A poetic impression of the Seine in Paris, the city to which Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens moved in the 1950s to escape persecution in the Netherlands for making a film that supported the Indonesian independence movement. Iven used the river as a visual leitmotif in a portrait of everyday Parisian life. His film follows the river from its source as it widens, passes industrial areas and enters the center of Paris, with all the famous landmarks along its banks.
Accompanied by accordion music and a mournful poem by Jaques Prévert, Ivens affectionately documents the Parisians’ relationship with the Seine: people wash clothes in the river, men fish on the banks, lovers embrace and rows of art students sit and sketch their city. In 1958, the film won the Palme d’Or for best short film at Cannes. The significance of Ivens’s work to Parisians is evident from the statue unveiled in 2010 in Parc de Saint-Cloud on the banks of the Seine, entitled When Joris Ivens meets Hraesvelgr.