The 400 Million

I 400 milioni
by Joris Ivens Documentary Usa 1939 53'

The war between Japan and general Chang Kai-shek's China is the subject of a reportage film made to inform people about a little known conflict and to provide a global image of China and its recent history. Ivens arrived in Hong Kong on Febr uar y 8th 1938. The following nine months of shooting were marked by astrict censorship. Chang Kai-shek's administration was well aware that Ivens supported the Chinese cause, but they didn't want his film to reveal the inter nal division of power: on one side Chang Kai-shek and his army, on the other the Communist par ty and Mao Zedong. "Whether I wanted it or not, I was caught up in their workings. Our film had been patronized by the Gener al and financed by a group of conservative Chinese bankers, but my idea was to serve the cause of Chinese people and of the par ty that was able to express their aspirations : the Communist Party". Although The 400 Million (whose title suggests the number of Chinese in 1938) met with the favour of the critics, it didn't have an easy distribution. The film marked Ivens' first contact with the country that mostly affected his ar tistic and human experience, as he remembered in his last work, The Wind and I, fifteen years later.


Joris Ivens



Film submission

26° Festival


05 June - 11 June 2023

Competition registration




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