Quite definitely both, I think.
I’ve seen the doc before, and IIRC, Riefenstahl comes across as someone intelligent and gifted who allowed herself to be swept up in a cult of personality, and has been rationalizing ever since.
Great director, great photographer; how unfortunate that such talent wound up glorifying such a cause.
I can almost understand how in the earliest years of Nazi rule (say, 1933-34), intellectuals like Riefenstahl got very enthused over the regime, carried away in fact with the emotion and dramatic symbolism (although it was pretty overblown).
However, once the promulgation of the Nuremburg Laws in 1935 revoked German citizenship from Jews (amongst other things), there can be no excuse. These statutes established Nazi racial philosophy as the law of the state. Canadian novelist Mordecai Richler has called the Nuremburg Laws “a station on the road to Hell.”
Someone moving in the circles that Riefenstahl did would have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to have deduced what was happening to the Jews (and others). Certainly there was much ‘street gossip’ in Germany and the occupied countries. IIRC in a recent book “Germany’s Willing Executioners,” the author (Goldhagen) recounts memories of German children being told to behave “or they’d go up the chimney.”
I think it was a case of “hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil,” for many Germans, including Riefenstahl.