Joris Ivens (14m23s, 1929). Source: AVI, 153mb.
See also: vimeo.com/avantgardecinema/debrug
"The bad weather the crew experienced in shooting Breakers inspired Ivens next film, Rain. Or perhaps Rain reveals how much Ivens was fascinated by natural phenomena – almost forty years later he would set out to film the wind. How do you “know” the rain? Is it a hand stretched out to feel the first drops? Or holding an umbrella? The way the rain turns the pavement into a mirror, the splash when a car goes past or a downpipe overflowing? As in The Bridge Ivens uses images shot from almost every imaginable angle and position to explore the sense of a city passing from sun to rain and back to a clear sky with the birds returning to their perches on the railings.
These early films had been made using the resources of the family photographic business, often shooting at weekends. Further experimentation followed, notwithstanding the extremely positive reception of both The Bridge and Rain in avant-garde and cultural circles at the time. One uncompleted experiment attempted to see if a completely subjective film could be made. ‘The camera has to be completely subjective, not just moving freely in space observing action as a third person. …The lens becomes the human eye… The experiment was finally stopped when we realized that it would be too expensive to do it properly’.” (Peter Hourigan, Joris Ivens: Witness to the 20th Century, sensesofcinema.com/2009/feature-articles/joris-ivens-witness-to-the-20th-century/)
Joris Ivens (13m59s, 1928). Source: AVI, 54mb.
[This was ripped from YouTube, and while there are some noise artifacts, the quality is surprisingly good. I would love to get a high quality rip of this, however, so if anyone has it on DVD please get in touch]
See also: vimeo.com/avantgardecinema/regen
"De Brug (The Bridge, 1928) is a portrait of the Hefbrug, Koningshaven in Rotterdam… The Hefbrug, the subject of The Bridge, is not a specially beautiful or monumental bridge. But Ivens’ achievement is to convey the importance of this bridge for the whole of Rotterdam. We have a sense of the commercial imperatives behind the bridge, and the intricacy of the mechanism needed to swing the bridge or raise the rail decking to allow ships to pass through. There is always a solid sense of context throughout the 14 minutes of the film. It opens with shots of a camera and cameraman, immediately establishing a point of view for what follows. Again we have a mix of close-ups, and long shots, bird’s eye views and low angles. The sense of the bridge’s structure, its ways of operating, how it fits into the overall transport infrastructure of the city – all are conveyed through the visuals. It is a powerful example of how a silent film can convey its message without words. The Bridge was, as Ivens recognized, an important learning experience for him. In making it, he came up with procedures that helped him edit his material. He learned how to film movement. And he learned the overriding importance of knowing your material." (Peter Hourigan, Joris Ivens: Witness to the 20th Century, sensesofcinema.com/2009/feature-articles/joris-ivens-witness-to-the-20th-century/)
"I learned that when you film repetitive movement such as the action of a counterweight on the bridge, you have to observe this for a longer time and with greater attention than you would think. I learned from The Bridge that prolonged and creative observation is the only way to be sure of selecting, emphasising, and squeezing everything possible out of the rich reality in front of you. The filmmaker’s discovery that he was not smart enough the day before is more depressing than in any other medium of art… Space, light, height, wind and open air does not appear in a shot of its own accord, it has to be put there. There are lots of in between stages from shooting to public projection – developing, printing, editing, commentary, sound effects, music. At each stage the effect of the shot can be changed but the basic content must be in the shot to begin with." (Joris Ivens, in Hourigan)
Joris Ivens Foundation: ivens.nl/welkom.asp
A follow-up to the Fight Club scene. I decided to keep Grady’s voice audible on this one, since his existence is a bit murkier than TD’s in Fight Club. That and I really love Philip Stone’s voice and would have hated to lose it. I also avoided cutting to his close-up so as not to have shots of “nothing” interspersed.
Here is the original scene: youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=pc0_SYZJfzU#t=241
Recommended listening to loud and with headphones.