2016 marks the 70th anniversary of the foundation of DEFA, whose history is as closely bound up with the name Joris Ivens as is that of DOK Leipzig. Ivens was not only one of the most important directors of the 20th century, he is also considered to be one of the founding fathers of the festival and worked closely with DEFA from 1951 to 1956. The programme looks back on both aspects of his career.
"The Windrose" is an opulent work that lies somewhere between feature film and documentary. Made by DEFA in 1957, this large-scale international project featuring a distinguished cast was made under the direction of Joris Ivens. Alongside director Alberto Cavalcanti, the world-famous actors Helene Weigel and Simone Signoret as well as Yves Montand also participated in the film. DEFA hoped the collaboration would bring the GDR a cultural renown and that Ivens' know-how would result in an internationally and commercially successful film that would withstand the censorship of non-communist countries. This epic work made in cooperation with the Women's International Democratic Federation depicts episodes from the lives of women workers from all corners of the globe in their fight for a better society.
The Windrose (1957); Directors: Alberto Cavalcanti, Joris Ivens
© DEFA-Stiftung Robert Menegoz, Joop Huisken
In Brazil Ana fights against the exploitation of unemployed workers come to find their fortune in São Paulo. In the Soviet Union Nadezhda goes against her boyfriend's will in her efforts to reclaim land. Teacher Jeanine campaigns for the rights of a housing community in a poor Parisian suburb and has to live with the consequences. After threats of redundancy Giovanna and her colleagues occupy an Italian textile factory. And in China Chen Hsiu Hua is elected chairperson of her collective farm and has to gain the respect of both the men and the women.
In addition to this, film historian Günter Jordan will be giving a first reading from an as yet unpublished book about Joris Ivens and the GDR, which is the result of comprehensive archival research. The work promises to cast new light on the work of a great master, on film production in the GDR, as well as on the history of DOK Leipzig.