After being commissioned by the 1936 Olympic Committee to create a feature film of the Berlin Olympics, Riefenstahl shot a documentary that celebrates the human body by combining the poetry of bodies in motion with close-ups of athletes in the heat of competition. Includes the marathon, men's diving, and American track star Jesse Owen's sprint races at the 1936 Olympic games. The production tends to glorify the young male body and, some say, expresses the Nazi attitude toward athletic prowess. Includes the lighting of the torch at the stadium and Adolf Hitler looking on in amazement as Jesse Owens wins an unprecedented four Gold Medals.
Fiona Kelleghan <email@example.com>
Did You Know?
During the preliminary shooting sessions on the shores along the Baltic Sea in 1936, Leni Riefenstahl
wanted to immortalize herself as a symbol of 'Aryan beauty,' and posed naked before her stunned collaborators. The stunning monochrome, showing Riefenstahl from behind with her arms held aloft and her head craned back, was achieved by underexposing the image and employing a yellow filter to highlight the cloudy sky, drawing the silhouette of Riefenstahl's statuesque form with the help of two powerful spotlights, one (more raw) placed in front of the subject, and the second (softened by a frost) behind her. The impromptu spur-of-the-moment nature of the photo is highlighted by a mark left on her buttocks in the final image, as specialists of the fashion industry teach, a model who is about to pose nude should not wear underwear or elastic constraints which may temporarily mark the body. After years of gruelling athletic training necessary for the rapid shooting pace of the earlier mountain films in which she starred, Leni (in spite of her 34 years at the time) posed defiantly next to other models, holding her own next to girls who were little more than teenagers. The final composition was subsequently used as the main image on many posters and pieces of advertising material for the film. See more
Referenced in Twilight of the Ice Nymphs
Richard Strauss See more