VIP Lounge was a series of portraits produced in the late 1980’s of well-known Dutch people who gained international fame for their professional achievements. In this programme our guest was renowned documentary maker Joris Ivens (1898-1989). Ivens was among the earliest filmmakers to exploit the propaganda potential of film, working in Stalin’s Russia and in Spain during the Civil War, as well as New Deal America and Mao’s China. He was unabashedly left-leaning and anti-fascist, and cinematic aesthetics could get in the way of objectivity. His most memorable project was a collaboration with some of the most distinguished American artists of the Roosevelt era: Ernest Hemingway, Orson Welles, Lillian Hellman, John dos Passos and Archibald MacLeish, no less. It was a documentary set in the Spanish Civil War, “The Spanish Earth”, which was shown at the White House in 1937 and was one of the many films for which Ivens was awarded The Golden Lion in Venice in 1988.
Producer: Marijke van der Meer
Broadcast: June 7, 1989