Page 1 of 5

'Leni Riefenstahl's only significance was as a propagandist for t...

Continues for 4 more pages »
Read full document

'Leni Riefenstahl's only significance was as a propagandist for the Third Reich'. In light of this statement, assess the significance of Leni Riefenstahl's work in Nazi propaganda until 1945

  • By
  • July 12, 2004
  • 1691 Words
  • 53 Views
Page 1 of 5
Leni Riefenstahl is most widely known for her films Triumph of the Will and Olympia. However, these works, despite being so far ahead of their time, there was and still remains much controversy surrounding them and there is a historical argument as to whether these films were propagandist in nature, or whether Riefenstahl was merely a careerist, aiming to advance her career in any way possible and as she says "What was I supposed to do, make a bad film?" Riefenstahl took advantage of 'manufactured consensus', i.e., as she controlled the cameras, she was able to control the footage her audience viewed, thus only allowing them to see what she wanted them to. Manufactured consensus also refers to the way many of her scenes appear to simply be the way things occurred, however they had been pre-arranged and choreographed by Riefenstahl. Through her editing and splicing of footage, Riefenstahl was able to amplify the effect of her movies and the impact they had on her audiences.

"Can an artist remain aloof of politics?" Historian SM Frapel argues that an artist most certainly can remain aloof of politics, as many had during the initial years of Nazi rule. However, these artists saw their works banned for failing to meet the requirements of the Reichskamera. What can be extrapolated from this, is that those artists who remained aloof from politics were never allowed to have their works screened or exhibited in Nazi Germany, and as a result, their careers were inhibited. However Leni was a careerist and would therefore do anything to have her work shown in public. She could have, as many intellectuals, scientist & other artists had done, left Nazi Germany and would have easily found work as a director in Hollywood, and with its high profile, she could have been equally successful and probably even more

One must also examine the question "Does and artist have a moral obligation to reject certain sponsorships?" Riefenstahl defends herself as an apolitical artist,...