Nieuwe Gronden

New Earth
by Joris Ivens Documentary Paesi Bassi 1934 30'

Ivens shot a two-part film on the construction of a dike in the Zuiderzee (literally the South Sea) in Holland. The first part, which includes images of men at work and natural forces, reaches its climax in the sequence about the close of the dike: "Man's victory over the sea" occurred in May 1932, after ten years' work. The second par t shows an abr upt change providing the historical background to the previous images. In 1934 "the world crisis was knocking on the door of old Europe". The workers of the dike were fired and the wheat harvest of the "new lands" was thrown away. Zuiderzee did not cor respond to reality any longer : both the title and the film should be changed. The images of the Stock Exchange , at the end of the film, are commented in a harsh way: "Wheat is no use to feed you, it serves for speculation. There is too much wheat and there isn't enough employment." This denunciation caused a lot of problems to the film, which was prohibited in France and other countries (the copies circulating today on tv networks still include the first part only). Zuiderzee, now entitled Nieuwe Gronden (New Lands) has the right balance between militant contents and the aestheticism of the Twenties. "I think that the 160 mt sequence about the close of the dike was the best and most complex dramatic editing I have ever done."


Joris Ivens


Paesi Bassi

Film submission

26° Festival


05 June - 11 June 2023

Competition registration




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