Earth to publicise the Republican cause in the Spanish Civil War.
Martha Gellhorn Nicole Kidman Ernest Hemingway Clive Owen John Dos Passos David Strathairn Zarra Rodrigo Santoro Pauline Hemingway Molly Parker Mary Welsh Hemingway Parker Posey Koltsov Tony Shalhoub Robert Capa Santiago Cabrera Joris Ivens Lars Ulrich Maxwell Perkins Peter Coyote Madame Chiang Joan Chen Sidney Franklin Saverio Guerra Mrs.