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Triumph of the Will 

Leni Riefenstahl


Triumph of the Will
Directed by: Leni Riefenstahl
(Synapse Video)
It is hard to recommend a film made as Nazi propaganda, but though the message is every bit as evil as Hitler’s regime, Riefenstahl revolutionized the way documentaries were made. Until the Maysles brothers made Salesman and brought cinema verite, her theatrical lighting and staging was the standard. As the story goes, Fritz Lang was approached by Gobbels to make propaganda films, unaware that Lang was of Jewish decent. Enter Leni Riefenstahl. Though Gobbels didn’t welcome her gender, he was impressed with her work. Reportedly using 30 cameras and 120 assistants her production was so grandiose that even Cecil B. DeMille couldn’t have dreamed it up. What is also interesting is the historical value of the film. Though it is filled with vile speeches surrounded by genius orchestration, the viewer gets to see first hand just how powerful Hitler was as an orator. Riefenstahl was blacklisted after the war, and didn’t make anymore films. She has always claimed that she wasn’t a Nazi, though the brilliant documentary of her life by Ray Muller Macht, der Bilder: Leni Riefenstahl (The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl) says otherwise. Still Triumph of the Will and her film of the Berlin Olympics, Olympiad, prove her to be one of the greatest German directors ever.
—Trevor MacLaren 

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