Historic footage of Rotterdam by Andor von Barsy now available on DVD

Original version lost, but EYE restoration based on several copies all but recovers the full feature-length film.

8 February 2016

The dynamic images made in 1928 of the booming port of Rotterdam – with unique footage of the inner city – was restored by EYE Film Institute the Netherlands in 2010. The film is now available on DVD in EYE shop at 10 Euros – a bargain.

The virtually complete version of De stad die nooit rust (The City that Never Rests) was screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2011. This feature-length documentary made in 1928 was directed by Friedrich von Maydell, but the inspiring force behind the film – a promotional film to attract investors to the city’s port – was the Hungarian cinematographer Andor von Barsy (1899-1965), who lived in Rotterdam between 1926 and 1942.

Von Barsy worked as a cameraman for the Rotterdam production company Transfilma and made a name for himself with modernist documentaries like De stad die nooit rust (1928) and Hoogstraat - een absolute film (High Street - an Absolute Film, 1929), one of the highlights of Dutch avant-garde cinema. Von Barsy achieved international renown with the feature film Dood Water (Dead Water, 1934, Gerard Rutten), which earned him the award for best cinematography at the Venice Film Festival.

De stad die nooit rust offers spectacular, rhythmically edited images (partly shot from an airplane) of the harbours and the harbour expansions that were to turn Rotterdam into the world’s biggest port. As Von Barsy also filmed the inner city with its superb canals, warehouses and lively shopping streets, De stad die nooit rust offers a unique perspective of Rotterdam before the devastating bombardment of 14 May 1940.

The documentary is now available in EYE Shop at € 10. The length of the main film is 56’; the DVD also includes three short films with camera work by Von Barsy.