26th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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The Song of the Rivers

The Song of the Rivers

director: Joop Huisken, Robert Ménégoz, Joris Ivens
original title: Lied der Störme
country: German Democratic Republic
year: 1954
running time: 82 min.


Originally Dutch, a world traveler at heart, documentary filmmaker Joris Ivens focused his attention on the newly forming Eastern Bloc countries after WWII and spent part of his life and work in Czechoslovakia and East Germany. He then made a film for the East German company DEFA documenting the 3rd Congress of the World Trade Union Federation in Vienna in 1953. For this collective work he enthused many foreign directors and their national crews, who filmed the preparations of local delegations of the labor movements around the six great rivers (the Volga, the Mississippi, the Ganges, the Nile, the Amazon, and the Yangtze) for this international event. Their cinematic accounts then metaphorically “coalesce” like the “streams” of Ivens’ documentary song, for which Dimitri Shostakovich composed the music and Bertolt Brecht wrote the words. The film was awarded the Fight for a Better World Award at the 8th Karlovy Vary Film Festival in 1954.


Joris Ivens (1898–1989) was a Dutch documentary filmmaker who captured the world political history of the 20th century. He did not hesitate to travel to the most diverse places in the world and, under precarious production conditions, made both stirring and lyrical films on topical issues in Europe, the USA, Canada, and Asia.

more about film

director: Joop Huisken, Robert Ménégoz, Joris Ivens
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas
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