[45] The project did not receive Riefenstahl's approval prior to her death, as Riefenstahl asked for a veto on any scenes to which she did not agree. [80], When traveling to Hollywood, Riefenstahl was criticized by the Anti-Nazi League very harshly when wanting to showcase her film Olympia soon after its release. [9] Since Riefenstahl was the only child for several years, Alfred wanted her to carry on the family name and secure the family fortune. Jeffrey Brown discusses the impact of her film "The Triumph of the Will" with Claudia Koonz, a professor of history at Duke University. I was watching "Monday Night Football" last night, and the camera that moves down the sideline, we saw the same thing, the same shot of Hitler on the podium. [36] Riefenstahl's work on Olympia has been cited as a major influence in modern sports photography. Learn more about Friends of the NewsHour. [64], Writer Richard Corliss wrote in Time that he was "impressed by Riefenstahl's standing as a total auteur: producer, writer, director, editor and, in the fiction films, actress. She had her commission– not a direct order. Members of Rammstein praised Riefenstahl's filmmaking abilities and aesthetic choices in a 2011 documentary of the making of the video, particularly the imagery of the athletes, while simultaneously disassociating themselves from her politics. [9] It was while going to a doctor's appointment that she first saw a poster for the 1924 film Mountain of Destiny. [89], In 1998 Neue Deutsche Härte band Rammstein released a cover of the Depeche Mode song "Stripped", accompanied by a video incorporating footage from Olympia. Riefenstahl was a consummate stylist obsessed with bodies in motion, particularly those of dancers and athletes. So that was the intention. Where the film does combine diegetic noise with the music, the effects used are human (laughter or cheering) and offer a rhythmic extension to the music rather than a contrast to it. [16] At a meeting arranged by her friend Gunther Rahn, she met Arnold Fanck, the director of Mountain of Destiny and a pioneer of the mountain film genre. Let's try to understand what was going on here. [45] Afterwards, she left Poland and chose not to make any more Nazi-related films. Greenman's Leni revolves around the making of Triumph of the Will and has seen productions all over the United States. Subscribe to ‘Here's the Deal,’ our politics newsletter. [58] While scouting shooting locations, she almost died from injuries received in a truck accident. [16] She made a series of films for Fanck, where she learned from him acting and film editing techniques. By contrast and paradoxically, the flags, whether a few or hundreds peopling the frame, assume distinct identities".[42]. [19] He saw talent in Riefenstahl and arranged a meeting. [19], In 1933, Riefenstahl appeared in the U.S.-German co-productions of the Arnold Fanck-directed, German-language SOS Eisberg and the Tay Garnett-directed, English-language S.O.S. [14] Riefenstahl had high hopes for a collaboration with Cocteau called Friedrich und Voltaire ("Friedrich and Voltaire"), wherein Cocteau was to play two roles. Nazism courted the masses by the means of slogans that were aimed directly at the instincts and emotions of the people. It features military parades and a speech by Adolf Hitler. Influenced by Classical Hollywood cinema's style, German art film employed music to enhance the narrative, establish a sense of grandeur, and to heighten the emotions in a scene. [53], In October 1944 the production of Tiefland moved to Barrandov Studios in Prague for interior filming. And she insisted that because she was so good, and because she was a woman, she got closed out of her profession. The film shows footage taken at the 1934 Nazi Party Rally at Nuremberg. Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel. But she could never escape the controversy, could she? She was… she showed up at Nuremburg with an extraordinarily talented crew of cameramen. [81], Reviewer Gary Morris called Riefenstahl, "An artist of unparalleled gifts, a woman in an industry dominated by men, one of the great formalists of the cinema on a par with Eisenstein or Welles". [14] In 1960, Riefenstahl attempted to prevent filmmaker Erwin Leiser from juxtaposing scenes from Triumph des Willens with footage from concentration camps in his film Mein Kampf. But the controversy over how she used or misused her art in the service of fascism stayed with her to the end. [7] Her father, Alfred Theodor Paul Riefenstahl,[8] owned a successful heating and ventilation company and wanted his daughter to follow him into the business world. Hitler had ordered Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry to give the film commission to Riefenstahl, but the Ministry had never informed her. [16] She persuaded him to feature her in one of his films. [22] After meeting Hitler, Riefenstahl was offered the opportunity to direct Der Sieg des Glaubens ("The Victory of Faith"), an hour-long propaganda film about the fifth Nuremberg Rally in 1933. [95][96], Riefenstahl appears in the 2019 film Hellboy portrayed again by Kristina Klebe.[95]. [9] After years of legal wrangling, these were returned to her, but the French government had reportedly damaged some of the film stock whilst trying to develop and edit it, with a few key scenes being missing (although Riefenstahl was surprised to find the original negatives for Olympia in the same shipment). She wrote an autobiography, and then she dominated a film made about her life called "the wonderful horrible life of Leni Riefenstahl," in which she explained over and over again that she was apolitical. This film was commissioned by Joesph Goebbells the Nazi minister of propaganda. Nearly 1.3 million people were deported to the Auschwitz camp, alone, in Nazi-occupied Poland, and more than 1.1 million perished at that camp. Riefenstahl died of cancer on 8 September 2003 at the age of 101 and was buried at Munich Waldfriedhof. All Rights Reserved. [60] Riefenstahl said she was not aware of the nature of the internment camps. [31] Riefenstahl said this film was a sub-set of Der Sieg des Glaubens, added to mollify the German Army which felt it was not represented well in Triumph des Willens. Ben Morgan comments on Riefenstahl's distortion of sound: “In Triumph of the Will, the material world leaves no aural impression beyond the music. She had a career behind her. [82], Film critic Hal Erickson of The New York Times states that the "Jewish Question" is mainly unmentioned in Triumph des Willens; "filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl prefers to concentrate on cheering crowds, precision marching, military bands, and Hitler's climactic speech, all orchestrated, choreographed and illuminated on a scale that makes Griffith and DeMille look like poverty-row directors". [9] Her mother was confident her daughter would grow up to be successful in the field of art and therefore gave her full support, unlike Riefenstahl's father, who was not interested in his daughter's artistic inclinations. [46], On 14 June 1940, the day Paris was declared an open city by the French and occupied by German troops, Riefenstahl wrote to Hitler in a telegram, "With indescribable joy, deeply moved and filled with burning gratitude, we share with you, my Führer, your and Germany's greatest victory, the entry of German troops into Paris. [62] She was also under house arrest for a period of time. Leni Riefenstahl didn't just show up in Nuremburg, she was trying to do something that was crafted image making. [citation needed]. Adolf Hitler's story from his rise to power all the way until his just demise.Recorded By World at War [31] Like Der Sieg des Glaubens and Triumph des Willens, this was filmed at the annual Nazi Party rally at Nuremberg. Many of these shots were relatively unheard of at the time, but Leni's use and augmentation of them set a standard, and is the reason they are still used to this day. [40] On 18 November, she was received by Henry Ford in Detroit. The day after her birthday celebration, she became ill.[76], Riefenstahl had been suffering from cancer for some time, and her health rapidly deteriorated during the last weeks of her life. [75] In 1987 an autobiography about Riefenstahl was released, Leni Riefenstahl's Memoiren, regarding her life as a filmmaker and her post-war life. Leni Riefenstahl, the woman who made Adolf Hitler's propaganda films, died in Germany. Jeffrey Brown discusses the impact of her film "The Triumph of … By replacing diegetic sound, Riefenstahl’s film employs music to combine the documentary with the fantastic. Throughout her life, she denied having known about the Holocaust. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/hitlers-filmmaker-leni-riefenstahl. Until the day I die people will keep saying, 'Leni is a Nazi', and I'll keep saying, 'But what did she do? A talented swimmer and an artist, Riefenstahl also became interested in dancing during her childhood, taking lessons and performing across Europe. Leni., based on the play by Tom McNab and directed by Adrian Vitoria, Hildegard Neil portrays Riefenstahl[94] preparing to give an interview in 1993. How did she live out the rest of her days? [75][46], Riefenstahl celebrated her 101st birthday on 22 August 2003 at a hotel in Feldafing, on Lake Starnberg, Bavaria, near her home. We have a short clip that we could look at. [47] Riefenstahl and Jacob divorced in 1946. [9], In 1954, Jean Cocteau, who greatly admired the film, insisted on Tiefland being shown at the Cannes Film Festival, which he was running that year. She was accused of being a propagandist, and she always admitted she admired Hitler. [38] In February 1937, Riefenstahl enthusiastically told a reporter for the Detroit News, "To me, Hitler is the greatest man who ever lived. "[91], Riefenstahl was portrayed by Zdena Studenková in Leni, a 2014 Slovak drama play about her fictional participation in The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. [49] Filming at the Babelsberg Studios near Berlin began 18 months later in April 1942. She was just ambitious, and Nazism was the frame for her ambition. [40], From the Goebbels Diaries, researchers learned that Riefenstahl had been friendly with Joseph Goebbels and his wife Magda, attending the opera with them and going to his parties. She was never an official member of the Nazi party but was always seen in association with the propaganda films she made during the Third Reich. Adolf Hitler, Film Fanatic Nazi art never caught on, its architecture was unbuilt or destroyed, but its films were shot and seen by millions. [34] She was one of the first filmmakers to use tracking shots in a documentary,[35] placing a camera on rails to follow the athletes' movement. Its international debut led Riefenstahl to embark on an American publicity tour in an attempt to secure commercial release. [30], In interviews for the 1993 documentary The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl, Riefenstahl adamantly denied any deliberate attempt to create Nazi propaganda and said she was disgusted that Triumph des Willens was used in such a way. A young filmmaker named Leni Riefenstahl accompanied him, and shot what would become one of the most famous and controversial films in history. The following is a list of Nazi propaganda films. [9] She was surprised by how kindly they treated her. [29] The motion picture was generally recognized as an epic, innovative work of propaganda filmmaking. [68] Pulitzer Prize winning author She also sold some of the pictures to German magazines. She put her cameramen on train tracks and had them moving back and forth. During the filming of Victory of Faith, Hitler had stood side by side with the leader of the Sturmabteilung (SA) Ernst Röhm, a man with whom he clearly had a close working relationship. After Riefenstahl told him how much she admired his work, she also convinced him of her acting skill. [5] Describing the experience in her memoir, Riefenstahl wrote, "I had an almost apocalyptic vision that I was never able to forget. You know, we looked at a lot of that film today, and there were many scenes to depict. Riefenstahl is one of the protagonists of the story "Parachute" from the collection Even This Wildest Hope (2019) by Seyward Goodhand. The issues her films and her career raise are as complex and they are important, and her vilifiers tend to reduce the argument to one of a director's complicity in atrocity or her criminal ignorance".[64]. [45], In 2011, director Steven Soderbergh revealed that he had also been working on a biopic of Riefenstahl for about six months. [27] Initially, according to Riefenstahl, she resisted and did not want to create further Nazi Party films, instead wanting to direct a feature film based on Eugen d'Albert's Tiefland ("Lowlands"), an opera that was extremely popular in Berlin in the 1920s. [21], Riefenstahl heard Nazi Party (NSDAP) leader Adolf Hitler speak at a rally in 1932 and was mesmerized by his talent as a public speaker. German dictator Adolf Hitler selected the dancer-turned-actress to be Nazi Germany's official filmmaker and gave her vast resources to make movies that idealized and glorified Nazism. [16] One of Fanck's films that brought Riefenstahl into the limelight was The White Hell of Pitz Palu of 1929, co-directed by G. W. A prequel to "Operation Eichmann", this bio-film stars Richard Basehart ("Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea") as Nazi-Leader Adolf Hitler from the ill-fated Beer Hall Putch of 1923, until his death in April of 1945 Playing somewhat loose-with-the-facts concerning Hitler's private-life, this is a most-entertaining bio-pic. The controversial German film-maker Leni Riefenstahl, whose hypnotic depiction of Hitler's 1934 Nuremberg rally, Triumph of the Will, is renowned and reviled as the best propaganda film … [49] The extras playing Spanish women and farmers were drawn from Romani detained in a camp at Salzburg-Maxglan who were forced to work with her. [9], The last time Riefenstahl saw Hitler was when she married Peter Jacob on 21 March 1944. [46], After the Nuremberg rallies trilogy and Olympia, Riefenstahl began work on the movie she had tried and failed to direct once before, namely Tiefland. In one segment of a Nazi “Instructional” film (right), the genetic heritage of the Jew is purportedly traced to Oriental, Negro, Near Asian and Hamitic peoples. It also revealed that her mysterious "producer" is an aging, delusional Adolf Hitler and that the two share a close working relationship. [70] She was guest of honour at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. © 1996 - 2021 NewsHour Productions LLC. In Triumph of the Will, Riefenstahl used traditional folk music to accompany and intensify her shots. [62] She was tried four times by postwar authorities for denazification and eventually found to be a "fellow traveller" (Mitläufer) who sympathised with the Nazis. [33][35] Riefenstahl filmed competitors of all races, including African-American Jesse Owens in what later became famous footage. 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