Eli Lotar and cinema, or how to make politically engaged films in the 1930s
Screenings presented by Damarice Amao and Pia Viewing
28 February 2017
19h00 to 21h00
Jeu de Paume, Paris

The Romanian-born French photographer and filmmaker Eli Lotar came to France in 1924 and soon established himself as one of the leading photographers of the Parisian avant-garde.
Lotar’s social and political engagement and his taste for collective work are reflected in the numerous projects he undertook with writers (Jacques and Pierre Prévert), theatre people (Antonin Artaud and Roger Vitrac) and well-known film directors (Joris Ivens, Alberto Cavalcanti and Luis Buñuel), all of whom were exercised by the socio-political turbulence of the 1930s.

This film evening will be dedicated to Lotar’s collaborations with three important directors: Yves Allégret, Luis Buñuel and Joris Ivens. The curators of the exhibition, Damarice Amao and Pia Viewing, will talk about Lotar’s strong links with the politically and socially engaged cinema of the 1930s.


Prix et profits (la pomme de terre) by Yves Allégret (French, 1931, 20’, silent)
Yves Allégret made this film in 1931 in collaboration with the Freinet movement, making it available for teachers on 9.5 mm reels. Here he shows the workings of capitalism by following the process that takes a potato from producer to consumer. The director’s friends served as extras.

Las Hurdes (Land without Bread) by Luis Buñuel (1933, 27’, Spanish, French subtitles)
From 20 April to 24 May 1932 Luis Buñuel filmed the wretched existence of the inhabitants of the particularly impoverished mountain region of Las Hurdes in Spain. This “cinematographic essay in human geography” caused a scandal and was banned until 1937. The Republican government criticised it for presenting a pitiful image of Spain.
However, if the result was a series of visions worthy of Goya, Bunuel’s revelation of these atrocious conditions is never self-indulgent.

Borinage by Joris Ivens (1934, 30’, Dutch, French subtitles)
In 1934 Joris Ivens re-edited and changed Zuyderzeewerken. This film, made in 1930, shows the gigantic task of reclaiming from the sea the territory needed for the supply and expansion of the Netherlands. It was enriched by a commentary and music by Hanns Eisler. Ivens kept the construction of the dyke and the locks from the original documentary, as well the closure of the ultimate breach between the sea and the Ijsselmeer and the treatment of the land and the first tilling of the soil, but this hymn to work becomes a political accusation when the sequences showing the crisis of the early 1930s are alternated with images of the first harvests from the Wieringermeer, being dumped by the sackful into the sea.

Film evening in the auditorium, Tuesday 28 February, 7–9 pm.
“Young Visitors’ Tuesdays”: free for students and visitors under 26.
Admission: 3 euros or free with a ticket to the exhibition (only on the same day).
Information: infoauditorium@jeudepaume.org

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