Leni Riefenstahl is one of few accomplished female filmmakers in early cinema history. This is an unfortunate result of institutionalized sexism that marred nearly 90 years of the film industry’s short life.
Leni Riefenstahl’s unique talent was recognized by the unlikeliest of sources - Adolf Hitler. In contradistinction to Hollywood’s powerful patriarchy, she was given the reigns to produce films that satisfied her own vision, a vision that she and her defenders see as lyrical but most view as propaganda - the subject of today’s other post.
Triumph des Williens (1935), above, is one of her most well-known accomplishments. For more, Susan Sontag offers the most potent portrait of Leni Riefenstahl’s complex place in film history.