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  1. #51
    Helen B's Avatar
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    Ole,

    Do you think that she did not understand Hitler's beliefs?

    Have you seen TotW? She wasn't portraying the true believers, she was selling them very well. She was deifying Hitler.

    Best,
    Helen

  2. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by Helen B
    Michael,


    Well I certainly hope so. However, Triumph of the Will was made in 1934, after Hitler had made his beliefs quite clear in Mein Kampf. Riefenstahl can't have been ignorant of them.

    Best,
    Helen
    Sorry, this post came up when I was writing. True, but "Mein Kampf" was, first, not so widely read, second, if yes, mostly seen as something like fiction or the putting forward of an ideal, and, third, had even in the European abroad received quite favourable reviews. Antisemitism had been not yet outraged, but kept creepig into normal discourse!

  3. #53
    MattCarey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks
    My real objection is to the idea that she was a Nazi and therefore can't have been a great photographer. This is exactly the same as saying that Alexandr Rodchenko can't have been a great photographer because he was a communist or that Mapplethorpe can't have been a great photographer because he was gay.
    I wouldn't say that the talent is degraded by her actions--she is not any less of a photographer because she used it to support the Nazi cause. She is less of a human. Since she used her art to support the cause, this taints the art, in my view.

    Also, since I have nothing against gay people, I would say that your analogy is not accurate at best. At worst, it is insulting.

    Matt

  4. #54
    jovo's Avatar
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    A very involving thread!

    When the Israel Philharmonic had to decide, many years ago, whether or not they would include thr music of Wagner in their repertoire I was deeply interested in the reported process. It does not need to be elaborated that Wagner was a profoundly brilliant and expressive composer, AND/BUT, a rabid, and much published anti-Semite whose tracts, laden with the most egregiously specious "logic" (especially regarding Mendelsohn), were published and celebrated by those of a similar disposition. That Israeli orchestra chose to embrace the genius of what was musical while acknowledging what was repugnant. I can't begin to know their angst in making that decision, but I applaud their courage to confront an exceedingly difficult one. So, Israeli audiences buy tickets to hear concerts that feature repertoire composed by a man whose moral and ethical compass wallowed in swampscum, but who feel that the musical 'worth' of his genius trancends even that loathesome abyss. I choose to side with those who can distinguish Reifenstahl's 'art' from her execrable moral choices.
    John Voss

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  5. #55
    blansky's Avatar
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    Didn't Leonard Bernstein, the composer/conductor (West Side Story etc)
    have the same sort of scrutiny after the war as well.


    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  6. #56
    Curt's Avatar
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    I wonder if she got a shot of Hitler walking out of the stadium when Jesse Owens won the gold?

    Of course she knew it all. The tragedy is that she is credited with anything. I see no difference in her pictures than I do in the lamp shade pictures made on human skin that the Nazi had made from the dead in the death camps. If we can't say that they are all sick bastards then we are doomed. There is no middle ground here. Leni Riefenstahl is as much of a monster as the circle of people around Hitler, including architects, painters, and those who searched the world and stole real art and culture to pervert it to the Nazi goal of supremacy and their 1000 year Reich.

  7. #57
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blansky
    Didn't Leonard Bernstein, the composer/conductor (West Side Story etc)
    have the same sort of scrutiny after the war as well.


    Michael
    I've never heard of anything like that. There were, however, some truly marvelous musicians (not that Bernstein wasn't) who were wrongfully vilified after the war, such as Wilhelm Furtwangler and Kirsten Flagstad. Herbert von Karajan, who was a card carrying Nazi, and who routinely opened his concerts with the Horst Wessel Song, became Director for Life of the Berlin Philharmonic and retired fabulously wealthy.

  8. #58
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helen B
    I’m not suggesting that someone’s talent should be ignored because of the way they used it. On the contrary, I think that it is important to recognise and never forget that talent may be associated with repugnant ideals, and that repugnant ideals may be promoted by people with talent. I just find it impossible to dissociate talent from the way that it is used or to ignore context. (...)
    Helen, hindsight is 20/20. If you don't want to ignore context, you have to be fair and look at the one around the time at which Riefenstahl did her work, not the one that happened later.

    There were a lot of people in Germany for whom Hitler was a way to regain the dignity they lost at the Versailles treaty closing the World War, and Riefenstahl was one of them. They were also precipitated in the massive economic crisis of 1929 on top of that. The massacres had not happened. The lampshades weren't a reality. Leaders like Chamberlain, Churchill, and all the other European politicians were still concerned about the "Jewish problem."

    For my part, Riefenstahl is not innocent, and she willingly fostered a militaristic regime through her craft. But she never asked for the Zyklon B, nor did she washed herself in human soap with glee. Guilt is a yes/no, but the sentence deserves gradations. Fairness is knowing how far to go. A lot of people in Europe share guilt in the Holocaust, and I'm not just speaking of the Nazis. So let's not make her a poster-girl unwittingly and ignore the rest of the world.
    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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  9. #59
    Krasnaya Zvezda's Avatar
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    Werner von Braun's (giant of American space program) brilliance as a rocket scientist did not seem to be tarnished by the fact that he built V-2s for Hitler.

    Riefenstahl was, in my mind and many others, a genius in visual arts, and invented many of the cinematographic techniques in use today. Almost all documentaries owe something to "Triumph of the Will" and "Olympia".

  10. #60
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    Well - at least Roger admitted that it's not a very good sports portrait!

    And many of you have revealed yourselves.



 

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