Saturday, 14 February 2009

Leni Riefenstahl

Last night I watched the Ray Muller documentary on Leni Riefenstahl, She is probably the most famous and influential female film director ever. However, one slight problem she made Triumph of Will a complete showcase and glorification of the Nazi party during their rise to power. One the one hand it is a glorious execution of film and the other a seriously glossy and glamorous vision of Hitler and National Socialism.

She also pioneered amazing film techniques during the filming of Olympia again in 1938 in Nazi Germany.
The documentary tries without prejudice to evaluate and discuss with her guilt or innocence in respect of her friendship with Hitler etc. It makes for interesting and uncomfortable viewing but is a must for anyone interested in film, film technique and developments.

It also in a few clips shows the abject horror of Dachau - it is not sanitised in anyway. Recently there have been some bizarre holocaust doubters utters and all I can say is just watch Muller's documentary to see the reality of original footage that we don't ever get to see, disturbing and horrific doesn't even describe it.

Riefenstahl was investigate but never eventually tried by the international war crimes tribunal in Nuremberg after the war. She was acquitted at the preliminary investigation stage because she was never a member of the Nazi Party.

Undoubtedly Riefenstahl was an extremely talented and opportunistic woman - one can't but help but admire her and this sits uncomfortably with the reality of her work and life.


enc said...

Knowing her provenance, I just can't stomach the idea of watching her films.

Make Do Style said...

Enc - they are completely amazing stylistically but appalling in content - although Olympia is mroe palatable due to Jessie Owen and his wins. She pioneered so many film techniques but yes ...