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>Ron Leming <[log in to unmask]> writes:

>I don't want to sound like I'm supporting Leni Riefenstahl entirely. I'm
>not sure the truth will ever be known.  As for there being a choice, I'm
>not so sure about that. You [[log in to unmask]] mention Lang, Wilder
>and the Siodmaks, but
>there's a very basic difference you're overlooking there. The examples
>you mention are all men. Even today, women aren't represented all that
>well in film making, though it's getting there. There may have been
>other women film makers in the 40s, but I can't think of any.

        Women filmmakers who chose not to support Nazism -- Leontine
Sagan, for example.  And let's not forget (though not a director)
Marlene Dietrich.

>It's quite easy to look back at history
>now and say this was a horrible thing. But we forget that, at the time,
>many of the German people thought what was happening was a good thing
>for Germany, and many didn't know about the activities of the SS and the
>camps.

        Claiming ignorance, or that one was simply following orders,
has been the most indefensible political position of the 20th
century.  See Claude Lanzmann's work, to name just one.

>I find it reprehensible to blame anyone and everyone who didn't actively
>contest and fight for what happened and hold them responsible for the
>acts of others.

        Of themselves.  We are talking about Leni's work as a
filmmaker supporting the Nazi regime.  What I find reprehensible is
this condoning.  When is it gonna stop?

>She has always maintained that she didn't know what was
>happening until it was too late. Until someone can prove, beyond a doudt
>that she did know, I choose to believe her statement.

        I would like to quote Debra Winger's character Joy Gresham in
*Shadowlands* here, when she responds to a statement made by one of
C.S. Lewis's colleagues with a question -- but I am afraid I would be
censored by Screen-L's new moderator.  As for the proof of knowledge
you are seeking, it will never come from Leni -- she will continue to
lie for the next 100 years.
        I would also like to comment further with a personal story.
My father, born in 1927, grew up in Italy under Fascism.  He did not
have access to anything else -- he, also, was surrounded by the
belief that "what was happening was a good thing for [Italy]."
However, at the age of 16, with the events of 8 September 1943
(Italy's surrender to the Allied forces) and afterwards (the German
occupation of Northern Italy, the republic of SalÚ), he made a
choice.  And he has been an anti-fascist ever since.
        Giuliano Montaldo's film *Tiro al Piccione /Pigeon Shoot*
(1961), chronicles this major turning point in the life of that
generation.

        Gloria Monti


______________________________

Gloria Monti, Ph.D.
Research Associate
University of California, Santa Cruz
Film and Digital Media Department
e-mail: [log in to unmask]

"Given the realities of widescale migration, the end of conventional
colonialism, and the emergence of the new non-European worlds from
subjection and marginality, we need to jettison Eurocentrism
definitively."

Edward W. Said

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