Ivens, Joris

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Ivens, Joris Gender: M
Georg Henri Anton Ivens
born on 18 November 1898 at 05:00 (= 05:00 AM )
Place Nijmegen, Netherlands, 51n50, 5e51
Timezone LST m4e53 (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Gauquelin
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_scocol.18.gif 25°54' s_mo.18.gif s_capcol.18.gif 22°45 Asc.s_scocol.18.gif 00°14'

Joris Ivens
photo: NOS, license cc-by-sa-3.0


The greatest Dutch documentary film-maker ever, a cosmopolitan, anarchist and communist.

Joris Ivens was the second of the five children of the successful merchant in photographic articles Cornelis "Kees" Adrianus Peter Ivens (24 Febr. 1871, Nijmegen - 29 Augustus 1941, Nijmegen) and the Catholic Dorothea Louise Jacqueline Antonetta Muskens (4 November 1870, Mook - 13 May 1948, Nijmegen), who married 17 May 1894 in Nijmegen. His father C.A.P. Ivens was the director of the CAPI photo shop chain. His father hoped that Joris would take them over, but "NV Foto- en Kinohandel Lux" of Th. R. Zwart sold it in 1943. The photographers chain fused in 1961 as Capi-Lux (1961-1996).

C.A.P. Ivens was a socially and culturally active driven man. At home he played Schubert , invited artists like Jan Toorop, Eugène Lücker and Henri Pieck, took his family to the cinema, theatre and the Concertgebouworkest. Outside he was active in Liberal local politics (Recht voor Allen, Rights for all) and in professional and amateur societies. Unlike his more traditional wife, he seldom visited the Roman Catholic church. Ivens called his Liberal catholic father "a man with a heavy sense of morality" and learned from him to work for the good of all. He believed in the Idea of Progress of the 19th century, but of course he and his children had to study and work hard to reach it.

His elder brother Willem "Wim" Henri Jacob Ivens (3 March 1895 8h30 PM, Nijmegen - 31 October 1938, Amsterdam), became a physician and his younger brother Henri "Hans" Jacques George Ivens (1903-1971) jurist and merchant. Hans was one of the spouses of Clara Eggink. His sisters were Dorothea "Thea" Louise Jacoba Ivens (22 Augustus 1906, Nijmegen - 13 June 1996, Nijmegen), a jurist and Jacoba "Coba" Wilhelmina Ivens (4 November 1909, Nijmegen- 1997, Nijmegen).

Joris had a happy youth in Nijmegen. From 1911 till 1917 the technically oriented Joris visited the Higher civil School (HBS) as he was supposed to follow up his father. His elder brother Wim, who was a brilliant student, followed the Gymnasium and was supposed to be a scholar. But the restless Joris was a mediocre student with little sense of abstraction: He liked Gymnastics and Physics, but sacked on Mathematics and foreign languages. Joris and his Burgundian father liked Carnival and acting: at he HBS feast of 5 February 1915 Joris Ivens starred as Sancho Panza.

He made his first film spring 1912 under the influence of Karl May: "The Wigwam". It was directed by his father, filmed by CAPI instrument maker Piet Rutten and the teenager Joris played the role of the hero. His father hoped to awaken his son's feeling for photography and composition, but Joris was more interested in the dangerous swimming in the Waal, trying to enter upstream sailing boats and floating back. He seldom lacked energy and liked adventurous strolling around as a Scout as a teenager. And when he had to leave the Scouts and take rest because of an periost inflammation, he still went on playing football against his fathers wish.

After finishing the HBS school, he went summer 1917 to Rotterdam to study at the Nederlandse Handelshogeschool. But he could not start the study as he was he was called to arms. He was sent to the field artillery, enjoying horse riding, technical repair of the material and flying as an observer in a biplane. March 1919 he left the army as a reserve lieutenant and went to Rotterdam again. Again his interests lay not in the scholarly aspects, but in outdoor student life: tennis, rugby and the Rotterdam Student Society of which he became chairman. Here he met the anarchist Arthur Lehning, who just like him was sent to the higher economic school to follow up his father. He also met his first girlfriend, the Protestant Welmoedina Welsch or "Quick" as they called her. March 1920 he and Arthur Lehning became members of the newly erected Rotterdamse Studenten-Federatie and editor of the Students Weekly Minerva. But in January 1921 he felt obliged to concentrate on his study again and quitted the honorary but time consuming functions. July 1921 he finished the school just in time.

He then went to study in Berlin at the Technische Universität photochemistry. He worked in the camera factories of Dresden and Jena. It was the time of hyperinflation and violently suppressed workers strikes. He became confronted with the Social Question and converted under the influence of Arthur Lehning and Luise Germaine Krull to Communism.

In 1924 he returned to Holland and got a leading position in Amsterdam is his father's CAPI firm. He and Krull enjoyed the left wing Amsterdam cultural scene. May 1927 he enabled the exhibition of the Holland forbidden film "Mother"(1926) of Vsevolod Pudovkin in artists society De Kring. It resulted in the erection of the Dutch Filmliga (1927-1933), that showed European and Russsian avant garde films instead of the American Hollywwood productions that flooded the continent. Especially film and literary critic Menno ter Braak was opposed to the in his eyes superficial American culture that was promoted by them. The "arthouses" as an alternative for the popular Cinema became a platform for the European avant garde. Ivens became the talent of this scene: His experimental films "De Brug" (1928, The bridge) and "Regen" (1929, Rain) established his international reputation as a film maker. Via the Filmliga he also became friends with Alberto Cavalcanti, René Clair, Sergei Eisenstein, Vsevolod Pudovkin and Dziga Vertov.

Unlike other film makers, Ivens had the great advantage that he did not have to rely on the capital of producers. The actors of his documentary films were found in "real life" on the street and the then expensive film material was provided by his fathers firm CAPI. This enabled him to film social matters, for which typically no capitalistic investors were found. As fantasy films, Westerns and musicals that worked as opium of the people, were the rule in capitalistic as well as in socialistic societies.

His extensive filmography can be found on the internet. Here we mention some well-documented highlights.

1928 De Brug (The Bridge): The vertical lift-bridge is the object of study in The Bridge.

1929 Regen (Rain): A poetic meditation on the transformation of a city by rain.

1929 Arm Drenthe (Poor Drente): about social affairs.

1931 Song of Heroes with music composed by Hanns Eisler.

1937 The Spanish Earth: propaganda film about the Spanish civil war.

1939 The 400 Million: about China with Robert Capa, Sidney Lumet and Hanns Eisler

1944 Know Your Enemy: Japan: depicted Emperor Hirohito as a war criminal.

1946 Indonesia Calling

1965-1970 17e parallèle: La guerre du peuple (17th Parallel: Vietnam in War)

1971-77 How Yukong Moved the Mountains about the Cultural Revolution in China.

1988 Une Histoire de vent: A Tale of the Wind


Joris Ivens married four times with autonomic and artistic women, without getting any children. He lived like a bohemian and had many more extramarital affairs.

On 2 April 1927 Ivens married the avant garde photographer and left wing political activist Luise Germaine Krull (29 November 1897, Wilda – 31 July 1985, Wetzlar) in Paris. He met her spring 1923 as a student in Berlin on a party of the Dutch anarchist Arthur Lehning and Annie Grimmer. The stateless Krull was in 1920 expelled from Bavaria for her Communist activities, but was also imprisoned as an "anti-Bolshevik" and expelled from Russia in 1921. Krull brought him into contact with her Frankfurter Schule friends like Fritz Pollock and Max Horkheimer and converted him to her more anarchistic form of Socialism. In 1925 they moved to Amsterdam. They met and were befriended with in Amsterdam the painter Charley Toorop, the writer Jan Slauerhoff and the poet Hendrik Marsman. The marriage was described as a "marriage of convenience". Actually Krull also was closely befriended with the Dutch poet Hendrik Marsman. In a confidential letter to Marsman she wrote on 21 May 1927 about a lack of experienced synastry: "it does now work with Joris, he is understanding, but does not understand me and I am desperate". On 11 July 1927 she wrote to Marsman about Joris Ivens who visited her in Paris: "Joris was a few days here, and I believe it brought him no step further". His biographer Hans Schoots ("Dangerous life. A biography of Joris Ivens") commented: "With his next spouses and friends, geographical distance turned out to be more in accordance with his personal needs".

The stateless bohemian and cosmopolitan Krull could use her Dutch passport and would have the "veneer of married respectability without sacrificing her autonomy" when she went without her husband to Paris (1925) and many other places. In 1937 he wanted to divorce her, but she was in Congo-Brazzaville and he was in the USA. Ivens intended to marry his film editor Helen van Dongen. On 28 August 1943 he obtained a "Mexican divorce". After WW2 Krull became the co-owner of the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand (1946-66). After her retirement, she lived briefly near Paris, then moved to Northern India and converted to the Sakya school of Tibetan Buddhism. After a stroke, she moved to and died in Germany.

While married to Krull Ivens started in 1928 a relation with the Frisian paintress Anneke van der Feer (25 December 1902, Sneek, 1902- 21 January 1956, A'dam). In 1931 they went to Moscow, where they lived together till January 1936. Ivens combined her with Helen van Dongen, who he met in 1927 when she worked for CAPI. Sometimes he was with Helen in Paris, whilst Anneke stayed in Moscow.

On 1 January 1944 Ivens married in Los Angeles Helena Victoria Rosa van Dongen (5 January 1909, Amsterdam - 28 September 2006, Brattleboro, Vermont, USA). Witness was Michail Kalatozov. Helen was credited as the editor of Ivens' films including "Nieuwe Gronden" (1934), "Misère au Borinage" (1934), "The Spanish Earth" (1937), and The 400 Million (1939) about China. According to his biographer they officially divorced around 1947. Both Helen and Joris were secretive about the marriage: In the fifties he stated that he marriage occurred 1941 in Los Angeles and the divorce was in Nevada USA 1943, likely to hide that they were married for their later lovers.

For Joris this came quite soon: On 3 January 1944, two days after his marriage, he fell in love with the 30 years old camera woman Marion Michelle and dated her on SunSet Boulevard. Meanwhile his spouse Helen was on the East coast working for the Office of War Information on the News Review No. 2. When Marion discovered his married state, the "savoir vivre" Joris explained to her that Helen in the puritan America preferred to have the married state to prevent questions about her sex life.

On 21 October 1951 he married in Warsaw the Polish poet Maria "Ewa" Fiszer (20 Dec. 1926, Warsaw - 27 January 2000). They engaged 25 January 1951. Ewa, a member of the Polish resistance during WW2, debuted in 1949 with "Dowiadczenia" (Experiences) and translated Sylvia Plath, Paul Éluard and Nazim Hikmet into Polish. He hoped to have a proper domestic life with her. But after the war Ewa, once a heroin in the Warsaw Uprising (1 August – 2 October 1944), became very anxious, emotionally labile, likely as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder. They stayed together till 1964 and divorced around 1967.

Spring 1963 he started a relation with the Jewish KZ survivor and film director Marceline Rozenberg (19 March 1928, Epinal). She was liberated by Russian troops. They worked together in the documentary film 17e Parallele Le Vietnam En Guerre (1968). The documentary showed the effects of the war on civilians. They married officially 5 January 1977 after a free marriage since end 1964.

He died at age 90 on 28 June 1989 in Paris, Île-de-France, France

Link to Wikipedia


  • associate relationship with Eisler, Hanns (born 6 July 1898). Notes: Music for Song of Heroes and 400 Million
  • associate relationship with Hemingway, Ernest (born 21 July 1899). Notes: The Spanish Earth
  • associate relationship with Ter Braak, Menno (born 26 January 1902). Notes: Dutch Filmliga
  • friend relationship with Clair, René (born 11 November 1898)
  • friend relationship with Marsman, Hendrik (born 30 September 1899). Notes: Poet versus observer
  • sibling relationship with Ivens, Wim (born 3 March 1895)


  • Relationship : Marriage 2 April 1927 in Paris (Luise Germaine Krull)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Begin Major Project May 1927 in Amsterdam (Filmliga)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Relationship : Begin significant relationship 1928 (Anneke van der Feer)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1929 (Regen (Rain))
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 8 July 1937 in Washington (Premiere of The Spanish Earth with the Roosevelts)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death of Sibling 31 October 1938 in Amsterdam (Willem "Wim" Henri Jacob Ivens)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death of Father 29 August 1941 in Nijmegen (C.A.P. Ivens)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Relationship : Divorce dates 28 August 1943 (Mexican divorce from Luise Germaine Krull)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Relationship : Marriage 1 January 1944 in Los Angeles (Helena Victoria Rosa van Dongen)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Relationship : Begin significant relationship 3 January 1944 (Marion Michelle)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death of Mother 13 May 1948 in Nijmegen (Dorothea Louise Jacqueline Antonetta Muskens)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Relationship : Marriage 21 October 1951 in Warsaw (Maria "Ewa" Fiszer)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death of Mate 21 January 1956 in Amsterdam (Frisian paintress Anneke van der Feer)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Relationship : Marriage 5 January 1977 (Marceline Rozenberg)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death of Mate 31 July 1985 in Wetzlar (Ex spouse Luise Germaine Krull)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Gauquelin Vol 5 #1363

Ivens, George Henri Anton (1898-1989)

George Henri Anton (Joris) Ivens

Hans Schoots: Gevaarlijk leven. Een biografie van Joris Ivens (1995)

In 2000 the Dutch Biography by Hans Scoots (1995) became available in the English language:

Living Dangerously : A Biography of Joris Ivens: "The Dutch film maker Joris Ivens (1898-1989) was one of the founding fathers of documentary film. The career of this eternal traveller spanned over sixty years, from his first film in the twenties to his last, finished at the age of ninety. Among Ivens's friends and collaborators were leading filmmakers and actors like Eisenstein, Pudovkin, Dovzhenko, Chaplin, Milestone, Capra, Losey, Flaherty, Grierson, De Santis, the Taviani brothers, Signoret, Montand and Marker. In his early years Joris Ivens was a prominent figure in the international film avant-garde. From the thirties onwards he became, according to American film historian Robert Sklar, 'the most important political filmmaker of the decade, probably of the century'. His films on Soviet socialism, the Spanish Civil War, the Indonesian struggle for independence, the Vietnam-war and the Cuban and Chinese revolutions, make him a subject of controversy in any debate on the relationship between art and propaganda. Hans Schoots has based his biography on new research of Ivens complete filmwork and of unknown production-documents, personal letters and diaries, found in many archives, such as Ivens's FBI-dossier and State Archives in Moscow and former Eastern-Berlin. Artistic and political milieus in Amsterdam, Berlin, Moscow, New York, Hollywood, Paris, Havana, Hanoi and Beijing provide the background of this fascinating life-story."

Note that this bohemian double Scorpio investigator had Mercury, Venus, Saturnus, Uranus and Cheiron in Sagittarius.


  • Traits : Personality : Active
  • Family : Childhood : Memories Good
  • Family : Relationship : Divorce friendly (having no children helped a lot)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (4)
  • Lifestyle : Social Life : Outdoors
  • Lifestyle : Social Life : Travel (preferred hotels above a home)
  • Personal : Religion/Spirituality : Atheist
  • Vocation : Engineer : Chemical (Technische Universität photochemistry)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Business : Director
  • Vocation : Entertain/Business : Production jobs (was his own producer)
  • Vocation : Politics : Activist/ social
  • Notable : Famous : First in Field (Documentary filmer)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession (Documentary filmer)