Junta is hated by the people in the village where she lives, especially by the women, who suspect her of being a witch. Only she can climb the nearby mountains to a cave high up, whence a ... See full summary »
Der Sieg des Glaubens (English: The Victory of Faith, Victory of Faith, or Victory of the Faith) (1933) is the first propaganda film directed by Leni Riefenstahl. Her film recounts the ... 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 »
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 »
Leni Riefenstahl begins the film by directly addressing the spectators on matters of sea life preservation, particularly coral reef life. When she said "healthy coral reefs" I could not restrain from wondering to what extent echos of "aryan" could be heard in the word "healthy," or "concentration camps" for "aquariums," a few seconds later. Such is the stain that surrounds her myth (a lesser word will not do in either case), that one may pull back in awe (even as the greenery behind her at some point eerily rustles, and the screen palpitates with a couple of subtle close-ups-and-outs or two). I, for one, align with the mockery-and-terror sentiment expressed by the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, namely that Leni Riefenstahl may never die, such was her will to live (and maybe here we can trace the hatred she suffered because this overarching will-to-live was more Nazi/Nietzschean than her Nazi past)!
Yet there are no hypocritical masterpieces, or ideological ones, and this film is definitely a masterpiece. One risks passing by it as just another - however refined - underwater documentary. The film is a serene visionary testament, a quiet celebration of shape and color, organically rendered, disjointedly rendered, letting just the right sense of editing and camera movement interfere and guide matters.
Movement and moving!
So rich a film in its 44 minutes. The only suggestion I want to make is
given that there may be cheesy masterpieces - the film would greatly
benefit from a more upbeat soundtrack, say a jazz one like in Jean Painleve's underwater (rive-gauche existential!) documentaries. As it is one risks making a tepid experience from a marvelous sense of matter-of-fact and fluidity. I hope we have soon a soundtrack with a masterful musical sense, the way the film does.
And as it is Leni Riefenstahl grazes past a monster of the deep century, schools and eels and surfaces (after a quite gray toning down of the film among the sharks towards the end), well, presumably into eternity.
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