” Riefenstahl’s style was created by a German to ennoble Germans, yet it is so seductive that it transcends geography and history ( and the historical taint of Nazism ). It plugs into some primal human need to transcend the flesh- indeed, to transcend all reality’s constraints, including age, nationality and ideology”.
Leni Riefenstahl was the propaganda film maker of the Third Reich and developed the manipulative component of documentary film making into an art form. A combination of multi-dimensional imagery, editing and and camera technique and monolithic message has provided an enduring imagery that has been absorbed and integrated into the language of moving pictures. Providing a powerful symbolism and mythological content to modern political management of political campaigns similar to the that exercise Riefenstahl created for Hitler in Triumph of The Will.
Riefenstahl was not a racist, though she was an opportunistic sellout. She was a passionate worshipper, fanatical, of the human form essentially based on the Greek attitude that the external beauty of the body reflects moral virtue and that ugliness is in some sense a moral hazard. This principal permitted grudging acceptance of euthanasia of the mentally ill and institutionalized fear and social conformity among the citizenry.
The ancient Greeks did not believe that the body was something separate that one could study. They did not believe the body and soul were distinct entities. Also, they did not accept the fundamental division between nature and super nature. Deities such as Zeus and Aphrodite slept with mortals; and it was Riefenstahl’s genius to pull life apart and reconstruct it in altered form based on the Greek conception that fused a dynamic aesthetic between worship of the human form, the simplicity of romanticism and the nationalistic drums of militarism based on Germanic folklore. The Fuhrer was constructed as a deity with an existence predicated on immortality ( the thousand year Reich). An ageless destiny of permanence, a transcendental reality that could be constantly adjusted .