>From: Alison McKee <[log in to unmask]>
>One of the reasons I liked the documentary so well is that, through its own
>rhetorical strategies, it is able not only to make the same points about
>Riefenstahl that you have just done, but also to be self-conscious about
>its construction of a specific perspective toward Riefenstahl and her work --
>as Riefenstahl herself cannot (or refuses to) be with respect to herself
>and her career.
>What makes you feel that the filmmaker became Riefenstahl's victim?
I do not want to overflow this listserv with my opinions on Ms. Leni
Riefenstahl. That's why I'll try to give a short answer.
a) I have a lot of respect for a lot of people and their carreers. But I do
not have any respect for Ms. Riefenstahl who was on the top of glory, and
who afterwards never said one single word of regret. (Not an extraordinary
biography in post-war Germany: we had presidents and cancellors who were
deeply involved into Third Reich. Remember Mr. president Luebke, remember
Mr. cancellor Kiesinger?)
b) I know that my view on her films is mixed with political arguments in
regard of Ms. Riefenstahls political biography. I cannot separate her films
from the political impact they had at their times. I deeply disagree with
any position saying (like Ms. Riefenstahl) that an artist is an artist and
art does not have any connection with politics. I wouldn't say that art
necessarily is connected to politics; but I would say this for the Third Reich.
c) I have mixed feelings if someone offers nowadays, and in particular
nowadays in Germany, a platform for Ms. Riefenstahl where she can explain
her position. Look at the long scenes in the Berlin Olympic stadium where
you can feel her fascination for her work at the 36 games -- and no image,
no word does comment this.
d) I really do not want to critisize Ray Mueller who did the documentary.
But in regard of the critics towards Ms. Riefenstahl and the Nazi cinema,
there are much sharper, much clearer, much more decided articles, essays,
films written and made in the last twenty German years. I do not know the
English title of Mueller's film, it should be something like "The wonderful
horrible life of Leni Riefenstahl". Why please wonderful? (Leni Riefenstahl,
looking at a mass murder of jews, having herself a revolver in her hand, a
scene documented by a photo - who would call this "wonderful"?) The German
title of the movie was "Die Macht der Bilder: Leni Riefenstahl" -- and this
means something like "The power of the image". That's it: Ray Mueller tries
to describe the power of Ms. Riefenstahls images. That's why I said he
became, in some kind, and of course without any intention, her victim.
I would be sorry if my answer would have become too engaged and amotional.
But I cannot write about this subject and as a German without bitter
emotions (seing some new nazis coming up, who maintain once more the
"Auschwitz-lie"). And I do hope that you got an impression how a German
feels on Ray Muellers film.
Klaus Eder Munich
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