On The ’93 Leni Riefenstahl Doc

The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl

The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993) follows the wonderful, horrible career of Leni Riefenstahl: dancer, actress, master filmmaker.  A German in Ray Muller‘s German documentary, she was of course hired by Hitler to make what was for him a Nazi propaganda film (and work of art), Triumph of the Will, which brought her the severest notoriety and contempt.

Muller’s narrator announces that the picture “will approach [Riefenstahl] without preconceptions,” and it does.  Although she has no qualms about discussing Triumph‘s virtues, Riefenstahl says she is “deeply unhappy” that she directed the film.  She did not then know she and her crew were making “a pact with the devil,” afterwards claiming that the glorification of Nazis was merely the attempt to avoid making Triumph look like a newreel.

(In German with English subtitles)


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