Brug, De (The Bridge) (1928) By Hielscher, Eva
De Brug (The Bridge) is a black-and-white short silent film by Joris Ivens about the Koningshavenbrug in Rotterdam, a railroad lift bridge built between 1925 and 1927 also known as De Hef (The Lift). An iconic title of the Dutch avant-garde, the film brought Ivens international recognition. The film is largely a lyrical and abstract study; it presents the bridge as a masterpiece of modern engineering and shows the motion of, on, and around the steel construction, including all kinds of modern traffic. A train stops when the bridge lifts up, allowing ships to pass underneath on the river Maas. Ivens explores the bridge from multiple perspectives using extreme high and low angles, thus emphasizing a modern perception of fragmentation and re-composition. In a self-reflexive way, he demonstrates this perception as the rationale of cinema by integrating images of his 35mm Kinamo camera and himself at the beginning of the film. Shot against the background of Rotterdam’s skyline in a dynamic composition, the bridge becomes a product of cinema. Ivens’ film celebrates the aesthetic of the machine in its encounter of two pieces of modern technology: The Lift and the film camera.