Written by Leni Riefenstahl, Walter Ruttmann, Eberhard Taubert
Directed by Leni Riefenstahl
It is never easy to look at Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will as anything other than what Dr. Anthony Santoro quite rightly calls a “supreme propaganda film.” As that, it is nearly unparalleled in the dubious annals of film history. Contributing to its difficulty in terms of analysis, however, is the fact that it is, at the same time, more than simply a notorious document of evil in bloom. For all the troublesome features that recurrently arise through the course of this film—the domineering presence of Adolf Hitler being just one obvious example—this is one remarkably well-crafted motion picture. Its status as the ultimate work of cinematic propaganda is, indeed, a direct result of just how superbly powerful, sadly persuasive, and expertly realized the documentary is, for better or worse.