The 17th Parallel
Le Dix-septieme parallele

1968 / France / B&W / 113 min / 16mm

Directors: Joris Ivens, Marceline Loridan
Production company: CAPI Films, Argos Films

Ivens's first 16mm film with synchronous sound, made together with Marceline Loridan, takes place on the demarcation line between North and South Vietnam, the seventeenth parallel. Like The Spanish Earth (1934), this film shows the daily lives of people and their struggles against aggressors. The Vietnamese people are shown living underground, emerging only at night to work on the land. The film shows the horrid situation by depicting a combination of the banalities of daily life and the constant bombing by B52s. In the space of a few weeks more than twenty thousand tons of bombs were dropped in this area. In relation to his other films The 17th Parallel is marked by longer sequences, direct sound combined with synchronized sound, and less dramatic montage sequences. Although not innovative, the film is a masterpiece, like The Spanish Earth (1937), and shows a professional use of modern techniques, largely due to Marceline Loridan's influence, especially with regard to sound.



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