A Memoir



Leni Riefenstahl Is A Ninety Year Old German Who Has Been A Dancer, Actress, Deep Sea Diver, Photographer Of African Tribes And Hitler S Top Film Executive In Her Own Unique Style, She Tells The Story Of Her Life And Its Mark On History PhotosA Memoir

Helene Bertha Amalie Leni Riefenstahl German pronunciation i f n ta l 22 August 1902 8 September 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 Nuremberg congress of the Nazi Party Riefenstahl s prominence in the Third Reich along with her personal friendship with Adolf Hitler thwarted 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, 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.After her death, the Associated Press described Riefenstahl as an acclaimed pioneer of film and photographic techniques Der Tagesspiegel newspaper in Berlin noted, Leni Riefenstahl conquered new ground in the cinema The BBC said her documentaries were hailed as groundbreaking film making, pioneering techniques involving cranes, tracking rails, and many cameras working at the same time.

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  • Hardcover
  • 669 pages
  • A Memoir
  • Leni Riefenstahl
  • English
  • 20 May 2019
  • 031209843X

10 thoughts on “A Memoir

  1. says:

    The self serving reminiscences of a Nazi propagandist and collaborator who refused to admit it Riefenstahl is an incredibly rare blend of a person lacking self awareness with quite a healthy sense of self worth and fascist tendencies Her memoirs are a fascinating example of equivocation and moral justification, but are often unbearable in its rampant self aggrandization and total lack of remorse Worth a read, though, if you re interested in Third Reich hangers on, the German film industry, an The self serving reminiscences of a Nazi propagandist and collaborator who refused to admit it Riefenstahl is an incredibly rare blend of a person lacking self awareness with quite a healthy sense of self worth and fascist tendencies Her memoirs are a fascinating example of equivocation and moral justification, but are often unbearable in its rampant self aggrandization and total lack of remorse Worth a read, though, if you re interested in Third Reich hangers on, the German film industry, and the lengths to which a person will go to hold oneself inculpable for one s actions

  2. says:

    I have defeated you Leni Riefenstahl A part of me believes this woman is a liar and a sociopath

  3. says:

    Leni Riefenstahl died in 2003, when she was 101 years old, the last surviving member of Hitler s inner circle How much of her life after 1945 was an attempt to cover up and mislead history is not clarified by this memoir But what is there is a stunning record of how Riefenstahl came of age and entered the German film industry when it was at its height, making Mountain Films and developing a production technique that would come to full fruition in her documentaries, Triumph of the Will and Olym Leni Riefenstahl died in 2003, when she was 101 years old, the last surviving member of Hitler s inner circle How much of her life after 1945 was an attempt to cover up and mislead history is not clarified by this memoir But what is there is a stunning record of how Riefenstahl came of age and entered the German film industry when it was at its height, making Mountain Films and developing a production technique that would come to full fruition in her documentaries, Triumph of the Will and Olympia Her filmic transitioning remains an art form in and of itself her work flows, moves, and isolates its subjects against natural and epic backgrounds Individuals become expressions of natural will and order So, in many ways, she does reflect the ideology of the political movement that made her rise possible in the first place.The details of Riefenstahl s life mesmerize the reader And it also demonstrates one of the quirks of National Socialist Germany That is, not only the survival but the flourishing of certain types of women in Hitler s Third Reich Riefenstahl, like the aviatrix Hanna Reitsch, was something of a bohemian working outside the traditional social roles assigned to women She became a force, a power to be reckoned with in Germany during a time when sexism operated as a secondary sort of racism Clearly, this was not the ideological goal of Nazism but it was an aspect of the Nazi elites that that they saw something of themselves, outsiders, perhaps, in figures like Riefenstahl, Reitsch, and Hitler s personal secretaries.Riefenstahl s death and her memoirs effectively closed the book on the passing of a certain era in history Hitler and his regime now belong to a past whose living memory no longer exists You can still find some hints of it in Riefenstahl s writings, but you will need to read between the lines to determine the ultimate truth

  4. says:

    Back during high school a few of us drove to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois to see Riefenstahl s Triumph of the Will, a film I have not seen since but remember with extraordinary clarity, so impressive was it, visually speaking Other than clips from her later Olympia, I have not seen her other cinematic productions.Consequently, I picked this up without knowing much about the author beyond the fact that she was the most famous film director associated with the Third Reich I had Back during high school a few of us drove to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois to see Riefenstahl s Triumph of the Will, a film I have not seen since but remember with extraordinary clarity, so impressive was it, visually speaking Other than clips from her later Olympia, I have not seen her other cinematic productions.Consequently, I picked this up without knowing much about the author beyond the fact that she was the most famous film director associated with the Third Reich I had absolutely no idea that she remained a public figure into the eighties or that she had had a later career as a photographer.While, for me, the most interesting parts of her memoirs concern the Nazi years, particularly as regards her associations with leaders of the NDSAP, these do not constitute the bulk of her recollections What she mostly writes about are, at first, romance with men and with artistic subjects and then, after the war, the difficulties she had with doing any creative work owing to the persistent belief held by many that she herself had been a Nazi she hadn t Much of this later work is associated with Africa, the Sudan in particular.Frankly, except for the war years, I found this book emotionally difficult Listening to Riefenstahl was, to my ear, like listening to my mother, another romantic, albeit less accomplished Too much of it was too personal I would have appreciatedcontext,about others Although a great artist, Riefenstahl was no intellectual, her lack of understanding of her objective circumstances, her historical and political ignorance, leading her into dark waters and much aggravation

  5. says:

    Ms Riefenstahl isor less the prisoner of history Having been one of the world s greatest innovative cinematographers, and forced to create what was effectively the most effective propaganda film of all time the Triumph of the Will, Ms Reifenstahl keeps her own reputation intact by being the person who also documented the 1936 Olympics, her film of which, Olympia, was given awards in all the countries Hitler later conquered She insists on her apolitical freedom, and takes refuge from t Ms Riefenstahl isor less the prisoner of history Having been one of the world s greatest innovative cinematographers, and forced to create what was effectively the most effective propaganda film of all time the Triumph of the Will, Ms Reifenstahl keeps her own reputation intact by being the person who also documented the 1936 Olympics, her film of which, Olympia, was given awards in all the countries Hitler later conquered She insists on her apolitical freedom, and takes refuge from the many cases of innuendo which built up around her after the war, in her artistry, as well as her own freedom of racial prejudices, but the consequences of having been a witness to the intrigues of and first person intimate of Adolf Hitler give this book a historical weight all of its own You really want to read it through to the end

  6. says:

    Whoa, finally finished This is actually a good book to read over a long period because she neatly divides her story into titled anecdotes, some only a page or so long Also she goes into great amounts of detail that might have gotten a bit much if I had tried to read this straight through Of course this is her side of everything, but she came off pretty straight forward to me, and certainly not the Nazi villainess I had always casually assumed her to be Sometimes I would sort of forget who s Whoa, finally finished This is actually a good book to read over a long period because she neatly divides her story into titled anecdotes, some only a page or so long Also she goes into great amounts of detail that might have gotten a bit much if I had tried to read this straight through Of course this is her side of everything, but she came off pretty straight forward to me, and certainly not the Nazi villainess I had always casually assumed her to be Sometimes I would sort of forget who she was talking about, like this skirt chasing creep she had to work with, oh wait, it s Joseph Goebbels THAT Joseph Goebbels She s clear about what she liked and didn t like about Hitlereven chiding Albert Speer, whom she was fond of, for NOT being honest about that in his memoirs So easy to distance oneself from someone or thing that turns out badly Unique and quite interesting overall

  7. says:

    this woman was amazing.

  8. says:

    Oh, Leni, what are we going to do with you An exhaustive and exhausting memoir from the innovative filmmaker of Triumph of the Will, Olympia, some prewar mountain films and postwar documentaries on African tribes and Maldive scuba diving Riefenstahl s pre war, wartime and postwar experiences are by far the most interesting and thrilling sections of the book, especially her encounters with Hitler and the Third Reich upper management team, but she gives these years far less attention than they d Oh, Leni, what are we going to do with you An exhaustive and exhausting memoir from the innovative filmmaker of Triumph of the Will, Olympia, some prewar mountain films and postwar documentaries on African tribes and Maldive scuba diving Riefenstahl s pre war, wartime and postwar experiences are by far the most interesting and thrilling sections of the book, especially her encounters with Hitler and the Third Reich upper management team, but she gives these years far less attention than they deserve The second half of the book is devoted to her numerous trips to Africa to photograph hill tribes in northern Sudan, and rebuffing an endless stream of attacks on her character for having produced a film for the Nazis and been affiliated with Nazi leadership She goes to court dozens hundreds thousands of times for libel suits because she may or may not have cast interned Gypsies from a concentration camp to play Spaniards in a film she made during the war, and many of those Gypsies wound up at Auschwitz She denied to the end that they were prisoners or were gassed at the camps but this controversy surfaced too many times for me to write it off as pure slander, as she would like you to believe Unfortunately we ll probably never know what really happened there Which brings me to the fact that Leni is, unsurprisingly, an unreliable narrator By her accounts, every man she meets falls in love with her and several suitors attempt suicide when she rejects their advances I started laughing out loud every time some new guy comes in and 2 pages later, he declares his love and 2 pages after that he jumps out a window, and she s all eye rolling and moaning Woe is me The list of suitors includes Hitler, Goebbels propaganda minister , Josef von Sternberg famous director , Ernst Udet famous stunt pilot , Walter Prager famous skier , Peter Jacob Wehrmacht thug, all around asshole, and husband , Dr Fanck filmmaker , and several others whose names need not be mentioned Leni has an unfortunate knack for surrounding herself with bullies, thieves and madmen She is cheated, assaulted, betrayed and robbed throughout her life One would think she d develop a better bullshit detector after surviving WWII but she remains a victim to predators her entire adult life Leni sees the world in black and white People are either her enemies or best friends Her films and photographs are all triumphant successes or aborted failures Other artists either heap her with mountains of praise or denounce her for being a Nazi up to you to decide on that one The truth of the matter lies somewhere in the middle I don t trust Leni s self serving accounts are 100% accurate She has a troubling tendency to refer to the Sudanese natives as her Nuba, blindly objectifying these people into a cute fetish commodity she can exploit for financial gain She seems blind to her own faults but I believe that she believes she has good intentions Overall, a fascinating life but not a very captivating read The second half became repetitive and sluggish and the last 100 pages were a pure slog Read if you re interested in firsthand accounts of the Nazi era, but know that that s just a slim part of this tome

  9. says:

    A long but such a rewarding read Riefenstahl s memoir is vivid, detailed and oh so exciting to read and she finds every moment she can to tell her story and show her successes and failures Controversial indeed, but there is no denying that Riefenstahl is possibly the most innovative female film director and in every way, a true artist.

  10. says:

    I gave this book a five star rating because I appreciate the amount of work that goes into writing any length book Considering the scope of the aftermath of producing two films during the period of the Third Reich I would venture that writing about that time period and defending her actions takes an incredible amount of energy She explains her reasons in the last section of the book for going into such detail about conversations with Hitler and just exactly who commissioned the making of two f I gave this book a five star rating because I appreciate the amount of work that goes into writing any length book Considering the scope of the aftermath of producing two films during the period of the Third Reich I would venture that writing about that time period and defending her actions takes an incredible amount of energy She explains her reasons in the last section of the book for going into such detail about conversations with Hitler and just exactly who commissioned the making of two films Triumph of the Will and Olympia It struck me as curious that she goes to great lengths to tell us that she didn t really want to make Triumph of the Will and then is upset when prints are later destroyed or such poor quality that they are not viewable Obviously prints exist because there were copyright issues that came up consistently Her account of her life and the emotions it stirs up seems to be an honest one I recognize obsession in her devotion to projects and about halfway through the book I wondered why she kept making the same decisions over and over again even when her work and plans seemed destined to fall through time and again I was also struck by the differences in her receptions by African and European leaders from 1945 to the year of the book s publication I did get interested in reading Green Hills of Africa by Ernest Hemingway, the book she credits for inspiring her interest in that continent It was a good read in sections I couldn t sit down and read this in one sitting but I did take away a better understanding of her life and work I had only heard her name in passing when reading about the different people in the Third Reich You do need to know some history before picking up this book because she doesn t go to any lengths to explain it

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