Leni Riefenstahl, a dazzling individual that has lived through and experienced many things that no other person may have. She has lived through the World War One, Great Depression, Nazi Germany, World War Two, the Cold war and September 11. However, what fascinates historians and people all over was her involvement and relationship with Hitler and the Nazis party. This report will look over Leni's early to role as director of her Infamous films Triumph of the Will and Olympia and her involvement and view of Nazism and Hitler. Helene Bertha Amelie (Leni) was born on 22 August 1902 in Berlin. Leni lived in a comfortable middle-class family. Since a young age Leni has had a passion for dance. Leni's dancing career began in the 1920s, during the Weimar republic that saw the birth of a culturally and politically diverse nation. Max Reinhardt, a prominent producer hired Leni as a dancer. Leni soon extended her talents to choreography. Her dancing career suffered due to a continuos knee injuries and one in particular in 1925, when she performed Prague. However, her life was going to under go a dramatic change that would lead her to acting and finally directing. Suddenly the image of a man climbing a jagged mountain came into focus. The colourful poster was promoting a movie with predictive name "Mountain of Destiny". Leni instantly became entranced with the movie and soon went off to meet Arnold Fanck who would open the world of cinema to Leni. She stared in six of his movies, such as The Holy Mountain, The Big Jump and the White Hell of Pitz Palu, where she was portrayed as the hero and where her physical proficiency was displayed (which has always been a male domain). Franck had become her mentor and it been his opening scene of the The magic mountain' that Hitler admired. In 1932 the political situation in Germany was intensifying. The Republic was crumbling and the great depression was taking its toll on the German people. Leni was not greatly affected by the depression and saw little of the violence that was occurring. In Berlin she was persuaded by friends to attend a political rally at Sportsplatz where Hitler would give an address. Instantly Leni had become spellbound by Hitler as he did upon thousands-He radiated something very powerful,' she later observed, something which had a kind of hypotonic effect.' Inspired by Hitler, Leni wrote to Hitler, who soon replied, as Hitler was an admirer of work. Hitler and Leni met in late 1932 on the Baltic coast. Hitler praised her and her work, which would have left no doubt that; she was flattered and captivated by Hitler. Hitler had told her that once the Nazis came into power that she would make movies for them. It was a start of friendship between the two. Leni was fascinated with film and film techniques. So, in 1932 she produced, directed, edited and starred in The Blue Light. A fairytale story about a woman named Junta. Leni experimented greatly with colour filters, light and camera shots. She was a perfectionist that was determined to create a mythical landscape. The film was a great success that won her a silver medal in the Venice Film Festival in 1933. Leni was a true artist that expressed and produced her movies in ways that have not been done before. Most films of the day were static productions that only had the camera in one position recording the action. She believed that the techniques used, such as music, angles and lighting, should be used to reflect and relate to the film. All her scenes were carefully planned out and became experimental with her camera. She spent a great deal of time editing her films. In February 1933, Hitler asked Leni to make films for him. She however, declined due to her fear that it would decline her ability to work creatively in freedom. Also, she did not wish to work under the control of Gobbels and she had no experience in documentaries. In 1934 Hitler insisted that she...
Bibliography: Republic to Reich: A history of Germany 1918-1945 (K.J. Mason) 2003
This text was useful for my research, because it gave a good overview of the life of Leni Riefenstahl and it examined her two controversial films Triumph of the Will and Olympia. It also gives names of Historians and of the historical debates. I used the text through understanding what it was saying and compared it to my opinion of Leni. I used quotes from the text, which it had taken from historians, or other texts.
A Portrait of Leni Riefenstahl (Audrey Salkeld) 1996
The text was quite and interesting as it presented the views of not only Audrey but of other historians. The text gave me both views of the debate over Leni. It also helped me in determining my standing over the debates surrounding Riefenstahl. I used quotes from the text and used it in my reports.
Teaching History: Leni Riefenstahl Sources and Debates (Andrew G. Bonnell) 2001
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