IMDb > The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993)
Die Macht der Bilder: Leni Riefenstahl
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The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993) More at IMDbPro »Die Macht der Bilder: Leni Riefenstahl (original title)

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The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl -- A documentary about the life and work of Leni Riefenstahl, a German film director most notorious for making the most effective propaganda films for the Nazis.

Overview

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Release Date:
June 1994 (USA) See more »
Plot:
A documentary about the life and work of Leni Riefenstahl, a German film director most notorious for making the most effective propaganda films for the Nazis. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
3 wins See more »
NewsDesk:
Leni Riefenstahl: 1902-2003
 (From WENN. 9 September 2003)

User Reviews:
Individuals Win See more (21 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Leni Riefenstahl ... Herself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Marlene Dietrich ... Herself (archive footage)
Walter Frentz ... Himself - Camerman 1936 Olymipcs
Joseph Goebbels ... Himself (archive footage) (as Josef Goebbels)
Rudolf Hess ... Himself (archive footage)
John Herbert Higgins ... Himself - U.S. Swimmer (archive footage)

Adolf Hitler ... Himself (archive footage)
Saburo Ito ... Himself - Japanese Swimmer (archive footage)
Horst Kettner ... Himself - Leni's Companion
Reizô Koike ... Himself - Japanese Swimmer (archive footage)
Guzzi Lantschner ... Himself - Camerman 1936 Olymipcs
Ralph Metcalfe ... Himself - U.S. Sprinter (archive footage)
Ray Müller ... Himself
Jesse Owens ... Himself (archive footage)
Ernst Röhm ... Himself (archive footage)
Fritz Schilgen ... Himself - Lighting Olympic Cauldron (archive footage)
Luis Trenker ... Himself

Directed by
Ray Müller 
 
Writing credits
Ray Müller 

Produced by
Jacques de Clercq .... producer: Nomad Films
Dimitri de Clercq .... producer: Nomad Films
Waldemar Januzczak .... producer: Channel 4, London (as Waldemar Januszczak)
Hans Peter Kochenrath .... producer: ZDF (as Hans-Peter Kochenrath)
Hans-Jürgen Panitz .... producer: Omega Films
 
Original Music by
Ulrich Bassenge 
Wolfgang Neumann 
 
Cinematography by
Michel Baudour 
Walter A. Franke 
Ulrich Jänchen  (as Ulrich Jaenchen)
Jürgen Martin 
 
Film Editing by
Vera Dubsikova 
Beate Köster 
 
Set Decoration by
Michael Graser 
 
Production Management
Werner Bertolan .... production manager
Stefan Koenig .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Nicole Front .... assistant director
 
Sound Department
Tomas Bastian .... sound
Heimo Sahliger .... sound
Alfred Schuhmann .... sound mixer
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Barbara Dolainsky .... assistant camera
Horst Kettner .... underwater cinematographer
Norbert Platzer .... assistant camera
Hermann Sowieja .... assistant camera
 
Editorial Department
Stefan Mothes .... editor: video
Moritz Peters .... assistant editor
 
Other crew
Martin Angres .... video team
Kevin Brownlow .... film-historical advisor
David Culbert .... film-historical advisor
Brend Fischer .... video team
Martin Loiperdinger .... film-historical advisor
Felix Moeller .... archive researcher (as Felix Mueller)
Knut Muhsik .... video team
 

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Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Die Macht der Bilder: Leni Riefenstahl" - France (original title)
"The Power of the Image: Leni Riefenstahl" - USA (TV title)
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Runtime:
180 min
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FAQ

Is it true that Riefenstahl was a skilled mountaineer?
See more »
25 out of 27 people found the following review useful.
Individuals Win, 21 December 2005
Author: tedg (tedg@FilmsFolded.com) from Virginia Beach

Interesting. This is a good documentary about a great documentarian.

I guess the normal form for commenting on this is to take a side on the art/politics controversy. Or perhaps to note film as propaganda tool today.

I think I would rather simply remark that you just cannot watch movies as a lucid viewer without understanding something about who you are in the things. And that means wondering about who the filmmaker thinks you are. And that in turn means considering what it means when a camera is placed or moves in a certain way.

If you do, you will find yourself wondering about the camera of Hitchcock and Welles. Surely that is at least as fundamental as you need to go. But you can go a half step further back and you will find yourself here, with this woman and her dancing eye.

Yes, her personality at 90 is still German, which means she is a romantic idealist and an apologist for her generation. Annoying, but typical. And does it matter? Does it matter if, say, van Gogh was an anti-Semite? You decide. For me, I assume the artist is often the dumbest person involved in the process and the last person to ask. So the art is the thing.

There are three great things she did, and these are apart from the idealization of the body, a constant theme.

She advanced the art of filters to create abstract frames. In this, she was merely one in a line of talents. She was an innovator in creating a new philosophy of the camera. In this, she was a genius. But that wouldn't have mattered if she wasn't also a genius innovator in the art of editing.

She understood that in addition to the story, the images themselves have a rhythm and song apart from the thing depicted. I think she really means it when she says her great propaganda film could have been of any choreographed event. She was a master of exploiting the movement of the eye as well as the movement of the subject, even the rhythm of the greyscales and depths. You need to watch "Triumph" and "Olympia" ignoring the subject, perhaps upside down as I did to see the music.

Having said that, the effect of these two films undeniably altered life. The Nazi film was the single greatest influence in convincing the rural German public to support Hitler. That's huge. But perhaps a larger impact was on sports. Until that point, sports were something you did or read about. You might go to a contest purely for the association of the thing.

What her art did, incidentally, was she made sports cinematic. And we may all be the worse for it.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

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