PDA

View Full Version : Leni Riefenstahl ; Jesse Owens Portrait.



Pages : 1 2 3 4 [5] 6

haris
09-09-2006, 10:52 AM
Don't forget:

Germany had high inflation, and great powerty in 1930es. One egg cost 3.000.000.000 German Marks (then currency). Then came National Socialistic party, and changed all. Thay stopped poverty, made jobs for people, raised again German national pride, etc... It is normal for German artist, or any other citizen, to trust government who made better life. And not to ask question what is price of that better life. We know what was the price, but I don't think many Germans asked that question in those times...

I don't defend her, but we must know in what situation Germany and German people were then to understand why Leni did what she did.

I mean: How many Spanish and Portugese thought what happens with native Americans when they followed Columbo to America, how many British thought what was going on with Aborigins during British colonisation of Australia, how many good Christians thought what was going on with non Christians when misionars go to America, Asia, Africa, etc...

Why should Leni question what her government do if that government get her and her nation up from powerty an misery. And when such government offered her job, she had no reason to reject it...

Human nature, you know...

Helen B
09-09-2006, 10:59 AM
Human nature? Dissent is as old as government. Not everyone buys the story, not everyone goes with the herd.

haris
09-09-2006, 11:55 AM
Wouldn't be great if we could ignore human achievements because of criminal or inmoral nature of their creators. What would world look like, then. Better?

haris
09-09-2006, 12:01 PM
Human nature? Dissent is as old as government. Not everyone buys the story, not everyone goes with the herd.

And because those are so rare we make books, movies, ballads of them. Those heroes stays remembered in history because of theire glorious death, rest goes as the wind blows...

Claire Senft
09-09-2006, 12:01 PM
Dissent is much easier when it will not get you killed.

haris
09-09-2006, 12:08 PM
Why Leni didn't escape from Germany? I don't know.

Why all beaten women don't escape from home where they are beaten. Because of children, because they don't have nowhere to go, etc... Some of them stay and contine to make meals and wash laundry for husbands who beats them. Are those women to blame?

phfitz
09-09-2006, 12:15 PM
"- didn't Hitler hate the Olympics in the end because he wanted them to show that the Aryan Race was superior in all ways, which they obviously weren't and he hated Jesse Owens because he was such a superior athlete. If I remember correctly, he hated this photograph (correct me if I'm wrong). You could say the message of the photograph runs counter to Nazi ideals. Hilter was an out-an-out racist, not the sort who thought that black people were O.K. as athletes....And this photograph stands as a powerful celebration of Jesse Owens..."

Wasn't this photo taken right after Jesse Owens refused to lower the U.S. flag to Adolf Hitler, when every other country had done so? To glorify the man who had publicly insulted Hilter in front of the world would not have earned her any brownie points.

Is this the greatest sports photo? No, that would be:Ali - Liston (http://cgi.ebay.com/MUHAMMAD-ALI-by-Neil-Leifer-Greatest-Sports-Photo-Ever_W0QQitemZ120026466373QQihZ002QQcategoryZ66465 QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem)

Helen B , I think Leni Riefenstahl's motives were considerably more personal and complex than goose-stepping to the party line.

Just a opinion.

Helen B
09-09-2006, 12:51 PM
"Helen B , I think Leni Riefenstahl's motives were considerably more personal and complex than goose-stepping to the party line."

I agree. Where have I suggested that she was simply goose-stepping to the party line?

Best,
Helen

phfitz
09-09-2006, 08:58 PM
Hellen B,

Sorry, maybe I just read it that way.

Have a nice weekend people.

copake_ham
09-09-2006, 09:39 PM
FWIW:

I grew up on post-WWII America in NYC. I went to Catholic schools in an era when that Church was searching its soul (remember Pope John XXIII?) as it contemplated how The Holocaust could have occurred. How could such a civilized people as the Germans have descended into such barbarism? How complicit had been the Church and how should it deal with its consequent responsibility?

That period of reflection so informed my education that I can never "divorce" an artist like Leni R. from how she used her talent.

Subsequent genocidal atrocities like Cambodia in the 1970's, Rwanda in the 1990's or Darfur today are irrelevant to me in creating some sort of moral relativism about what occurred in The Holocaust. Later evil does not excuse, nor explain away, what occurred in Germany in that period if only because, in my admittedly Western conceit, I would have expected much better from the Germans than any of those others!

That the people of Goethe, Beethoven and Kant (for example) could have descended into such barbarism is - on reflection - a frightening indictment of humanity.

In conclusion to my input to this thread, that some talented Germans such as Leni R. were willing to allow their gifts to be used to glorify a descent into such barbarism is, to me, totally inexcusable. Many talented Germans left that country in the 1930's rather than submit their gifts to advance the evil cause of Hitler and the Nazis. Leni R. chose to stay and benefit from doing so.

I have no respect for her and no reason to regard her work in any kind of positive light. There are limits - she crossed them.

Michel Hardy-Vallée
09-09-2006, 10:13 PM
Can I just remind once more the fine people here that LR didn't shovel bodies in the ovens, and that by the time she did her movies those things weren't in operation?

There is a lot that can happen within the span of a few years, and many people's telephoto hindsight on history has the uncanny ability to compress the perspective of time into a single moment.

catem
09-10-2006, 04:41 AM
Can I just remind once more the fine people here that LR didn't shovel bodies in the ovens, and that by the time she did her movies those things weren't in operation?

It's also quite likely she didn't know about it until after the event. The Final Solution wasn't in place until towards the end of the War, and the idea of it was a closely guarded secret until then, kept even from some of those closest to Hitler. The truth is, we'll never know enirely what were her deepest thoughts, and what she knew. That probably went for many caught up in that mayhem, without being it's driving force.

Cate

c6h6o3
09-10-2006, 07:03 AM
That the people of Goethe, Beethoven and Kant (for example) could have descended into such barbarism is - on reflection - a frightening indictment of humanity.

In conclusion to my input to this thread, that some talented Germans such as Leni R. were willing to allow their gifts to be used to glorify a descent into such barbarism is, to me, totally inexcusable. Many talented Germans left that country in the 1930's rather than submit their gifts to advance the evil cause of Hitler and the Nazis. Leni R. chose to stay and benefit from doing so.

I have no respect for her and no reason to regard her work in any kind of positive light. There are limits - she crossed them.

How do you feel about von Karajan or Richard Strauss?

Helen B
09-10-2006, 08:07 AM
Can I just remind once more the fine people here that LR didn't shovel bodies in the ovens, and that by the time she did her movies those things weren't in operation?

There is a lot that can happen within the span of a few years, and many people's telephoto hindsight on history has the uncanny ability to compress the perspective of time into a single moment.

Well, I'm basing my opinion on the material that she did produce, and the message within it, in the context of my understanding of the early thirties.

My original opinion of Riefenstahl was that she was very talented and that her involvement with Hitler could be separated from that talent. I was comfortable with that opinion. As I studied her work more deeply, within the context of Germany between the wars, I began to change my opinion. It is not an opinion that I have formed lightly. But it is just an opinion.

Best,
Helen

Michel Hardy-Vallée
09-10-2006, 08:20 AM
Cate: thanks for the sensible response. I also think there's an irreducible uncertainty with LR from our point of view.

Helen B
09-10-2006, 09:18 AM
I also think there's an irreducible uncertainty with LR from our point of view.

Michel,

How many issues do not have 'irreducible uncertainty'?

Just out of interest, have you seen Triumph of the Will?

Thanks,
Helen

Roger Hicks
09-10-2006, 10:07 AM
It is not an opinion that I have formed lightly. But it is just an opinion.

Dear Helen,

Over the last 40 years or so (since I first saw the Olympic movie, then Triumph of the Will) I have moved more or less in the opposite direction, from an initial opinion that she was a Nazi propagandist to my current view that she was a good deal less political, and a good deal more visual and politically naive, than one might have expected.

As you say, it's an opinion. And there's probably a certain amount of chance built into what each of us has read. I can only find two biographies on my bookshelves, but applying my usual skepticall eye and thinking back to what else I have read about or by her, I do not find a moderately sympathetic view to be too unrealistic. I do not defend all she did; but nor can I condemn it all.

Cheers,

Roger

Charles Webb
09-10-2006, 10:30 AM
To answer Helen's question, Indeed I have seen "Triumph of the Will".

I stand by my comments made in my original post to this thread.

Charlie................................

Does anyone think at all about "Hitler" when using German made cameras?
Does anyone think at all about Pearl Harbor when using cameras made in Japan?

c6h6o3
09-10-2006, 10:54 AM
To answer Helen's question, Indeed I have seen "Triumph of the Will".

I stand by my comments made in my original post to this thread.

Charlie................................

Does anyone think at all about "Hitler" when using German made cameras?
Does anyone think at all about Pearl Harbor when using cameras made in Japan?

Hitler was a teetotaling, non-smoking vegetarian. Does that mean that we should all eschew a healthy lifestyle?

catem
09-10-2006, 10:56 AM
I've only seen snatches of her film, and only as a child. I'd like to see it again, and see all of it, so I can make an informed opinion.

I remember being struck by it - any fascistic overtones would have passed me by - and I know that the beauty of it, the way she used viewpoint and light, was probably one of the first influences on me with regard to photography, and a love of film.

I feel it's important to remember also that those elements within the film - celebration of the power of the body, celebration of the athlete, weren't in themselves fascistic, - (neither was the importance of the agricultural worker) - those concepts were shared by past thinkers, and also extreme left-wing movements, and also the left-wing back-to-the-land movements in Europe between the wars. It's only as time went on they became irretrievably bound up with Hitler's brand of Fascism.

I know Hitler's attitude to the Berlin Olympics, I've already said what I feel about that and the Jesse Owens photo.

I think also the movement things were going in the thirties in Germany were not as clear as we sometimes think, and were very muddled with social and economic concerns, and embittered feelings about the post-war (First World War) treatment of Germany.

I certainly don't want to make excuses for her - but I can't help remembering the power of her work, and also the complexity of history where it doesn't seem to me to make sense always to be too categorical.

Cate