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Discussion in 'Movies' started by SteveGon, Aug 25, 2001.
Sorry to hear she's having problems:
101 year old Leni Riefenstahl died Monday.
BBC says she was 100. Go here:
Morning Edition had a segment on her today. She remained unapologetic for Triumph of Will, calling it a documentary, not propaganda.
Interesting person and filmmaker.
The recent release of The Holy Mountain by Kino features Riefenstahl in one of her first starring roles; there's some incredible mountain climbing footage as well.
This may be morbid, or even in bad taste, but I have to wonder if Riefenstahl's death will be acknowledged at next year's Academy Awards?
Steve, I think that's actually a fair question, and if we are going to be forward and honest about it I would then add that the large Jewish portion of Hollywood might not be so keen on having her mentioned.
Considering her place in film history it makes for a bit of a dilemma.
Steve and Seth—interesting points. I would think that she is by far the least well known (by the general public) of really significant filmmakers. Plus there is not really much of a connection to the Academy.
I would imagine that her relative obscurity insofar as the general public is concerned will allow the Academy to give it amiss.
She also claimed there was not a single anti-semitic word in the documentary, and while Jews are not mentioned by name, there are references to racial purity, so I think she's being somewhat dishonest about it.
I know that she made great 'technical' movies and I can understand that some folks can watch them divorced from their ideological background. I can respect that. However, I personally can't bear to watch her work for the Nazis. I have tried watching 'Triumph of the Will' numerous times and just cannot get through it. It sounds melodramatic, but nagging images of people being herded into cattle wagons begin to play in my head. FWIW, I also cannot bear to watch Soviet propaganda movies for the same basic reason. Even Battleship Potemkin sticks in the craw.
Curiously, I can enjoy Riefenstahl's later work as a still photographer. If she was committed to the Nazi ideal, then she made a good job of hiding it in her famous pictures of the African tribespeople.
Well needless to say Triumph of the Will inspired many cinematographers and filmmakers and I for one respect her work regardless of her what she believed in or seemingly stood for. She was a true pioneer and I don't doubt that come 2005, Episode 3 of Star Wars will once again feature scenes that echo the powerful imagery seen in Triumph just as many films have and will continue to do.
Honestly, I think it's about time people remember Leni Riefenstahl as a film pioneer rather than "Hitler's girlfriend."
It's sad that some sites are going to ignore Riefenstahl's passing or are going to dwell her work on Triumph of the Will.
Let us hope that more will be a little more intelligent about her life rather than damning her for one film.
I can understand your view Andrew, but a lot of filmmakers have been quite influenced by Triumph of Will. Everyone knows about the last ceremony in Star Wars—and sports telecasting is still influenced by Olympia.
In the end, I can detach myself enough to watch Triumph of Will, but it is pretty hard to separate the art from the message and how this film was used to convey the party message all over Germany.
Let's put it this way. There are many talented filmakers today who are heavily criticized for "selling out". I myself can't think of anything more indicative of selling out then what Leni Riefenstahl did.