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  1. #91
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    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.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  2. #92

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhv
    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

  3. #93
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by copake_ham
    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?

  4. #94
    Helen B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhv
    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

  5. #95
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Cate: thanks for the sensible response. I also think there's an irreducible uncertainty with LR from our point of view.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  6. #96
    Helen B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhv
    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

  7. #97

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helen B
    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

  8. #98
    Charles Webb's Avatar
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    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?

  9. #99
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Webb
    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?

  10. #100

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    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

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