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> 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.
>
> Bob Kosovsky
 
Perhaps Riefenstahl *did* have final approval regarding the documentary's
portrayal of her (rather than continuing to speculate about this point, does
anyone know for sure?), but even if she did, that matters very little to
me.  It would merely indicate that she failed to recognize the subtlety and
sophistication of the film and its slow, steady, cumulative construction of
a very strong indictment of the choices she made.  As a matter of fact, it
would be completely consistent with Riefenstahl's failure, illustrated by
the documentary itself, to recognize the inevitable imbrication of aesthetics
and politics -- in general and in her work specifically.  That
the film did not club its viewers over the head with its
indictment and that it did not reduce the complexity of Leni Riefenstahl, her
work, or the historical debate around both, are, I think, a measure of its
achievement.
 
Alison McKee
Department of Film and Television
UCLA
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