Friday, February 20, 2009

The Case For Leni Riefenstahl

In my opinion, Leni Riefenstahl was one of the great film directors of the 20th century. Her images are powerful, with often a dream-like quality. Her choreography is always exactingly precise, moving literally thousands of people with seeming ease.

Later in life she switched to still photography, captivated by tribes of people in the heartland of Africa.

Even later, at the age nearing 100, she was still active as a photographer, now under water.

Still, I’m hesitant to admit knowledge of the woman, much less admiration. What you may not know, and I’ve been hesitant to mention until now, is that for the greater part of her career, she worked for the greatest monster of the 20th century, and she is known almost exclusively for glorifying Adolph Hitler and the 3rd Reich.

Here, then, is my question. Is it possible to be drawn to powerful images, and at the same time repelled by the subject matter? I have this feeling of guilty pleasure, and I don’t like it very much

What are your thoughts?



Birdie said...

Something that has helped me in these instances is something my husband said to me once while we watched the film "Crash". There is good and bad in all people. We were all created in God's image AND with the option to make our own choices. Remembering these things, I could see someone who I feel is repulsive in who or what they have become, but realize that they have the capability to do wonderful things, if they choose. BUT, I don't have to finance them, or admire them, if they choose otherwise. That's my opinion. (and I'm sticking to it....I think:)

Anonymous said...

Isn't that why people work in the Govt? If you like the job you keep quiet.
One wonders what she knew?

Jack Bunny said...

I'd like to think the bulk of her work was done before she knew the complete truth. However, this reasoning on my part could simply be because this is what I would LIKE to think.