Sog., Scen.: Mannus Franken, Joris Ivens. F., M.: Joris Ivens. Mus.: Hanns Eisler. Prod.: Capi-Holland. DCP. D.: 11’. Bn
Regen explores the effects of a single rain shower on a modern city, creating a synthesized view point through editing, moving across space and time (Ivens, of course, shot many downpours in order to create this single filmic one), allowing us to live through an everyday event with all the vividness cinema offers. Ivens’ camera is alert not only to visual patterns of reflection and refraction, of textures transformed by the sheen of moisture or an atmosphere veiled by soft rain, but also participates in the human interaction with this environment. The unforgettable moment of the little girls scampering through the frame wrapped in a blanket to shelter themselves inspired Ivens’ observation, “the skipping movements of their legs had the rhythm of raindrops”. This analogy cues us to the logic of Ivens’ lyrical editing and its role as a guide to a heightened power of observation. Unlike many avant-garde filmmakers of the late Twenties, Ivens does not subordinate such human moments to the logic of an edited rhythm. Rather, the human body and its blend of grace and awkwardness becomes the basis for a cinematic rhythm built from the gestures, and patterns of bodily motion. Ivens forges the link between visual observation and lyrical transformation with a filmic poetry that comes from a clarity of perception, and a direct participation in bodily motion.
Tom Gunning, Joris Ivens, Filmmaker of the Twentieth Century, of the Netherlands and the World in Cinema without Borders. The Films of Joris Ivens, European Foudation Joris Ivens, Nijmegen 2002
Ella Bergmann-Michel saw Regen in a matinee in May 1931, organised by the Bund Neues Frankfurt and their film club. She was deeply impressed and Joris Ivens recommended that she use the Kinamo camera to shoot her films.