Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Joris Ivens

Joris Ivens's 1931 Phillips Radio (Symphonie industrielle) documents a Dutch glass-tube radio factory. The film's powerful footage of a now obsolete technology still looks shiny and futuristic. Exotic radio and speaker components work though assembly lines, dancing to the soundtrack's mix of machine sound and music. Ivens creates a modernist statement about industrial dehumanization despite the elegant and old-timey feel of the plant. We see men strenuously blowing glass by hand, for example, and factory processes are timed with an hourglass. Ivens includes a humorous human moment when some precariously balanced boxes fall off a cart as its driver speeds around a corner at the factory.
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Documentary Starts Here by Nancy Kalow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.