Print on artistic paper
40 x 60 cm
by Thomas Dellert
Helene Bertha Amalie „Leni“ Riefenstahl (1902 –2003) was a German film director, actress and dancer widely noted for her aesthetics and innovations as a filmmaker. Her most famous film was Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will), a propaganda film made at the 1934 Nürnberg congress of the Nazi Party. Riefenstahl's prominence in the Third Reich, along with her personal friendship with Adolf Hitler, destroyed her film career following Germany's defeat in World War II, after which she was arrested but released without any charges.
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.
Olympia is a 1938 film by Leni Riefenstahl documenting the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Germany.
It was the first documentary feature film of the Olympic Games ever made. Many advanced motion picture techniques, which later became industry standards but which were groundbreaking at the time, were employed —including unusual camera angles, smash cuts, extreme close-ups, placing tracking shot rails within the bleachers, and the like. The techniques employed are almost universally admired, but the film is controversial due to its political context. Nevertheless, the film appears on many lists of the greatest films of all-time, including Time magazine's "All-Time 100 Movies."
The film won several awards
▪ National Film Prize (1937–1938)
▪ Venice International Film Festival (1938) Best Film)
▪ Swedish Polar Prize (1938)
▪ Greek Sports Prize (1938)
▪ Olympic Gold Medal of the Comité International Olympique (1939)
Lausanne International Film Festival (1948) — Olympic Diploma
Riefenstahl was widely known all her life. The propaganda value of her films made during the 1930s 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 1970s, 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 2002.
Riefenstahl celebrated her 101st birthday on 22 August 2003 and married Horst Kettner.
Leni Riefenstahl died in her sleep on the late evening of 8 September 2003 at her home in Pöcking, Germany.