author: JORIS IVENS – duration: 15:36
This week in Amsterdam: The 21st edition of the International Documentary Film Festival or IDFA, the world’s largest and amongst filmmakers best known festival for docs. The ultimate prize to gain is the Joris Ivens Award, named after the controversial Dutch film pioneer. Controversial especially because of his communist believes, for he was a fine fellow traveler, admiring and meeting crooks like Stalin & Mao. Ivens (1898–1989) made a lot of propaganda films, most of them terrible to watch. The film we post today though has no political message and contains some charming imaging. Special for us Dutchies is to see pre-war Rotterdam since the city was bombed to ashes in 1940.
”As the film was intended to be a completely personal experiment, I was surprised by the favourable response it received from the public,” writes director Ivens in his Autobiography of a Filmmaker. Ivens started work on his film THE BRIDGE after having seen work by the European avant-garde at the Film Society. The absolute films of Walter Ruttmann and Hans Richter had made an especially strong impression on him.
When Ivens said what he was looking for – a lifeless subject with a wide variation of movement and shape – a railroad engineer suggested that he should take a look at the new railroad bridge over the river Maas in Rotterdam. It was exactly what he was looking for. ”For me, the bridge consisted of a laboratory of movements, hues, shapes, contrasts, rhythms and relations between all these elements.”
Trains passed by in a flash of black metal and white steam. Ships slowly sailed under it, hidden by gritty chimney smoke. According to Ivens, the lifting bridge formed an ode to modern engineering, with its revolving cable wheel and counterweights held up by shivering cables.” (text from Memory of the Netherlands)
Having no soundtrack (and no score known) we decided to add some Mahler to it, coming from the 7th Symphony, to be more precise, part II – Nachtmusik (Allegro Moderato) as played by the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, directed by Bernard Haitink.
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