Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Leni Riefenstahl

Leni Riefenstahl - Nuba Girl with Tribal ScarsYesterday, Bryan Ferry apologised for praising the "iconography" of the Nazi party. "I'm talking about the films of Leni Riefenstahl and the buildings of Albert Speer..." he explained. It is sad that a cultured man must apologize for admiring the artistry of Leni Riefenstahl. That he described the Nazi rallies as "beautiful" was a gaffe. "Menacing" would have been a better choice of word, because we now know what those rallies would lead to: World War II, blizkrieg, slavery, concentration camps, extermination.
Leni Riefenstahl was never forgiven for making Hitler's propaganda film Triumph of the Will, but this was in 1934, before the world could begin to imagine the horrors Hitler would unleash, and that movie won the gold medal in Venice in 1935 and the gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1937. Her magnificent film of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which begins with a panning shot round a naked discus thrower, also won golds at Paris (1937) and Venice (1938) and in 1956 it was recognized as one of the world's ten best films. Ironically, this was the Olympic Games in which that great Afro-American athlete Jesse Owens got right up the Führer's nose by showing the Master Race how to win four gold medals and break 11 Olympic records!
Leni Riefenstahl was cleared of war crimes, but the stigma remained. Before you condemn anyone for admiring her multi-faceted talent - artist, dancer, actress, movie director, photographer - examine this charming, ennobling photo of a pretty girl bearing tribal scars. Leni lived with and befriended the Nuba people, hardly the behaviour of a Fascist. To read a concise illustrated biography, which includes a surprising photo of her with Mick Jagger, CLICK.


At 9/2/14, Blogger JC said...

It is a shame that irrational and misplaced hatred persists against all things directly or indirectly associated with Nazism.

Leni was an artist, who had also been a Nazi. Do we persecute artists who happen to be Communist, or homosexual?

We do not see the same degree of hostility towards Communism, which was a far more evil and dangerous creed, for far longer than Nazism. Nor for that matter against Islam, which is far more of a threat to the West than Communism and Nazism combined.

At 9/2/14, Blogger Ian Cox said...

Hi, JC

I'm not sure Leni was a Nazi, although her Triumph of The Will was certainly a propaganda victory for Adolf Hitler. Could an artist turn down the Führer when he offered her the opportunity to make the best movie of her career?

And would a true Nazi befriend the Nuba people, live with them and record their lifestyle with manifest affection? She published at least two books of beautiful photos of the Nuba. I own one of them. Highly recommended.

The Nuba have since been persecuted and all but obliterated by Islamists forcing them to convert to Islam! Rape, torture, concentration camps enforced circumcision, air attacks have all been inflicted on the Nuba. I haven't heard a great outcry from the international community about these Muslim atrocities!


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