I've been fascinated by Riefenstahl both as a person and a filmmaker for
more than 20 years. I'm sure that she had the final word on the documentary
THE WONDERFUL HORRIBLE LIFE OF LENI RIEFENSTAHL, so that whatever images
that show her in a "negative" light (her attempts to control the filmmaker,
e.g.) were rather subtle.
Anyone who's done even a little bit of research into her knows that you
can't trust a word she says. She may consider herself an artist, and
therefore has what she sees as the right to organize and explain her life
accordingly; to other people this is just compulsive deception and lying.
The issue of FILM QUARTERLY that is used on PBS's film series (the one
with all the magazine covers flying in space) contains a simple article
that shows she constantly lied about the financial status of OLYMPIA.
That I feel is the negative aspect of THE WONDERFUL HORRIBLE LIFE... that
the filmmakers didn't do enough work and reveal enough information about
their subject. Perhaps they'll remake it at a more opportune time.
Student, PhD Program in Music Librarian
Graduate Center Music Division
City University of New York The New York Public Library
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