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Leni Riefenstahl

Leni Riefenstahl
Born Helene Bertha Amalie Riefenstahl
22 August 1902(1902-08-22)
Berlin, German Empire
Died 8 September 2003(2003-09-08) (aged 101)
Pöcking, Germany
Years active 1925 - 1954, 2002
Spouse Peter Jacob (1944-1946)
Horst Kettner (1968-death)

Helene Bertha Amalie "Leni" Riefenstahl (German pronunciation: [ˈÊ�iːfÉ�nÊ�taːl]; 22 August 1902 - 8 September 2003) was a German film director, actress and dancer widely noted for her aesthetics and innovations as a filmmaker. Her most famous film was Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will), a propaganda film made at the 1934 Nuremberg congress of the Nazi Party. Riefenstahl's prominence in the Third Reich along with her personal friendship with Adolf Hitler thwarted her film career following Germany's defeat in World War II, after which she was arrested but released without any charges.[1]

Triumph of the Will gave Riefenstahl instant and lasting international fame, as well as infamy. Although she directed only eight films, just two of which received significant coverage outside of Germany, Riefenstahl was widely known all her life. The propaganda value of her films made during the 1930s repels most modern commentators but many film histories cite the aesthetics as outstanding.[2][3][4][5] The Economist wrote that Triumph of the Will "sealed her reputation as the greatest female filmmaker of the 20th century".[6]

In the 1970s Riefenstahl published her still photography of the Nuba tribes in Sudan in several books such as The Last of the Nuba. She was active up until her death and also published marine life stills and released the marine-based film Impressionen unter Wasser in 2002.

After her death, the Associated Press described Riefenstahl as an "acclaimed pioneer of film and photographic techniques".[7] Der Tagesspiegel newspaper in Berlin noted, "Leni Riefenstahl conquered new ground in the cinema".[8] The BBC said her documentaries "were hailed as groundbreaking film-making, pioneering techniques involving cranes, tracking rails, and many cameras working at the same time".[9]


[edit] Biography

[edit] Early life

Riefenstahl was born in August 1902. She was christened Helene Bertha Amalie. She was born into a prosperous family. Her father owned a successful heating and ventilation company and he wanted her to follow him into the world of business. However, her mother believed that Leni's future was in show business. In 1918, when she was 16, she started dance and ballet classes at the Grimm-Reiter Dance School in Berlin, where she quickly became a star pupil.

Riefenstahl gained a reputation on Berlin's dance circuit and she quickly moved into films. She made a series of films for Arnold Fanck, and one of them, The White Hell of Pitz Palu (1929), co-directed by G. W. Pabst, saw her fame spread to countries outside of Germany. Riefenstahl produced and directed her own work called Das Blaue Licht (1932), co-written by Carl Mayer and Béla Bal�¡zs. This film won the Silver Medal at the Venice Film Festival. In the film, Riefenstahl played a peasant girl who protected a glowing mountain grotto. The film attracted the attention of Hitler, who believed she epitomized the perfect German female.

[edit] Dancer and actress

Riefenstahl took dancing lessons and attended dance academies from an early age and began her career as a self-styled and well-known interpretive dancer, traveling around Europe and working with director Max Reinhardt in a show funded by Jewish producer Harry Sokol.[10][11] After injuring her knee while performing in Prague, she saw a nature film about mountains (der Berg des Schicksals, 1924) and became fascinated with the possibilities of this sort of film.[12] She went to the Alps to meet the film's director, Arnold Fanck, hoping to secure the lead in his next project.[12] Instead, Riefenstahl met Luis Trenker who had starred in Fanck's films, who wrote to the director about her.

Riefenstahl went on to star in many of Fanck's mountain films as an athletic and adventurous young woman with a suggestive appeal; she became an accomplished mountaineer during the winters of filming on mountains and learned filmmaking techniques.[12] Riefenstahl went on to have a prolific career as an actor in silent films. She was popular with the German public and highly regarded by directors. In 1930, she lost the lead role in the Josef von Sternberg-directed The Blue Angel to her neighbor, Marlene Dietrich.[13] Her last acting role before becoming a director was the 1933 U.S.-German co-productions of the Arnold Fanck-directed, German-language SOS Eisberg and the Tay Garnett-directed, English-language SOS Iceberg. The movies were filmed simultaneously and produced and distributed by Universal Studios. SOS Iceberg would be Riefenstahl's only English-language film role as an actress. One of her fans at this time was Adolf Hitler.[6] Riefenstahl accompanied Fanck to the 1928 Olympic Games in St. Moritz, where she became interested in athletic photography and filming.[12]

When presented with the opportunity to direct Das Blaue Licht (The Blue Light) (1932), she took it. Breaking from Fanck's style of setting realistic stories in fairytale mountain settings, Riefenstahl-working with leftist screen writers Béla Bal�¡zs and Carl Mayer -- filmed Das Blaue Licht as a romantic, wholly mystical tale which she thought of as more fitting to the terrain.[1] She co-wrote, directed and starred in the film and produced it under the banner of her own company, Leni Riefenstahl Productions.[12] Das Blaue Licht won the Silver Medal at the Venice Biennale and played to full audiences all over Europe.[12] However, it was not universally well-received, for which Riefenstahl blamed the critics, many of them Jewish.[14] Upon its 1938 re-release, the names of co-writer Béla Bal�¡zs and producer Harry Sokal, both Jewish, were removed from the credits; some reports claim this was at Riefenstahl's behest. The director later turned over the name of her Jewish co-screenwriter to Nazi Propagandist Julius Streicher.[14][15] Riefenstahl received invitations to travel to Hollywood to create films, but she refused the offers in order to stay in Germany with a boyfriend.[1]

[edit] Propaganda/documentaries

Leni Riefenstahl with Heinrich Himmler at Nuremberg (1934)

Riefenstahl heard presidential candidate Adolf Hitler speak at a rally in 1932 and was mesmerised by his talent as a public speaker. Describing the experience in her memoir, Riefenstahl wrote: "I had an almost apocalyptic vision that I was never able to forget. It seemed as if the Earth's surface were spreading out in front of me, like a hemisphere that suddenly splits apart in the middle, spewing out an enormous jet of water, so powerful that it touched the sky and shook the earth". According to the Daily Express of April 24, 1934, Leni Riefenstahl had read Mein Kampf during the making of her film The Blue Light. This newspaper article quotes her as having commented, "The book made a tremendous impression on me. I became a confirmed National Socialist after reading the first page. I felt a man who could write such a book would undoubtedly lead Germany. I felt very happy that such a man had come". She wrote to Hitler requesting a meeting. After meeting with Hitler she was offered the opportunity to direct Sieg des Glaubens, an hour-long feature film about the fifth Nazi Party rally at Nuremberg in 1933. Riefenstahl agreed to direct the movie after returning from filming a movie in Greenland.

Hitler congratulates Riefenstahl in 1934
Riefenstahl's film of the 1934 Nazi party rally in Nuremberg

Impressed with Riefenstahl's work, Hitler asked her to film the upcoming 1934 Party rally in Nuremberg, the sixth such rally. At first, according to Riefenstahl's memoir, she resisted and did not want to create further Nazi films; instead, she wanted to direct a feature film based on Hitler's favorite opera, Eugen d'Albert's Tiefland. Riefenstahl received private funding for the production of Tiefland, but the filming in Spain was derailed. Hitler was able to convince her to film Triumph instead, on the condition that she not be required to make further films for the party. She also told Hitler she wanted the freedom to act again: "I would not be able to go on living if I had to give up acting".

The resulting chronicle of the Nuremberg Rally, Triumph des Willens (named by Hitler), was generally recognized as a masterful, epic, innovative work of documentary filmmaking. Triumph of the Will became a rousing success in Germany. However, it was widely banned in America as a propaganda film for the Nazi Party; a copy was kept at the Museum of Modern Art and shown to a select few. The film won many international awards as a ground-breaking example of filmmaking and is widely regarded as one of the most effective pieces of propaganda ever produced. It made Riefenstahl the first female film director to achieve international recognition. In interviews for the 1993 film The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl, Riefenstahl adamantly denied any deliberate attempt to create pro-Nazi propaganda and said she was disgusted that Triumph of the Will was used in such a way.

Despite again vowing not to make any more films about the Nazi Party, in 1935, Riefenstahl made the 18-minute Day of Freedom: Armed Forces about the German army. Like Victory of Faith and Triumph of the Will this was filmed at the annual Nazi Party rally at Nuremberg. Over a million Germans had participated in the 1934 rally in Nuremberg and later, yearly rallies held there got even bigger. The 1935 rally is noted for pronouncements about the status of Jews in Germany. These became known as the Nuremberg Laws, which for Jews in Europe would soon become matters of life and death. Riefenstahl denied making this film until a copy was found in 1971.

In 1936, Hitler invited Riefenstahl to film the Olympic Games in Berlin, a film which Riefenstahl claimed had been commissioned by the International Olympic Committee. She also went to Greece to take footage of the games' original site at Olympia, where she was aided by Greek photographer Nelly. This material became Olympia, a successful film which has since been widely noted for its technical and aesthetic achievements. She was one of the first filmmakers to use tracking shots in a documentary, placing a camera on rails to follow the athletes' movement, and she is noted for the slow motion shots included in the film. Riefenstahl's work on Olympia has been cited as a major influence in modern sports photography. Riefenstahl filmed competitors of all races, including African-American Jesse Owens in what would later become famous footage.

Riefenstahl with Joseph Goebbels (1937)

Olympia was very successful in Germany after it premiered for Hitler's 49th birthday in 1938, and its international debut led Riefenstahl to embark on an American publicity tour in an attempt to secure commercial release. In 1937, Riefenstahl told a reporter for the Detroit News: "To me, Hitler is the greatest man who ever lived. He truly is without fault, so simple and at the same time possessed of masculine strength". She arrived in New York City in November 1938, five days before Kristallnacht, or 'night of broken glass'; when news of the event reached America, Riefenstahl maintained that Hitler was innocent. This event almost completely ended Riefenstahl's tour in America.

After the Goebbels Diaries surfaced, researchers learned that Riefenstahl had been friendly with Joseph Goebbels and his wife, Magda, attending the opera with them and coming to the Goebbels' parties.[5] However, Riefenstahl maintained that Goebbels was upset that she had rejected his advances[14] and was jealous of her influence on Hitler, seeing her as an internal threat; therefore, his diaries could not be trusted. By later accounts, Goebbels thought highly of Riefenstahl's filmmaking but was angered with what he saw as her overspending on the Nazi-provided filmmaking budgets.[14]

[edit] World War II

During the Invasion of Poland, Riefenstahl was photographed in Poland wearing a military uniform and a pistol on her belt in the company of German soldiers;[16] she had gone to the site of the battle as a war correspondent.[15] On 12 September 1939 she was in the town of Końskie when 30 civilians were executed there, in retaliation for an alleged attack on German soldiers.[17] According to her memoir, Riefenstahl tried to intervene but a furious German soldier held her at gunpoint and threatened to shoot her on the spot. She claimed she did not realize the victims were Jews.[14] Closeup photographs of a distraught Riefenstahl survive from that day.[14] Nevertheless, by 5 October 1939, Riefenstahl was back in occupied Poland filming Hitler's victory parade in Warsaw.[17] She left Poland[15] and apparently chose not to make any Nazi-related movies after this, however.[13]

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. You exceed anything human imagination has the power to conceive, achieving deeds without parallel in the history of mankind. How can we ever thank you?"[17][18] She later explained: "Everyone thought the war was over, and in that spirit I sent the cable to Hitler".[15] Riefenstahl was friends with Hitler for 12 years, and reports vary as to whether she ever had an intimate relationship with him.[19] According to Ernst Hanfstaengl, who was a close friend of Hitler throughout the later 1920s and early 1930s, Riefenstahl tried to begin a relationship with Hitler early on but was turned down by him.[20] For whatever reason, her relationship with Hitler had declined by 1944, when her brother Heinz died on the Russian Front of the war.[13]

After the Nuremberg rallies trilogy and Olympia, Riefenstahl began work on the movie she had tried and failed to direct once before, Tiefland. On Hitler's direct order the German government paid her 7 million reichsmarks in compensation.[21] From 23 September until 13 November 1940 she filmed in Krün near Mittenwald. The extras playing Spanish women and farmers were drawn from gypsies (Sinti) detained in a camp at Salzburg-Maxglan who were forced to work with her. Filming at the Babelsberg Studios near Berlin began 18 months later in April 1942 and lasted into summer. This time Sinti and Roma from the Marzahn detention camp near Berlin were compelled to work as extras.[22] A surviving document from camp Marzahn shows a list of 65 inmates who were ordered to serve in the production.[23] 50 stills from the filming in Krün near Mittenwald were later found and from these, surviving prisoners were able to identify 29 camp inmates who worked for Riefenstahl and were then deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in the first weeks of March 1943 following Himmler's December 1942 decree.[24][25] To the end of her life, despite overwhelming evidence that concentration camp occupants had been forced to work on the movie unpaid,[20] Riefenstahl continued to maintain all the film extras survived and that she had met them after the war.[26] Riefenstahl sued a filmmaker, Nina Gladitz, who said Riefenstahl personally chose the extras at their holding camp; Gladitz had found one of the Gypsy survivors and matched his memory with stills of the movie for a documentary Gladitz was filming.[27] The German court found for Gladitz, agreeing that Riefenstahl had known the extras were from a concentration camp, and they agreed with Riefenstahl on only one count (finding that Riefenstahl had not informed the Gypsies that they would be sent to the Auschwitz camp after filming was completed).[27]

After similar statements made by Riefenstahl were objected to by Roma groups in Germany, on her 100th birthday the Frankfurt prosecutor's office opened an investigation into whether Riefenstahl had denied the Holocaust. This issue came up again in 2002, when Riefenstahl was one hundred years old and she was taken to court by a Roma group for denying the Nazis had exterminated gypsies. Riefensthal apologized, saying, "I regret that Sinti & Roma had to suffer during the period of National Socialism. It is known today that many of them were murdered in concentration camps".

The last time Riefenstahl saw Hitler was when she married Peter Jacob on 21 March 1944, shortly after she had introduced Jacob to Hitler in Kitzbühel, Austria.[15] Riefenstahl and Jacob divorced in 1946.[12]

In October 1944 the production of Tiefland moved to Barrandov Studios in Prague for interior filming. Lavish sets made these shots some of the most costly in the film but they were finished within days. The film was not edited and released until almost 10 years later.

As Germany's military collapsed in the spring of 1945 Riefenstahl left Berlin[12] and was hitchhiking with a group of men, trying to reach her mother, when she was taken into custody by American troops. She walked out of a holding camp, beginning a series of escapes and arrests across the chaotic landscape. At last making it back home on a bicycle, she found that American troops had seized her house, then was surprised by how kindly they treated her.[28]

[edit] Post-war life and career

[edit] Detention and trials

Writer Budd Schulberg, assigned by the US Navy to the OSS for intelligence work while attached to John Ford's documentary unit, was ordered to arrest Riefenstahl at her chalet in Kitzbuhel, Austria, ostensibly to have her identify the faces of Nazi war criminals in German film footage captured by the Allied troops. Riefenstahl claimed she wasn't aware of the nature of the internment camps. According to Schulberg, "She gave me the usual song and dance. She said, 'Of course, you know, I'm really so misunderstood. I'm not political.'" However, when Riefenstahl later claimed she had been forced to follow Goebbels' orders under threat of being sent to a concentration camp, Schulberg asked her why she should have been afraid if she didn't know concentration camps existed. When shown photographs of the camps, Riefenstahl reportedly reacted with horror.

Riefenstahl continued to maintain she was "fascinated" by the National Socialists but politically naïve and ignorant about any war crimes. From 1945 through 1948 she was held in sundry American and French-run detention camps and prisons along with house arrest but although Riefenstahl was tried four times by various postwar authorities, she was never convicted through "denazification" trials either for her alleged role as a propagandist or for the use of concentration camp inmates in her films. However, she was found to be a "fellow traveler" who was sympathetic to the Nazis.

Riefenstahl later said that her biggest regret was meeting Hitler: "It was the biggest catastrophe of my life. Until the day I die people will keep saying, 'Leni is a Nazi', and I'll keep saying, 'But what did she do?'" She won more than 50 libel cases against people accusing her of knowledge having to do with Nazi crimes.

[edit] Thwarted film projects

Most of the negatives for Riefenstahl's finished films and other production materials relating to her unfinished projects were lost towards the end of the war. The French government confiscated all of her editing equipment, along with the production reels of Tiefland. 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 and a few key scenes were missing (although Riefenstahl was surprised to find the original negatives for Olympia in the same shipment). She edited and dubbed what elements were left and Tiefland premiered on 11 February 1954 in Stuttgart, however, it was denied entry into the Cannes Film Festival.[28] Although Riefenstahl lived for almost another half century, Tiefland was her last feature film.[29]

Riefenstahl tried many times (15 by her count)[12] to make films during the 1950s and 1960s but was met with resistance, public protests and sharp criticism. Many of her filmmaking peers in Hollywood had fled Nazi Germany and were unsympathetic to her.[12] Although both film professionals and investors were willing to support her work, most of the projects she attempted were stopped owing to ever-renewed and highly negative publicity about her past work for the Third Reich.[28] In 1956, inspired by Ernest Hemingway's 1935 novel Green Hills of Africa, she began an ambitious film project in Africa drawn from another novel called Schwarze Fracht (Black Freight).[13] Whilst scouting shooting locations, she almost died from injuries received in a truck accident. After waking up from a coma in a Nairobi hospital, she finished writing the script there, but was soon thoroughly thwarted by uncooperative locals, the Suez Canal crisis and bad weather (only test shots were ever made).

In 1954, Jean Cocteau insisted on Tiefland being shown at the Cannes Film Festival, which he was running that year.[10] Cocteau greatly admired the film.[30] In 1960, Riefenstahl unsuccessfully attempted to prevent filmmaker Erwin Leiser from juxtaposing scenes from Triumph of the Will with footage from concentration camps in his film Mein Kampf.[12] Riefenstahl had high hopes for a collaboration with Cocteau called Friedrich und Voltaire, wherein Cocteau was to play two roles. They thought the film might symbolize the "love-hate relationship" between Germany and France. Cocteau's illness and 1963 death put an end to this project.[28] A musical remake of The Blue Light with [L. Ron Hubbard & Philip Hudsmith] also fell through.[31]

[edit] Photography and final film

In the 1960s, Riefenstahl became interested in Africa from Hemingway's book and from the photographs of George Rodger.[30] Rodger, who had taken the first photographs of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, refused to help Riefenstahl meet Africans, citing their backgrounds.[30] Riefenstahl took up photography, documenting a diverse array of subjects. She traveled many times to Africa[17] to photograph the Nuba tribes in Sudan, with whom she sporadically lived, learning about their culture so she could photograph them more easily.[28] They readily accepted her since they knew nothing of her past.[13] She began a lifelong companionship with her cameraman Horst Kettner, who was 40 years her junior and assisted her with the photographs; they were together from the time she was 60 and he was 20.[32] She was granted Sudanese citizenship for her services to the country, becoming the first foreigner to receive a Sudanese passport.[33]

Her books with photographs of the tribes were published in 1974 and 1976 as The Last of the Nuba and The People of Kau and were both international bestsellers.[17][34] While heralded by many as outstanding colour photographs, they were harshly criticized by Susan Sontag, who claimed in a review that they were further evidence of Riefenstahl's "fascist aesthetics".[35] The Art Director's Club of Germany awarded Leni a gold medal for the best photographic achievement of 1975.[33] She also sold the pictures to German magazines.[28] She photographed the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich and rock star Mick Jagger and his wife Bianca for the Sunday Times.[10] Years later she photographed Las Vegas entertainers Siegfried and Roy. She befriended Andy Warhol and was a Guest of Honour at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.[12]

At age 72, Riefenstahl began pursuing underwater photography, after lying about her age to gain certification for scuba diving (she claimed she was 52). In 1978, she published a book of her below-water photographs, Korallengärten (Coral Gardens) followed by the 1990 book; Wunder unter Wasser (Wonder under Water).[12] On August 22, 2002, her 100th birthday, Riefenstahl released a film called Impressionen unter Wasser (Underwater Impressions), an idealized documentary of life in the oceans.[17] She was the oldest scuba diver in the world at this time.[30] Riefenstahl was a member of Greenpeace for 8 years.[36]

She survived a helicopter crash in Sudan in 2000 while trying to learn the fates of her Nuba friends during the Sudanese civil war.[13]

[edit] Second marriage and death

In 2003, at the age of 101, Riefenstahl married Horst Kettner.[37]

Leni Riefenstahl died in her sleep on the late evening of September 8, 2003 at her home in Pöcking, Germany, a few weeks after her 101st birthday. She had been suffering from cancer. She was buried in Munich's Waldfriedhof cemetery.

There was varied response in the obituary pages of leading publications, although most recognised her technical breakthroughs in film making;

The Daily Telegraph wrote that she

' was perhaps the most talented female cinema director of the 20th century; her celebration of Nazi Germany in film ensured that she was certainly the most infamous...Critics would later decry her fascination with the athletes' [Olympia] physiques as fascistic; but in truth her interest was born not of racist ends but of the delight she, as a former dancer, took in the human form".[38] '
' Opinions will be divided between those who see her as a young, talented and ambitious woman caught up in the tide of events which she did not fully understand, and those who believe her to be a cold and opportunist propagandist and a Nazi by association[12] '

The Independent

' At the end of her long life she was still the controversial femme fatale of German films...She was interested in beauty, adventure and films, but she was famous for being the woman you love to hate.[39] '

Claudia Lenssen in Die Tageszeitung

[edit] Views of critics

In his book The Story of Film, film scholar Mark Cousins claims, "Next to Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock, Leni Riefenstahl was the most technically talented Western film maker of her era".

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".[40] Pauline Kael called Triumph and Olympia "the two greatest films ever directed by a woman".[32]

[edit] Film biographies

In 1993, she was the subject of the acclaimed German documentary film The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl, directed by Ray Müller. Riefenstahl appeared in the film and answered several questions and detailed the production of her films.[41][42] She was also the subject of Müller's 2000 documentary film Leni Riefenstahl: Her Dream of Africa, documenting her return to Sudan to visit the Nuba.

The Guardian reported in April 2007 that British screenwriter Rupert Walters was writing a movie based on Riefenstahl's life which would star actress Jodie Foster.[17] The project had been in the works for more than seven years under the working title The Leni Riefenstahl Project.[43] The project is co-produced by Primary Pictures and Foster's own Egg Pictures.[43] Foster said in 1999, "There is no other woman in the 20th century who has been so admired and vilified simultaneously".[43] The project had not been able to capture Riefenstahl's consent while she was alive, since Riefenstahl requested the ability to veto any scenes she didn't agree with; Riefenstahl also preferred Sharon Stone as the star of the movie rather than Foster.[17][44] Both Foster and Madonna had sought the rights to Riefenstahl's autobiography since the early 1990s.[10] Director Paul Verhoeven corresponded with Riefenstahl about a separate film biography.[44]

[edit] In popular culture

Riefenstahl's filming merits are discussed between characters in the Quentin Tarantino film Inglourious Basterds. Tarantino explained the significant presence of Third Reich filmaking in his film; "Riefenstahl and Goebbels despised each other. He was in charge of every single person in the German film industry with the sole exception of her".[45]

Leni, an award winning play by Sarah Greenman,  is based on the life and work of Leni Riefenstahl.  It saw productions in Oakland, California in 2004, Portland, Oregon in 2007, Seattle, Washington in 2008, and was showcased at the New York Fringe Festival in 2007.

A play based on Riefenstahl, Playing Leni (originally titled Dysfictional Circumstances) by David Robson and John Stanton, won the Hotel Obligado Audience Choice Award for New Work at the 2010 Spark Showcase in Philadelphia. It subsequently received a staged reading at the Philly Fringe Festival and will be produced in May 2011 by Madhouse Theater.

[edit] Works

[edit] Selected filmography

Year Film Credited as
Director Producer Writer Actor Role
1925 Wege zu Kraft und Schönheit (Ways to Strength and Beauty) Yes Dancer
1926 Der heilige Berg - (The Holy Mountain) Yes Diotima
1927 Der große Sprung - (The Great Leap) Yes Gita
1928 Das Schicksal derer von Habsburg Yes Maria Vetsera
1929 Die weiße Hölle vom Piz Palü - (The White Hell of Pitz Palu) Yes Maria Maioni
1930 Stürme über dem Mont Blanc - (Storm over Mont Blanc) Yes Hella Armstrong
1931 Der weiße Rausch - Neue Wunder des Schneeschuhs Yes Leni
1932 Das Blaue Licht - (The Blue Light) Yes Yes Yes Yes Junta
1933 S.O.S. Eisberg Yes Ellen Lawrence
Der Sieg des Glaubens - (Victory of Faith) Yes
1935 Tag der Freiheit: Unsere Wehrmacht - (Day of Freedom: Our Armed Forces) Yes Yes Yes
Triumph des Willens - (Triumph of the Will) Yes Yes Yes
1937 Wilde Wasser Yes
1938 Olympia 1. Teil - Fest der Völker - (Festival of Nations) Yes Yes Yes Yes Nude model (uncredited)
Olympia 2. Teil - Fest der Schönheit - (Festival of Beauty) Yes Yes Yes
1954 Tiefland - (Lowlands) Yes Yes Yes Yes Martha
2002 Impressionen unter Wasser Yes
Year Film Director Producer Writer Actor Role

[edit] Photographer

[edit] Author

In translation:

[edit] Further reading

  • Leni Riefenstahl Bibliography (via UC Berkeley)
  • Over 1400 references in English, German and French
  • Loiperdinger, Martin/David Culbert: "Leni Riefenstahl, the SA and the Nazi Party Rally Films, Nuremberg 1933-1934: 'Sieg des Glaubens' and 'Triumph des Willens' ", in: Historical Journal of Film and Television, 8/1/1988, S.3-38.
  • Loiperdinger, Martin: "Sieg des Glaubens. Ein gelungenes Experiment nationalsozialistischer Filmpropaganda", in: Zeitschrift für Pädagogik, 31/1993, S.35-48.
  • Fabe, Marilyn: Triumph of the Will. The Arrival of Hitler. Notes and Analysis. Mount Vernon/N.Y. 1975.
  • Heinzelmann, Herbert: "Die Heilige Messe des Reichsparteitags. Zur Zeichensprache von Leni Riefenstahls 'Triumph des Willens' ", in: Bernd Organ/Wolfgang W. Weiß: Faszination und Gewalt. Zur politischen �„sthetik des Nationalsozialismus, Nürnberg 1992, o. S.
  • Loiperdinger, Martin/David Culbert: "Leni Riefenstahl, the SA and the Nazi Party Rally Films, Nuremberg 1933-1934: 'Sieg des Glaubens' and 'Triumph des Willens' ", in: Historical Journal of Film and Television, 8/1/1988, S.3-38.
  • Schwartzman, R.J.: Racial Theory and Propaganda in 'Triumph of the Will' ", in: Florida State University on Literatur and Film, 18/1993, S.136-153.
  • Leni Riefenstahl - A Memoir, St. Martin's Press, 1993, ISBN 0-312-09843-X
  • A Portrait of Leni Riefenstahl by Audrey Salkeld, 1996, ISBN 0-7126-7338-5
  • The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl, documentary film directed by Ray Müller (1994)
  • Leni Riefenstahl: The fallen film goddess by Glenn B. Infield (Crowell, 1976, ISBN 0-690-01167-9)
  • Leni Riefenstahl: The Seduction of Genius by Rainer Rother, translated by Martin H. Bott (Continuum International Publishing Group reprint edition, 2003, ISBN 0-8264-7023-8)
  • The Films of Leni Riefenstahl by David B. Hinton, Scarecrow Press 3rd edition, 2000, ISBN 1-57886-009-1)
  • Leni Riefenstahl: Five Lives by Angelika Taschen, 2000, ISBN 3-8228-6216-9)
  • Leni Riefenstahl: A Life by Jurgen Trimborn, Translation by Edna McCown, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007, ISBN 0-3741-8493-3
  • Bach, Steven (2007). Leni - The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl. Knopf. , ISBN 0-3754-0400-7

[edit] See also

[edit] References and notes

  1. ^ a b c Leni Riefenstahl. (1993). The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl. [motion picture]. Germany, Africa: Ray Müller. 
  2. ^ Koster, Ron, Leni Riefenstahl's Film Début, 2004, retrieved 6 January 2008
  3. ^ New York Times, Janet Maslin, Just What Did Leni Riefenstahl's Lens See?, 13 March 1994, retrieved 6 January 2008
  4. ^ Psymon, Leni Gallery, retrieved 6 January 2008
  5. ^ a b Carl Rollyson (2007-03-07). "Leni Riefenstahl on Trial". The New York Sun. http://www.nysun.com/arts/leni-riefenstahl-on-trial/49944/. Retrieved 2008-11-02. 
  6. ^ a b "Leni Riefenstahl: Hand-held history". The Economist. September 2003. pp. XX. http://www.economist.com/displaystory.cfm?story_id=2051630. 
  7. ^ Bulldog News, Hitler's Filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl Dead at 101 (after Associated Press), 9 September 2003, retrieved 5 January 2008
  8. ^ bbc.com, Leni Riefenstahl the Devil's Diva, 10 September 2003, retrieved 5 January 2008
  9. ^ bbc.com, Film-maker Leni Riefenstahl dies, 9 September 2003, retrieved 4 January 2008. Text from article: "Her Nazi documentaries were hailed as groundbreaking film-making, pioneering techniques involving cranes, tracking rails, and many cameras working at the same time".
  10. ^ a b c d Falcon, Richard (2003-09-09). "Leni Riefenstahl". London: The Guardian. pp. XX. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2003/sep/09/world.news1. 
  11. ^ Thurman, Judith (2007-03-17). "Where There's a Will". New Yorker. pp. XX. http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2007/03/19/070319crbo_books_thurman?currentPage=3. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Williams, Val (2003-09-10). "Leni Riefenstahl". London: The Independent. pp. XX. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/leni-riefenstahl-548728.html. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f Moore, Charles (2003-09-10). "Leni Riefenstahl". London: Daily Telegraph. pp. XX. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/main.jhtml?xml=/education/2003/09/24/tehAdb1001.xml. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f James, Clive (2007-03-25). "Reich Star". The New York Times. pp. XX. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/25/books/review/James.t.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1. 
  15. ^ a b c d e Riding, Alan (2003-09-10). "Leni Riefenstahl, Film Innovator Tied to Hitler, Dies at 101". The New York Times. pp. XX. http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/Holocaust/riefenstahl-obit.html. 
  16. ^ Riefenstahl in military uniform, image from: Steven Bach (2007). Leni - The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl. [1];Ścinki Ta�my, Polityka, 2003-10-05
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h Harris, Paul (2007-04-29). "Hollywood tackles Hitler's Leni". London: The Guardian. pp. XX. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/apr/29/film.filmnews. 
  18. ^ Die Neue Rechte, by Kay Sokolowsky, Konkret 3, 1999: "Mit unbeschreiblicher Freude, tief bewegt und erfüllt mit heissem Dank, erleben wir mit Ihnen mein Führer, Ihren und Deutschlands grössten Sieg, den Einzug Deutscher Truppen in Paris. Mehr als jede Vorstellungskraft menschlicher Fantasie vollbringen Sie Taten, die ohnegleichen in der Geschichte der Menschheit sind, wie sollen wir Ihnen nur danken? Glückwünsche auszusprechen, das ist viel zu wenig, um Ihnen die Gefühle auszusprechen, die mich bewegen".
  19. ^ See Infield, Glenn B. Eva and Adolf New York:1974--Grosset and Dunlap (Interviews with former SS officers who had been close to Hitler and Eva Braun)
  20. ^ a b Mathews, Tom (2007-04-29). "Leni: The life and work of Leni Riefenstahl, by Steven Bach". London: The Independent. pp. XX. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/leni-the-life-and-work-of-leni-riefenstahl-by-steven-bach-446731.html. 
  21. ^ Jürgen Trimborn : Riefenstahl, Berlin 2002, page. 325
  22. ^ Kein Vergessen, 70. Jahrestag der Errichtung des Zwangslagers für Sinti und Roma in Berlin - Marzahn. [2] The photo on page 13 shows Riefenstahl during the making of the film. See also: Leni Riefenstahl's 'Gypsy Question', by Susan Tegel, in: journal Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Volume 23, Issue 1 March 2003, pages 3 - 10
  23. ^ Sozialausgleichsabgabe für die Zigeuner bei dem Film Tiefland ab 27.4.42
  24. ^ In a decree dated December 16, 1942, Himmler ordered the deportation of Gypsies and part-Gypsies to Auschwitz--Birkenau. See: Sinti and Roma, ed. Holocaust Museum [3]
  25. ^ Fourteen of them, with concentration camp numbers, were: Robert Adler (Z-5792); Karl Dewüs (Z-4145), Heini Ernst (Z-5696), Wilhelm Ritter (Z-4883), Albrecht Rose (Z-752), Charlotte Rosenberg (Z-5406), Werner Rosenberg (Z-4860), Otto Schmelzer (Z-5448); Karl Steinbach (Z-4875), Ludwig Weisenbach (Z-4857), Hermann Weiß (Z-644), Johann Weiß (Z-643), Willy Zander (Z-5933); Hans Zens (Z-178). Berliner Zeitung, 17.02.2001, Riefenstahls Liste. Zum gedenken an die ermordeten Komparsen, by Reimar Gilsenbach and Otto Rosenberg [4]
  26. ^ Leni Riefenstahl: A Life by Trimbonr, p. 206-8
  27. ^ a b Taylor, Charles (2007-04-19). "Ill Will". The Nation. pp. XX. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070507/taylor. 
  28. ^ a b c d e f courses.washington.edu, Leni Riefenstahl - biography, retrieved 11 September 2008
  29. ^ news.bbc.co.uk, Nazi propaganda photos withdrawn, 15 June 2005, retrieved 11 September 2008
  30. ^ a b c d Baruma, Ian (2007-06-14). "Fascinating Narcissism". New York Review of Books. pp. XX. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/20258. 
  31. ^ Callow, Simon (2003-05-12). "'As pretty as a swastika')". London: The Guardian. pp. XX. http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/may/12/featuresreviews.guardianreview5. 
  32. ^ a b Corliss, Richard (2002-08-22). "That Old Feeling: Leni's Triumph". TIME. pp. XX. http://www.time.com/time/columnist/corliss/article/0,9565,340279,00.html. 
  33. ^ a b Leni Riefenstahl interviewed by Kevin Brownlow Taschen
  34. ^ Leni Riefenstahl (obituary) The Times. 10 September 2003
  35. ^ Fascinating Fascism, 1975
  36. ^ Harper's Index. Volume 1
  37. ^ TZ Online, Leni Riefenstahl: Letztes Geheimnis geleftet! retrieved 04 October 2007
  38. ^ Leni Riefenstahl (obituary) Daily Telegraph. 9 September 2003
  39. ^ What they said about......Leni Riefenstahl The Guardian. 11 September 2003
  40. ^ Bright Lights Film Journal, Lonesome Leni (film review), November 1999, retrieved 4 January 2008
  41. ^ Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (review) New York Times. October 14, 1993
  42. ^ The Wonderful Horrible Life Of Leni Riefenstahl (review) Chicago Sun-Times. June 24, 1994
  43. ^ a b c "Egg Fosters `Riefenstahl'.(Jodie Foster is scheduled to star in 'The Leni Riefenstahl Project')". Variety. December 1999. pp. XX. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb1437/is_/ai_n5934097. [dead link]
  44. ^ a b Nugent, Benjamin (2002-09-02). "People". TIME. pp. XX. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1003166,00.html?iid=chix-sphere. 
  45. ^ Quentin Tarantino's 'Basterds' is a glorious mash-up LA Times. 16 August 2009
  46. ^ Hinter den Kulissen des Reichsparteitags-Films [5] complete online text and photos

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