Essay About Leni Riefenstahl: A Charismatic Yet Controversial Figure

8 pages
2031 words
Wesleyan University
Type of paper: 
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Evidence exists in the various literatures that supports how Riefenstahl, was a charismatic yet controversial figure in the film life. The reputation of Riefenstahl was built by Hitler (Haggith & Newman, 2005). The idea was supported when "Triumph of the Will" and "Olympia" with tinted circumstance was produced in 1935 and 1934 respectively by Riefenstahl (Rother, 2003). Moreover, it becomes more convincingly on her charismatic nature when treasury of Third Reich's funded an expensive documentary about Berlin Olympics party two before world war two (Harding, 2003). The two ideas of Rother's and Harding's work are intertwined when contemporary events were analyzed with an artistic eye on both silent and sound movies instead of the conspiracy about perpetuating political programs by Riefenstahl (Carl, 2007). However, aesthetic principles and commitment blindly turn her into tragic figure despite her long-life journey in the film (Tegel, 2006). Although Len Riefenstahl was a charismatic leader that many people considered as a role model, she was also a controversial person who was in the limelight for divisive activities.

Riefenstahl's early life. Born in 1902, Leni Riefenstahl was brought up in Germany. She had a younger brother who died on the Eastern Front in World War II. As a child, she was a talented swimmer and an artist. She joined acting in 1924 after seeing the promotional poster Der Berg des Schicksals meaning The Mountain of Destiny. She starred in five successful motion pictures between 1925 and 1929. She was one of the most controversial figures in the world of film. It was as a result of her friendship with Adolf Hitler. Their weird friendship and his support catapulted her career, and she became the movie queen of Nazi Germany. A fascinating part of her journey was that she made the career change while on a train to see a doctor after she had injured her leg while dancing. Her knee required surgery. She saw a movie poster, and she has described that moment as the turning point of her life. It was a poster of the movie titled Der Berg des Schichsals Ein by Dr. Arnold Fanck. It depicted a man climbing a mountain, and what fascinated her was that it seemed as if he headed to the mountaintop (Aberth, 2003). Due to the fascination with the poster, she missed her train, and also her doctor's appointment, however, this was a blessing in disguise because, at that point and time, she became aware of what she wanted to do for the rest of her life from a career point of view.

Kick started with acting and dancing career. Determined and decisive she set out to meet Frank and enticed him to offer her the role of the dancer in Der Heilige Berg (The Holy Mountain 1926). The image of the film had intrigued her because of its aspect of realness in the people involved, and also the scenario of danger. It was so fascinating and appealing to her that, accompanied by her brother, she visited the location where this image was captured. She frequented the place on many occasions, and she even managed to meet one of the leading actors in one of Fanck's film Luis Tremker as she explored the mountain (Aberth, 2003). One of Riefenstahl's close associates Gunther Rahn was able to arrange for her to meet with Dr. Fanck and during their meet-up, she intrigued him due to her genuine passion for the mountain genre to the point that he asked for her portfolio and placed under consideration for a role in an upcoming movie. However, she developed knee pains to the point that she had to undergo surgery to ease the pain. During that period, Fanck visited, while she was admitted, and provided her with a script. This was an inspiration to Riefenstahl, and she decided that she would venture to the field of motion pictures, even though she had little knowledge of what it entailed. Over the next seven years, she was involved in various films under the directorship of Fanck such as Mont Blanc 1930, and S.O.S Iceberg, 1933.

Upset of life and challenges. While her profession in the film industry was blossoming with newly found paths, her personal life hit the rocks as she found out that her fiance Otto Froizheim was having an affair. As pre-production for her first film was taking place, she found herself the attention of both Fanck and Trenkeron set. This produced an odd scenario of tension for the production of the film. In the same scene, Leni got to follow the complete process of narrative films by watching and taking part in film production. She said Fanck taught her to edit a film a role that enthralled her. Later the film would premiere and go onto more significant box office returns as a result making her a marketable actress in her right. Due to the success of her first film, she had the opportunity to become more involved in her subsequent roles.

Acting, editing and production film interest. S was going to feature in films that were shot in the mountain region, Fanck felt that it was necessary for how to receive training on the different aspects of mountain climbing. In the next film that she was featured titled Die Weisse Holle vom Piz Palu, Riefenstahl worked under Dr. Fanck in nature and action parts, and under G.W. Pabst in the emotional scenes of the movie (Aberth, 2003). However, the weather conditions and physical strains while shooting the movie were tasking for some of the actors, in particular, Riefenstahl. A typical day was characterized by the acting and film crew having to hike the steep mountain looking for a favorable location to film. The conditions were harsh as some of the selected locations had sub-zero weather. The actors also risked their lives to achieve the perfect shot that Fanck had envisioned. As the shooting progressed, Leni began to become more interested in the aspect of directing, editing, and producing a film, rather than acting it. Pabst was first to realize her talent for direction.

Editing film process studies in France. When the shooting stopped, she came back to Berlin to await her next assignment. Her next project was unexpected. Harry Sokal, the producer of Fanck's films who had a provided her with the chance of editing (Aberth, 2003). His offer proposal to Leni was 300 marks an all-expense paid trip to Paris, France. As a bargaining tool for more money, she refused at first but later on agreed just for the opportunity to travel to Paris, France. After completing the editing process on the film, she discovered her talent in the craft. She studied Fanck s' process of editing film and the tricks of the trade and found it both easy and enjoyable to put a film together, which later proved to be her biggest role in her film direction. The film debuted in November 1929 enjoying great success to the relief of Fanck had faced a lot of criticism in the past in regards to the choice of films he had chosen to work on. Later Fanck decided to work on a film titled Sturme uber dem Mont Blanc, a challenging film to produce at the time because it involved the actors talking in the film. The reason why this was considered a challenge was a sound film was considered an inadequate genre in film production, and he, later on, shot it as a silent film for convenience purposes (Applegate, 2017). Shooting this film was particularly frustrating to Riefenstahl mainly because she felt that she was more suited in an emotional scene than an action scene as was the case in this movie. It made her begin to reconsider her role as an actress and feel she was more suited to a directing and producing role.

Riefenstahl's producing and starring adventure movie. She gave acting another chance by working with another director in a different film, Schicksal derer von Habsburg (The Fate of the Hapsburgs, 1929), and she felt it was an unfulfilling venture. In Fanck's films, Riefenstahl was the only woman in a crew of determined filmmakers who wanted to capture the beauty of the untouched mountains despite the danger that lurked while trying to achieve those shots. She, therefore, trained and learned new skills such as climbing, and skiing on the rough terrain, in addition to her directing and editing skills (Applegate, 2017). While on a break from her acting career, she began coming up with ideas for a movie. One particular idea was that of a girl who lived in the mountain region and spent her days climbing it. However, in the final scene, she falls to her death. Just like that she wrote a 17-page script and passed it around the creative minds she knew. They each gave her a vote of support but offered little in the hope for the project to take off the ground. What she could not get across was the image she had envisioned, which was in contrast with Fanck's work regarding movie ideas and themes.

Change of film production by Riefenstahl. The mountain genre films mainly had an action film. In her new movie, she took a different approach as it had a romantic theme. She was also the lead character in this movie while directing it. The title of the film is Das Blaue Licht or The Blue Light, and it premiered in1932. Liem chose, Tessin and the Dolomites as the ideal locations to shoot the film because of their nature and remoteness aspect. The actors who were involved in this project showed a great sense of dedication (Applegate, 2017). Most of the actors who were selected in this project had previously worked with Riefenstahl in various capacities. Her success in the production of this film is also credited to a renowned film theoretician Bela Balazs, who assisted her in completing her script. His role was to help her craft the perfect script for her treatment. More experienced people like Frank told her the blunt truth that fairytale movies like the one she was planning required a huge budget. She knew they were right in this regard but still pushed through. She gathered up the best crew she could but was still short of the money required to produce. She settled for working for Fanck on his film. The White Ecstasy to support her film.

Movie cast in the natural setting. Balazs played a crucial role in the production of the film, as she helped Riefenstahl to finish writing the script of the movie. During this period, she received assistance from Balazs to complete her script, and it happened at the right time because, just after finishing his script, she received financial assistance to complete her film. Although she needed a director to direct the film, she could not afford one, and she ended up directing her film. The crew she had assembled was mostly people who worked for Fanck's film on a minimum pay. For her movie, she wanted it to be done in a natural setting, a feat that had not been conducted successfully in the past. She found an ideal location in North Italy. However, to be successful, she needed to use more light and film for a longer period. She had envisioned a natural setting which before had not been successfully done. To achieve this goal she needed to use light and film more. This led her to contact AGFA with a request for a special film stock that would meet her needs in this film (Applegate, 2017). Although this was an unconventional and relatively expensive request, AGFA agreed to fulfill it. She sold everything she had to finance the production of the film. She sent the film shots to Berlin and soon received an offer from Harry Sokal to produce the film as he was impressed by what he had seen in the rushes

Blue light developed film. The Blue light is based on Yunta who was a young, beautiful and innocent girl who lived in the mountains. Although there were villages around the mountain, the occupants had not explored the mountain. These changes when they begin with a mysterious blue light from the mountain, which was coming from crystals in the mountain, and coincidentally sustained the life of...

Have the same topic and dont`t know what to write?
We can write a custom paper on any topic you need.

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the website, please click below to request its removal: