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network 16/05/2016 - 03:00PM

Tom Waugh’s definitive book on Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens now on sale, and online for free

Long-serving Cinema Politica Board Member and early supporter of our scrappy organization, the prolific Dr. Tom Waugh (professor of Film Studies at Concordia University) has recently had his newest book, a door-stopper compendium on the films of Dutch documentarian Joris Ivens, published by Amsterdam University Press.

The Conscience of Cinema is an exhaustive, crackling interrogation and celebration of Ivens, whose political documentary filmmaking career played out across seven continents and spanned sixty years. 

Ivens was a pioneer of many styles of documentary filmmaking, and his fierce commitment to leftist politics and the potential for politically engaged films equates him to something like a symbolic ancestor on the Cinema Politica family tree. 

Loaded with Tom’s characteristically clear prose, snappy wit and meticulous scholarship, The Conscience of Cinema is a fascinating history of one of documentary cinema’s often overlooked greats. Moreover, the book’s publication as an Open Access manuscript is a welcome intervention amidst the increasing privatization and neo-liberalization of academia. 

Click here for your copy, and please share as widely as you like. You can also buy a hard copy online, and below is an excerpt from the volume’s introduction. Kudos to Tom, who not only serves on the CP Board but likely has the record for most CP screenings ever attended by one individual—keep writing and keep fighting!

From The Conscience of Cinema, page 35: The current surge in interest in Ivens, following the 2008 release of the DVD box set, is not confined to his last nor his most recent work. On the contrary, students in the digital age find his films of the classical period more and more contemporary. His films seem to have an increasing relevance to the radical political currents of our day, those mass movements that branched out from the New Left – movements enfranchising and mobilising women, racialised and other ethnic and aboriginal minorities, prisoners, environmentalists, LGBTQ’s, consumers, welfare recipients, migrants and refugees, the handi- capped, the elderly, the unemployed and the homeless, and workers both outside of and within traditional labour organisations – in the global South as well as the North.