Director get development dead in Hell? Leni Riefenstahl Dead at 101.

Just saw it on CNN Headline News and

No one can claim she didn’t have a full and exciting life, but the taint of working for the Nazis is just too hard to ignore. May you live in interesting times indeed.

A great talent who used her abilities in the service of horrible people.

I was in such a rush not to get scooped, I FUBAR’ed the thread title. It should read:

Director gets development deal in Hell? Leni Riefenstahl dead at 101.

If a mod would kindly fix it I will be eternally grateful and offer sacrifices on my personal altar of Ignatz the Brick Throwing Mouse in your name and toast you with a cup of Tiger Tea on your birthday every year (hint hint, Ike).

Hmmm. Diana Mosley at 93; Leni at 101. Guess the good do die young.

BERLIN (AP) - Leni Riefenstahl, whose hypnotic depiction of Hitler’s Nuremberg rally, “Triumph of the Will,” was renowned and despised as the best propaganda film ever made, has died, a German magazine reported Tuesday, quoting a long-time friend. She was 101. Riefenstahl, whose health had been weakened by injuries sustained in accidents, died in her sleep at home Monday night, her companion, Horst Kettner told the on-line service for the German personality magazine Bunte.

A tireless innovator of film and photographic techniques, Riefenstahl’s career centered on a quest for adventure and for portraying physical beauty. Despite critical acclaim for her later photographs of the African Nuba people and of undersea flora and fauna, she spent more than half her life trying to live down the films she made for Hitler and for having admired the tyrant who devastated Europe and all but eliminated its Jews. Even as late as 2002, Riefenstahl was investigated for Holocaust denial after she said she did not know that Gypsies taken from concentration camps to be used as extras in one of her wartime films later died in the camps. Authorities eventually dropped the case, saying her comments did not rise to a prosecutable level. “I don’t know what I should apologize for,” she said. “I cannot apologize, for example, for having made the film “Triumph of the Will” - it won the top prize. All my films won prizes.”

Hey Ho the wicked witch is dead.

Out of personal curiousity, how many of the “Cliveden Set” are still with us?

I can’t see her as evil, unless judged by unintended consequences. I see her as naive and solipsistic. She should have owned up, but she never did.

Hey Leni, what prize did you win? Best Propaganda picture? Best use of Hitler in a “documentary”? Best film by an unsuspecting Nazi dupe?

Hope you took some marshmallows with you.

Oh well, she’s dead. She was properly ostracized in life for her sins. I don’t like the idea that she’s suffer in hell for all eternity for what she did, so I say let her rest in peace. There are geniune, direct-responsibility war criminals running around right now we should be stringing up.

I followed the Holocaust denial case last year and the AP story that Eve quoted is quite inaccurate in reference to that:

Bolding mine.

What she did say can be found here:

So, yeah, she was a Holocaust denying bitch. And now she’s dead.

It always bugged me that Taschen published her books. I’m glad I can order from them unconflictedly again.

Years ago, I saw a short cut from a Nazi propaganda film. This showed a nice German (Nazi) family, attacked by hordes of ape-like Poles. I remember that the Poles are flinging rocks at the german girl, and as she dies, one of those ape-like poles rips off her necklace, which is a nazi swastika. Anybody recognize this film? Was it made by Leni?
Just thought I’d ask!

I don’t believ so. She was more into the artsy propganda.

Leni was enthralled by Hitler, but indifferent to Nazi ideology. Her documentary on the 1936 Olympic games favorably shows black and asian athletes winning events, in seeming contradiction to Nazi racial theories. She was twice acquitted by Allied denazification tribunals.

As for the gypsy prisoners she was lent for use in one of her movies, it was hardly up to her not to return them to authorities, unless she wanted to join them in a concentration camp.

The sad thing is, she was a brilliant filmmaker. She’s certainly one of the five most important female filmmakers in history; her techniques and style are hugely influential.

But yes, she did this in service to an indisputably evil regime.

What gets me is the “either/or” mentality people have with respect to her. When I say she was a brilliant and innovative filmmaker, people will scream at me, “No she wasn’t, she was a wicked Nazi bitch!” Well, perhaps. But why can’t she also be a brilliant and innovative filmmaker? Why is it either/or?

Seriously, for as much as I hear the “evil Nazi bitch” line, for as much as people claim to dismiss her as a filmmaker, I am usually unsurprised to learn that people haven’t actually seen anything she’s done, not even the two most important works, Triumph of the Will or Olympia. Instead, they’d rather stick their fingers in their ears and cover their eyes, as if they might get polluted or something if they actually tried to look at the work objectively. (It’s the same sort of ignorance as Anniee’s reaction to Nabokov’s Lolita in this thread.)

Seriously. Go look at the films. She was brilliant. There’s a reason Triumph of the Will is as scary as it is: because it’s so goddamn effective. You cannot look at her films objectively and deny her manipulative skill.

But that’s not all. At a certain point, while you’re watching, I expect you to sit up in shock and say: “Holy shit. This is basically the triumphant medal scene at the end of Star Wars.” You won’t look at Lucas’s works — or anyone else’s — the same way again.

In short, the vocabulary she invented has been adopted and/or replicated by people of all political persuasions for various purposes ever since, because she was damn good at it, and the stuff she came up with was damn powerful. George Bush’s speech on the aircraft carrier is a direct descendent of the visual pageantry perfected by Riefenstahl. That’s not to tarnish Bush by association, because all successful politicians use the same vocabulary. If Gore were President, he’d be using the same tricks to present himself: because they are powerful and they work.

Condemn her political role all you want, but don’t for a moment get confused and try to dismiss her importance as a filmmaker at the same time.

What Cervaise said.

After all, there’d be no Starship Troopers without Triumph of the Will.

Yet another reason she’s going to hell! :wink:

Well, given my feelings about Starship Troopers, I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing.

I remember watching The Lion King and when the scenes which were essentially rotoscoped from TotW, I immediately began scanning the theater to see what people’s reaction was. Nobody, but me, appeared to “get it.” And I’ve never even seen the complete TotW, only sections of it, but I recognized her work quite well.

That being said, I agree with what Cervaise said.

Sounds like another cemetery tour is in order, Eve.

And don’t forget to pack your dancing shoes.

There’s a bit more to it then that. An overview of the claims made against her is here:

It’s also worth noting that the BBC reported that the Holocaust denying case (for her statement - or as I prefer to call it, her lie - “We saw all the Gypsies that played in ‘Lowlands’ again after the war … Nothing happened to them.”) was dropped, in part, because she was old:


I have to agree with Cervaise. Politics aside, she was a good filmmaker.