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.
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?