Living Dangerously: A Biography of Joris Ivens

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Amsterdam University Press, 2000 - Performing Arts - 443 pages
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The Dutch film maker Joris Ivens (1898-1989) was one of the founding fathers of documentary film. The career of this eternal traveller spanned over sixty years, from his first film in the twenties to his last, finished at the age of ninety. Among Ivens's friends and collaborators were leading filmmakers and actors like Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Dovzhenko, Chaplin, Milestone, Capra, Losey, Flaherty, Grierson, De Santis, the Taviani brothers, Signoret, Montand and Marker.

In his early years Joris Ivens was a prominent figure in the international film avant-garde. From the thirties onwards he became, according to American film historian Robert Sklar, 'the most important political filmmaker of the decade, probably of the century'. His films on Soviet socialism, the Spanish Civil War, the Indonesian struggle for independence, the Vietnam-war and the Cuban and Chinese revolutions, make him a subject of controversy in any debate on the relationship between art and propaganda.

Hans Schoots has based his biography on new research of Ivenss complete filmwork and of unknown production-documents, personal letters and diaries, found in many archives, such as Ivens's FBI-dossier and State Archives in Moscow and former Eastern-Berlin. Artistic and political milieus in Amsterdam, Berlin, Moscow, New York, Hollywood, Paris, Havana, Hanoi and Beijing provide the background of this fascinating life-story. This is the volume 11 in the Amsterdam University Press series Film Culture in Transition, edited by Thomas Elsaesser.
  

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Contents

Introduction
7
1 The Bosss Son 18981921
11
2 Ragmop 19211927
21
3 A Time of Daily Discoveries 19271929
34
4 Exactly How We See It Too Sir 1929
49
5 You hear me Father Mother World Charnel House 19301931
59
6 The Magnetic Mountain 1932
74
7 Socialist Realism 1933
84
17 The Blue Book 19501956
228
18 Breathing Space 19571960
250
19 Cowboy Boots and Guerrilla Cap 19601964
265
20 A Socialist Scoop 19641968
285
21 SixtyNine in SixtyEight 19681971
302
22 The Old Steed Gallops a Thousand Li 19711978
316
23 An Arduous DeStalinization 19781985
338
24 Unfavorable Winds 19851989
351

8 Sidetracked 19341936
97
9 Land of Opportunity 1936
110
10 The Spanish Labyrinth 1937
118
11 Chinese Poker 1938
135
12 Ivenss Interbellum 19391941
151
13 Glamour Boy of the Revolution 19411944
163
14 War Under the Palm Trees 19441945
179
15 Indonesia Merdeka 19451946
194
16 The Uncle Behind the Iron Curtain 19471950
211
Acknowledgements
363
Archives and Document Collections
365
People Interviewed
367
Notes
369
Bibliography
418
Filmography Joris Ivens
430
Index of Persons
433
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About the author (2000)

Hans Schoots is a freelance writer specialized in film and media.

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