Misére au Borinage

1934 / Belgium / silent / B&W / 34 min / 35mm

Directors, Script, Editors:
Joris Ivens, Henri Storck
Camera: Joris Ivens, Henri Storck, François Rents
Production company: Club de l'Éran, EPI

In 1933 Henri Storck, one of the leading figures in the Belgian film avant-garde, asked Ivens to help make a film about the social consequences of the previous year's miners' strike in Borinage. Arriving at the mine region Storck and Ivens were so taken by the situation they encountered that they forgot all about aesthetics. As Henri Storck tells it, "We stopped thinking about cinema and how to frame shots and instead became obsessed by the irrepressible need to produce images as stark, bare, and sincere as possible to fit the cruel facts reality had thrown at us." The film confronts the spectator with sobering images of misery: miners unemployed or exploited by the mine companies, with entire families evicted from their homes because they couldn't afford the rent. Ivens used dramatic re-enactment to incorporate the events of the mine strike of 1932 into the film.



COPYRIGHT:Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee