Films by Joris Ivens, program three | Chicago Reader

Films by Joris Ivens, program three

Joris Ivens's fine and powerful The Spanish Earth (1937, 52 min.)—possibly the best documentary we have about the Spanish civil war, along with Andre Malraux's L'espoir—has music by Virgil Thomson and Marc Blitzstein and commentary written as well as read by Ernest Hemingway (it was originally read by Orson Welles, and at least one print of that version still exists). Hemingway, Lillian Hellman, John Dos Passos, and Dorothy Parker raised money to make the film, which is showing with the equally celebrated 1939 Ivens documentary The 400 Million, a 53-minute account of China preparing to struggle against the Japanese invasion of Manchuria that includes rare footage of Sun Yat-sen and Chiang Kai-shek.

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