The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl
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Top Customer Reviews
I've known about Leni Riefenstahl's films for all of my adult life, but this was all new stuff to my wife when we got married a few years ago. When I showed her this DVD, she was absolutely entranced.
Rather than get caught up in the "was she or wasn't she" debate over Riefenstahl's association with Hitler and the Nazi Party, my wife - a strong woman in her own right - saw Riefenstahl as a shining example of the liberated woman. Riefenstahl followed her creative passion wherever it led. For her, there were no gender barriers.
Had she emigrated to Hollywood with Marlene Dietrich, she may well have gotten lost in the constellation of American film stars. On the narrower stage of German film, she was a colossal talent as an actress and as a director.
Yes, she lent her talent and creativity to one of the most hideously evil regimes in history. How she really felt about it in her heart of hearts, we'll never know. It's clear she regretted making Triumph of the Will because it made her an outcast in the post-war film world.
The difficulty here is to separate the art from the politics. Before the war, Triumph of the Will won international acclaim, even from the French. Olympia, tinged as it is with its background of Nazi symbols, gave us sports camera techniques that haven't been improved upon since the film was made. Whenever you see footage of Jesse Owens' gold medal performances, you have Riefenstahl to thank for it.Read more ›
Forget the revisionist history about her "Nazi sympathizing"; the world fawned over her films when they initially premiered in 1935 and 1936.The French and English gave both films their highest honor and the American critics tripped over themselves in lavishing rare and incredible praise, using such adjectives as "brilliant" and "genius". It was only after Hitler's descent into evil that we accused Reisenstahl of collaboration. We conviently forgot that in the years she made those films, we, too, were applauding the great German economic recovery.
What a life! A dancer in her teens, a film star in her twenties, the greatest film-maker of that or any time, a pariah to ease the guilt of the world which praised her, a chronicler of Nubian granduer in Africa and a brilliant underwater photographer in her nineties - Leni Reifenstahl lived a life that fiction couldn't create.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting person associated with promoting Hitler with films which rocketed Riefenstahl to prominence as a film maker, yet escaped
direct culpability for the Nazi... Read more
Leni Riefenstahl, the iconic film maker, director, dancer and artist was a true and demanding artist whose work still inspires many today. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Tally Ho
The video was a very interesting perspective on Riefenstahl. It was interesting to hear her perspectives and the explanations of her work during and before WWII. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Rom Gayoso
Whether she is being disingenuous about her role in Nazi Germany is beside the point. She was tried but not convicted. She really did have a wonderful, horrible life.Published 15 months ago by Marcia R. Ellers