212 Great Directors: Leni Riefenstahl

“I filmed the truth as it was then. Nothing more.”

What Got This Director Here?
: Her propaganda.

My Favorite Past Experience Was…: The Blue Light. (Yes, I’ve seen Olympia/Triumph. Both live up to their visual aesthetic claims but they’re long as hell.)

What Did I Watch: Underwater Impressions.

Where Does She Fit: Underwater Impressions is actually low-key terrifying. Leni Riefenstahl, at age 100 and looking way too good for her age, comes on screen and talks about how she wants to preserve wildlife because of the damage that is being undergone to the coral reefs…even though she was, y’know, sort of responsible for Hitler’s strangehold. And then we get a genuinely gorgeous parade of wildlife from under the sea. If someone who genuinely loves animals this much can turn out to be inadvertently evil, and she really does look good for 100 years and thus sort of validates the Aryan theories…well. Spooky.


Most Valuable Asset: Documentaries can be poetic too.
Most Excited For: Seen all the major stuff. Done with her.
Did They Deserve a Spot?: Eh. No, but she’s not untalented, this and Blue Light are both enjoyable/interesting and her Nazi stuff is the latter.

Coming Up Next: Mel Brooks, the archetypical Jewish comedian.


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