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|Index||98 reviews in total|
Set aside your preconceptions, notions of political correctness, kick back with some nachos and enjoy the spectacle, pageantry, patriotism and just plain ole unmitigated evil of a bygone era. Yes, this is the "documentary" of the events of the Sixth Nuremberg Nazi Party Congress in 1934, featuring a cast of thousands, mind blowing special effects, and show stopping musical numbers, as well as (of course) Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, Hess, Goering and assorted other Nazi superstars of the day. Get caught up in the wackiness as Hitler and Goebbels lead the German people around like neutered sheep on thorazine with an economy artificially over-inflated by military spending, appeals to mean-spirited patriotism and pathological xenophobia, and cheap military victories against third-rate opponents. The brilliant camera work and editing ratchet up the tension incrementally from the opening marches and speeches to the closing speeches and marches, creating a yearning and semi-religious awe for the realization of the full spectrum dominance of Nazi ideology. The legendary cinematic genius Leni Riefenstahl creates in the viewer an irresistible excitement over the images of mindless obedience to patently psychotic leaders and vulgar nationalistic narcissistic myopia. But politics aside, one can't help but admire the energy and skill that went into this classic; the sweeping vision, the epiphanic insight and the joy of marching along in human herds. In most versions, the "I'll See You In Poland, Baby" musical climax number has been left out of the final cut, but "Triumph of the Will" still pays off in sheer entertainment value despite the cliff-hanger ending. Unfortunately, during the production of the sequel, "The Nazi European Tour, featuring Adolf Hitler", about 50 million extras died, including most of the leads, and it was never completed. But fear not, I've heard from reliable sources that Hollywood plans to resume work soon on that unfinished masterpiece.
Utterly brilliant film that was unfortunately very difficult to find (along with some other great films by propaghandist directors like Sergei Einsten)until a dvd release recently . Just look at the long shots. Absolutely no cameras visible. Truly meticulous work. Astounding score. The opening sequence of Hitler's descent is brilliant artistry, with the director creating the implicit parallel of God's descent from heaven. Excellent film for anyone remotely interested in politics since all these techniques are routinely used in campaign ads. People often neglect to realize the inherent politicality of all art. Art's politics is at its most dangerous when we fail to realize this simple truth - art and politics are inextricably linked. Do you think there's not a reason why the American market will soon be glutted with war films as we prepare for one? gee, i wonder. Riefenstahl is an amazing director, one that should have done more films. When we censor great works for fear of "what they might do to the 'ignorant'", we're a lot closer to the fascists than their detractors.
This is the thinking person's horror film. Zombies? Ghosts? Lunatics
with hockey masks and chainsaws generating gallons of fake blood? Not a
tiny bit as scary as thousands upon thousands of people lined up in
squares, gleefully losing their individual identities and glorifying in
the group, willing to perform some of the most evil deeds imaginable
for the perceived benefit of that whole.
If this film was done badly, it would be something to laugh at or study as a historical artifact, a relic of a past we left behind. However, its power, and why it can disturb to this very day, is the fact that it was done beautifully. Anyone who talks about equating "truth and beauty" should think about this film. It is certainly beautiful, but it is also in the service of a lie, and an evil one at that.
Sadly, I suspect that the types who make modern political propaganda and advertising get on their knees at night and pray for some of the inspiration that made this film. Stars? This film defies a star rating.
This movie has driven cinephiles and artsy folks crazy for years. Taken
objectively, the film is a masterpiece of images, technically flawless, and
really quite a stunning achievement. The real problem is that it's a
masterpiece about the master race -- it glorifies Nazis. In fact it
unquestionably rises above simple "propaganda" and succeeds in being a film
about ideas and society. That's the next problem, the ideas and society it
idealizes and promotes are quite compelling. There's no death here, no
gashouses, no corpses, no pure evil, nothing like that. And it's also not
just inane images of noble people doing noble things, etc., like run of the
mill propaganda produced by every political party.
Ultimately, this is not a film to be seen in a vacuum; were this the only thing a person knew about Nazis, one would get a very, very incomplete view. But strangely, it provides insights as well, once one knows about the evil that the Nazis did--the movie shows the attraction, the compelling nature of some ideas. And that evil, no matter how clear and vicious in nature, is still attached to a human being, and hence is ultimately enormously complex.
This is a great film that any serious film student or lover should see. If only to understand how funny it is to see the artistes of the world trying to describe it without saying anything nice about Nazis. Evil is never pure, that's what makes it so compelling and this film helps to explain that.
Triumph Des Willens was a blockbuster film in a number of ways. It was meant to be a proper memorializing of an annual NSDAP Parteitag held in Nurenburg. A prior attempt, Sieg Des Glaubens, had proved to be a failure. Adolf Hitler gave director Leni Riefebstahl full rein to use all means to make this film the success which he wanted. First, many innovations in camera techniques, sound synchronization, storyboarding, staging, etc., made movie history. Second, it was an overt appeal to the emotions of both Germans and foreigners that suggested the excitement for and the apparent power of the new Third Reich. Third, the film was part of a multimedia campaign ahead of its time. Its success was confirmed for many years by the almost universal ban most countries placed on its showings. And sixty years later it is still effective in both thrills and chills. Highlights: the first 20 minutes or so resemble a media drama; the solemn military reviews demonstrate components of state power; speeches illustrate the personnel in power at the time. Quite a package!
This film is truly a landmark work, and it is only an unfortunate historical accident that Hitler was involved. Leni Riefenstahl was the first and, so far, only female genius when it came to film-making. Her innovative uses of the camera, lighting, staging, etc., truly laid the groundwork for future cinematic endeavor. If you can divorce yourself from the glorification of the Nazi regime, you can appreciate the merits of this film purely on artistic grounds. It is brilliant, plain and simple. (Ironically, the French awarded it a gold medal upon its release!)
The friendly face of German fascism, brought to you live from the fairy-tale town of Nuremberg.
This film has been described as horrible, disgusting, infamous and what have you. The interesting thing is that it's horrible only because everyone knows what followed, and because we have learned to look at images of swastika flags with revulsion. This film is really about some blokes enjoying themselves on a field, with lots of silly parades, speeches about how Germany's suffering has made its people special, and other diverse alarums. There are one or two remarks about 'racial purity', but for instance Jews are not mentioned even once.
But there is also a vague reference (the main culprit calls it "a dark shadow" in one of his speeches) to what happened several months earlier, when, in June, Hitler ordered the SA leadership murdered in cold blood. This act was condoned by most of the German people, and these are the same people we see waving and cheering and saluting. With that in mind, yes, the film takes on an added, horrible subtext, a feeling that something was definitely rotten in the republic of Germany.
Riefenstahl has always maintained that her point of view was an apolitical one, and that the work should be regarded as a work of art. I am not well-versed enough in the history of cinema to have an opinion on the artistic and technical merits of this film (aside from the tedious marching music) but I can easily imagine that back then it was quite an achievement, both as a work of art and as a relentless piece of propaganda aimed at this specific 1935 audience. I can also imagine that Riefenstahl was too caught up in what she did, to actually realize what was happening around her. She was not the only artist who, with 20/20 hindsight, should have known better.
View this film as a historical document, just maybe not an accurate one. And try to see the excellent documentary 'The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl' for some context.
Leni Riefenstahl was way a head of her time. Her filming
techniques,unheard of at the time. She was commissioned to make this
film,and whether you agree or not with the subject matter,she did it
well.The cast of characters will be seen for all time,in all their
infamous glory.While Leni was not a member of the Nazi party,she
absolutely captured the essence of the German mass hysteria which
prevailed at that time.While she was a great film maker,she was a
political moron swept up in the times as many others were.It was a job,
and she did it well.
Great music and inspiring festive footage makes this one of the best propaganda flicks ever made. It did what it intended to do, instill pride into and devotion from the German people. Put your judgements aside and one can appreciate the technical expertise put into this film. Great editing keeps it flowing. It is like a collage.
Before her death in 2003 at the age of 101, filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl
would have you believe she had no affiliation with the Nazi party when
she was asked by Adolf Hitler to document the momentous four days
leading to the 1934 Nuremberg rally. However, it's obvious from her
concurrently celebrated and reviled 1935 propaganda film that she was
mesmerized by Hitler's oratorical skills judging from the dynamic way
she has captured his undeniable charisma. She shows a remarkable
deftness in editing techniques and camera movement and placement that
remains the gold standard among documentarians. Riefenstahl succeeds in
making Hitler a larger than life figure to the masses without resorting
to editorial commentary to validate what is obvious from the images.
The film begins with Hitler's arrival in Nuremberg by personal aircraft where he is greeted by enthusiastic throngs of Nazi supporters. In fact, the first third of the film focuses primarily on civilian support of Fuehrer and then transitions to the opening of the Reich Party Congress where we see familiar historical figures, such as Rudolf Hess and Joseph Goebbels, speak. This leads to the third day of activity with rather unsettling shots of Hitler Youth as they prepare to greet Hitler from the rows of teepees in which they have camped. Her discriminating use of close-ups is most striking here when we see tow-headed Aryan boys hypnotized by Hitler's speech. The film ends with the startlingly choreographed rally with the famous shot of Hitler, flanked by Heinrich Himmler and Viktor Lutze, walking down an emptied aisle to place a wreath at a WWI memorial (a shot replicated by George Lucas at the end of the first "Star Wars"). The climax is designed to be celebratory as Hitler leads the masses toward unity under the Reich with his fanatical delivery.
Like D.W. Griffiths' "Birth of a Nation", it is difficult to defend the intended messaging behind such a trenchant film, yet it is criminal not to recognize the powerfully cinematic sense with which Riefenstahl imbues her work. The 2001 Synapse DVD contains a good though not outstanding print transfer. However, there are two worthwhile extras - the extremely informative commentary track from historian Dr. Anthony R. Santoro (which I recommend you switch on immediately to fully appreciate the individual personalities and historical details behind the rally) and a short Riefenstahl made at the following year's rally to celebrate the Wehrmacht (the German army), "Day of Freedom". There is little use in attempting any sort of objectivity about this film as it was intended to evoke strong emotions with the sole goal of solidifying the Reich in a country still feeling weakened from WWI. In this respect, Riefenstahl succeeds admirably.
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