Leni Riefenstahl

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The Wonderful, Horrible Life Of Leni Riefenstahl Review

An exhaustive portrait of Nazi-era filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl (best known for directing what some call the best propaganda film ever, Triumph of the Will), this 3 1/4-hour documentary is as daunting a film as her own 4-hour long Olympia, which chronicled the 1936 Olympic games in Germany.

At the heart of The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl is the question of whether she was a Nazi, as her detractors claim, or whether she was the victim of society -- a naive, young girl who made Triumph on assignment, and simply did a very good job of it. The film does not judge her, and Riefenstahl (90 years old during the time of the production of this movie) is genuine in her protest. But has the passage of 50-plus years simply rewritten history in her mind? You'll have to judge for yourself.

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Triumph Of The Will Review

Very Good
For all its beautiful scenic shots of old Germany, Leni Riefenstahl's controversial documentary features an awful lot of sequences of Nazi talking-heads speechifying to the troops. And if you've seen one long tracking shot of the rank and file, you've really seen 'em all. Propaganda films don't get much more enthralling than this, but that doesn't mean Triumph of the Will is all that interesting in the 2000s. It's a reminder of the past and of the power of the moving image, for sure, but more than anything we look at the Nazis and roll our eyes, content that we're seeing a bygone era of loonies.

The DVD features a stuffy historian's commentary, droning on and on about why the Hitler Youth (for example) are collecting wood. (He says it's to cook sausages and sauerkraut, in case you're wondering.)

Continue reading: Triumph Of The Will Review

Olympia (1938) Review

From: Matt Langdon [mailto:MattL@landmarktheatres.com] Sent: Friday, August 02, 2002 1:21 PMTo: null@filmcritic.comSubject: Tokyo Olympiad

Soap box time:

Continue reading: Olympia (1938) Review

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