How much of her life after was an attempt to cover up and mislead history is not clarified by this memoir. But what is there is a stunning record of how Riefenstahl came of age and entered the German film industry when it was at its height, making Mountain Films and developing a production technique that would come to full fruition in her documentaries, Triumph of the Will and Olympia. Her filmic transitioning remains an art form in and of itself; her work flows, moves, and isolates its subjects against natural and epic backgrounds. Individuals become expressions of natural will and order.

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Her most famous film was Triumph des Willens Triumph of the Will , a propaganda film made at the Nuremberg congress of the Nazi Party. 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 s repels most modern commentators but many film histories cite the aesthetics as outstanding.

The Economist wrote that Triumph of the Will "sealed her reputation as the greatest female filmmaker of the 20th century". In the s 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 After her death, the Associated Press described Riefenstahl as an "acclaimed pioneer of film and photographic techniques".

Der Tagesspiegel newspaper in Berlin noted, "Leni Riefenstahl conquered new ground in the cinema". 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".

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Leni Riefenstahl

Now, four years later, St. No translator is credited on the title page. After the war, cinematic entrees were closed to Riefenstahl. She never made another film. Her insistence through the decades that she directed the documentaries solely as works of art, that the thought of propaganda never crossed her mind, has had the ring of a bald-faced lie.


Hitler had ordered Goebbels Propaganda Ministry to give the film commission to Riefenstahl, but the Ministry had never informed her. It has gone on record that, immediately following the killings, Hitler ordered all copies of the film to be destroyed, although Riefenstahl disputes that this ever happened. The film is also noted for its slow motion shots. Its international debut led Riefenstahl to embark on an American publicity tour in an attempt to secure commercial release. He truly is without fault, so simple and at the same time possessed of masculine strength".

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