Iím not suggesting that someoneís 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. To me, it is no coincidence of time and place that Riefenstahl produced perfect Nazi propaganda. Her pictures show an idealised, pure surface that does not invite you to look beneath. I asked those of you who think that we should ignore her involvement with the Nazis whether or not you had seen Triumph of the Will, and Iím still interested in the answer. She sold Hitler very well Ė I suspect that few would argue with that. Did she do it because she had no principles other than to advance her career, or did she do it because she believed in it?
While researching a movie I heard many Nazi songs that I would not have heard otherwise. They were powerfully evocative, stirring masterpieces that obscured the underlying toxicity with the fog of personal valour and heroism. Forget the murder of eight million people and look at how well the talented creatives sold the stench? No. Letís remember them both together.