Marceline Loridan-Ivens

Author of But You Did Not Come Back

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Marceline Loridan-Ivens was born to a Jewish family in Épinal, France. During the German Occupation of her country in World War II, she went into hiding but was arrested with her father in 1943, when she was 15. They were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where her father was killed. Marceline survived and returned to France in July 1945. She was the principal figure in the 1959 landmark New Wave film, Chronique d’un été (Chronicle of a Summer). The filmmaking experience led to her career as a journalist, television producer, and documentary filmmaker. In 1962 she co-directed the provocative film Algérie année zero (Algeria Year Zero) with Jean-Pierre Sergent. She married as her second husband Joris Ivens, a Dutch-born documentary and experimental filmmaker 30 years her senior, with whom she worked on numerous films until his death in 1989. Among their most famous documentaries are Le ciel, la terre (1965); The 17th Parallel, Le peuple et ses fusels, and La guerre populaire au Laos (all 1968); and the highly-acclaimed series of 12 films about China, How Yukong Moved the Mountains (1976). In 1985, she worked with Elizabeth D. Prasetyo on a screenplay for a documentary about Ivens’s life and work, A Tale of the Wind (1988). In the early 1990s, Loridan-Ivens began working as screenwriter and director on La petite prairie aux bouleaux (The Birch-Tree Meadow), her first feature-length fiction film and the first film ever shot at Birkenau. It was released in 2003. In 2015, she published her memoir But You Did Not Come Back in the form of a letter to her murdered father.
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