Films By Joris Ivens, Program Two

I’ve only seen three of these five short films, but all three are exciting and essential viewing, displaying Ivens’s talent as a poetic as well as socially conscious filmmaker. The Bridge (1928, 11 min.), his first famous film, focuses on a bridge in Rotterdam, while the brilliant 13-minute Rain gives equal attention to a rainfall in Amsterdam. Ivens had to hide from police to make Borinage (1934, 30 min.), about a coal miners’ labor struggle in Belgium, and though he was commissioned to make Philips Radio (1931, 30 min.), his first sound film, by the Dutch factories of the eponymous electronics company, the film is a critique as well as a celebration of the industrial processes involved (and surely one of the greatest industrials ever made). New Earth (1933, 30 min.), partly about the creation of a new lake in the Netherlands, is similarly ambivalentand equally impressive. (JR)

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