Song of the Rivers
Das Lied der Strome

1954 / GDR / B&W / 90 min / 35mm

Director: Joris Ivens
Script: Vladimir Pozner, Joris Ivens
Camera: Anatoli Kloschin, Sacha Vierny, Erich Nitzschmann, Maximilian Scheer
Editor: Ella Ensink
Music: Dmitri Shostakovitch;
songs written by Bertolt Brecht and Semion Kirsanov,
sung by Ernst Busch (German version) and Paul Robeson (English version)
Commentary: Vladimir Pozner; spoken by Ernst Busch (German version),
Alex McCrindle (English version)
Producer: Hans Wegner
Production company: DEFA-Dokumentarfilm
Commissioned by: World Federation of Trade Unions

One of the biggest documentary film productions ever attempted is about workers' movements alongside six of the world's major rivers: the Volga, Mississippi, Ganges, Nile, Amazon, and Yangtze. The film was shot in many different countries by different film crews, and all the material was sent to the DEFA studio in Berlin. Under the supervision of Joris Ivens, Ella Ensink edited the material into a compilation film, in which some footage from Borinage (1934) and New Earth (1934) was also included. The film starts as a poetic portrait of life and work along the six featured rivers, but then is dominated in the second part by images of the World Trade Union Congress, giving the latter part of the film the appearance of mere propaganda. The film brings together many great artists. In addition to Ivens as director and Vladimir Pozner, who helped write the script, Shostakovitch wrote the music, Bertolt Brecht wrote the lyrics which were sung by Paul Robeson and Ernst Busch, and Picasso designed the cover for the accompanying pamphlet.



COPYRIGHT:Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee