Leni Riefenstahl

Leni Riefenstahl: syllabus notes

Historical context

- Growth of German cinema in Weimar Germany

- Rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party

- The Berlin Olympics

- Post-war de-Nazification


- Family background and education

- Early career as dancer and film actor

Rise to prominence

- Direction of The Blue Light 1932

- 1933 meeting with Hitler at Wilmershaven

- Ban on Jews working in the film industry

- Commission for Victory of Faith (Nazi Party rally 1933)

Significance and evaluation

- Relationship with Hitler

- Triumph of the Will

- Berlin Olympiad

- International honours and criticism

- Post-war arrest

- 1960s Nuba photography

- Controversies in later life

- Evaluation: Nazi propagandist or feminist pioneer?

Biography: summary

Historical context

-> Growth of German cinema in Weimar Germany: began in the period after World War I armistice. This growth of cinema saw the uprising of productions challenging to the traditional societal values. The Expressionist movement began with The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and ended with Metropolis, itself setting new standards in film. Expressionists aimed to revive the human spirit by encouraging people to rediscover their emotions. Through their art, Expressionists used distortion, bold colour, exaggeration and shadow to convey these emotions. It was thus in contrast to the traditional view that an artist should strive to reproduce the natural appearance of the object or person being depicted. Because of hyperinflation, an export boom in film was created in Germany, that is, until 1924 when the Dawes plan brought financial stabilization, and thus opened up the German market to competitive foreign imports.

-> Rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party: during the Great Depression, the then Weimar Government was unsuccessful at upholding the growth period of 1924 to 1929. The electoral process was handicapped by the proportional representation of parliament....