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A striking classic from an early documentary master explores Amsterdam in the rain

In the experimental short documentary Regen (1929), the pioneering Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens explores Amsterdam before, during and after a rainstorm, tracing an impressionistic arc through brief vignettes – rippling canals, seas of umbrellas, rising puddles, dripping windowsills. Shot over two years but giving the viewer an experience of a single event, the lyrical piece is an early film in Ivens’s influential and storied career, and a particularly poetic example of the ‘city symphony’, in which filmmakers aimed to distill the defining qualities of different urban environments. This restored version features a 1941 score from the Austrian composer Hanns Eisler titled Fourteen Ways to Describe Rain – a work he dedicated to his teacher Arnold Schoenberg.

Directors: Joris Ivens, Mannus Franken

Score: Hanns Eisler

19 January 2018

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