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Leni Riefenstahl, film, politics, Germany, Nazism, propaganda


European History | Film and Media Studies | German Language and Literature | Political Science


Although almost fifty years have passed since the end of World War II, the name Leni Riefenstahl is still associated with Nazi propaganda. Riefenstahl made four films during the Third Reich, but these films are primarily documentaries, used as propaganda by the Nazi party. Riefenstahl has never denied the admiration she felt for Hitler, but she does challenge any claims that she created any of her films, Triumph of the Will and Olympia in particular, for political purposes.

So much of what has been written about Leni Riefenstahl is based on gossip and political speculation that her skill as an artist and contributions to film have tended to be devalued. Better to understand Riefenstahl as an artist, one must study all of her films. Each of her films--including The Blue Light and Tiefland, which were made outside of the Nazi era--demonstrates Riefenstahl's talent and originality as an artist.


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