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Item #: BK2198
LENI RIEFENSTAHL: A LIFE Trimborn 2007
By Trimborn, Jurgen
Price: $30.00


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2007. 384 pp, photos. Dancer, actress, mountaineer, and director Leni Riefenstahl's uncompromising will and audacious talent for self-promotion appeared unmatched-until 1932, when she introduced herself to her future protector and patron: Adolf Hitler. Known internationally for two of the films she made for him, 'Triumph of the Will' and 'Olympia,' Riefenstahl's demanding and obsessive style introduced unusual angles, new approaches to tracking shots, and highly symbolic montages.

Despite her lifelong claim to be an apolitical artist, Riefenstahl's monumental and nationalistic vision of Germany's traditions and landscape served to idealise the cause of one of the world's most violent and racist regimes. Riefenstahl ardently cast herself as a passionate young director who caved to the pressure to serve an all-powerful Fuhrer, so focused on reinventing the cinema that she didn't recognize the goals of the Third Reich until too late.

Jurgen Trimborn's revelatory biography celebrates this charismatic and adventurous woman who lived to 101, while also taking on the myths surrounding her. With refreshing distance and detailed research, Trimborn presents the story of a stubborn and intimidating filmmaker who refused to be held accountable for her role in the Holocaust but continued to inspire countless photographers and filmmakers with her artistry. Hardcover, DJ, New.

From Publishers Weekly
Nothing tests Keats's adage that beauty is truth more severely than the work of the Third Reich's leading filmmaker, whose notorious documentaries Triumph of the Will and Olympia cloaked the hideousness of Nazi Germany in grand, gorgeous, emotionally overpowering imagery. In this soberly critical biography, film historian Trimborn analyzes the brilliant techniques with which Riefenstahl 'replace[d] politics with aesthetics' and made Hitler 'an almost erotic object' to the adoring German masses.

(Her mystically monumental style, he notes, lived on to influence Hollywood blockbusters like Star Wars and The Lion King, as well as Mick Jagger's stage shows.) He also dissects the lesser falsehoods Riefenstahl propagated to downplay her close relationship with Hitler and complicity with the Nazis. He reprints examples of her fawning praise of the fuehrer and reconstructs her erasure of a Jewish collaborator from the credits of one of her films, her use of Gypsies interned in a forced labor camp as extras (many of whom were later sent to Auschwitz) and her witnessing of a massacre of Jews in Poland, which she protested but which didn't dilute her enthusiasm for Hitler. Trimborn's brisk, lucid account gives the director her artistic due while sternly correcting her evasive mythology, and makes for an illuminating look at a fascinating, troubling figure.
Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved

 


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