The dancer, Diotima, meets an engineer and skier, Karl, in his cottage in the mountains where they fall in love and have an affair. When Karl's young friend, Vigo, meets her she gives him ... See full summary »
Filming of the performance show the Deutsche Wehrmacht (German Army) made during the Reichsparteitag of the NSDAP in Nurnberg 1935. Showing the readiness and the will of the newly build ... See full summary »
A depiction of life in wartime England during the Second World War. Director Humphrey Jennings visits many aspects of civilian life and of the turmoil and privation caused by the war, all without narration.
In the Mont Blanc Observatory works Hannes. The only contact to the outside world is a pilot and Hella over the morse-code-radio. As Hella climbs the mountain with her father, the father ... See full summary »
Portrait of filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, shot in her studio in Munich, Germany and in the nearby Alps. With many photos from her own archive and excerpts from her films, including "Triumph ... See full summary »
The Jews of Poland (invaded by Germany in 1939) are depicted as filthy, evil, corrupt, and intent on world domination. Street scenes are shown prejudicially, along with clips from Jewish ... See full summary »
This documentary recounts the life and work of one of most famous, and yet reviled, German film directors in history, Leni Riefenstahl. The film recounts the rise of her career from a dancer, to a movie actor to the most important film director in Nazi Germany who directed such famous propaganda films as Triumph of the Will and Olympiad. The film also explores her later activities after Nazi Germany's defeat in 1945 and her disgrace for being so associated with it which includes her amazingly active life over the age of 90. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
The Horrible Life of the Wonderful Leni Riefenstahl.
"The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl" is a documentary film about the german filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. Known for 'Olympia' and the notorious but no less brilliant 'Triumph of the Will', this woman was persecuted for her work commissioned by the Nazi party and was never allowed to make another film.
'Olympia' is a stunning documentary of the 1936 Olympics and has nothing to do with Hitler or the Nazi party. While making the film, Riefenstahl was a pioneer of angles and camera and filmmaking techniques which forever changed both documentary and feature filmmaking. It should be studied by every film student and lover of photography, both still and moving.
'Triumph of the Will' is an astonishing documentary of the 1934 Party Congress. Of 'Triumph of the Will' she says, "To me the film wasn't about politics. It was an event. I'd have made exactly the same film in Moscow, if the need arose, though I'd prefer not. Or in America, if something similar had taken place there. I shot the subject matter as well as I could and shaped it into a film." She then goes on to deny any participation in the political party and talks about turning down all offers to make any other political movies.
She admits openly that she got swept up in the passion of the early movement, when all the talk was of work (when so many were unemployed), freedom and peace. She was not in the minority: Hitler had the support of 90% of the people at that point. She also says that she did not want to make 'Triumph of the Will', resisting Goebbels' advances and offers, accepting only when Hitler himself asked her to film the event. Hitler's wish was his command and he told her, "I want this film to be made by an artist and not a Party film director." The filmmaker posits, "I feel people are expecting an admission of guilt from you." She replies:
"Well, what do you mean by that? What am I guilty of? I can and do regret making the film of the 1934 Party Congress, 'Triumph of the Will.' I regret...no, I can't regret that I was alive in that period. But no words of anti-semitism ever passed my lips. Nor did I write any. I was never anti-semitic and I never joined the Nazi party. So what am I guilty of? Tell me that. I didn't drop any atom bombs. I didn't denounce anyone. So where does my guilt lie?"
In the end, we see that Riefenstahl was a brilliant filmmaker of the highest order and an extraordinary woman. Her alleged association with the Nazi party completely destroyed her career for the rest of her life and robbed the world of 50 years of potentially brilliant, innovative filmmaking. Whether your interest lies in photography, filmmaking or political or European history, this documentary is not to be missed.
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