The 400 Million

1939 / USA / B&W / 53 min / 35mm

Director, Script: Joris Ivens
Camera: John Ferno, Robert Capa
Editor: Helen van Dongen
Music: Hanns Eisler
Commentary: Frederic March (written by: Dudley Nichols)
Production company: History Today, Inc.

Japanese aggression against China in 1937 forced the Chinese communists to join Chiang Kaishek's Kuomintang to take up arms against their common enemy. In 1938 Ivens and John Ferno went to China, joined there later by Robert Capa, to film the battle of Taierzhwang, one of the few battles won by the Chinese. The film shows all aspects of war: the fear and distress, the human misery and the courage, the preparations, the battle itself, the refugees, the casualties and victims, and the land itself as it is laid barren. Although filming for the Chinese, Ivens and his crew were subjected to heavy-handed censorship by the Kuomintang who intended to prevent the communists from being given too much prominence. Nonetheless, Ivens succeeded in contacting the communists, supplying them with a camera and some film so they could record their own version of events. This camera has been exhibited in the Museum of the Revolution in Beijing.



COPYRIGHT:Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival Organizing Committee