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Leni Riefenstahl

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Leni Riefenstahl

Historical Context
• Very popular in 1920’s was ‘mountain films’
• Hitler great movie fan and caught attention of Leni in such a film
• 1933 – Nazi began consolidating control through propaganda, which was very effective, using the media to present an attractive image of Hitler.
• Nazi’s exploited Leni’s talents as a film director – seen in such films as ‘Victory of Faith’, ‘Triumph of the Will’, ‘Day of Freedom’ and ‘Olpympia’

Background
• Riefenstahl had a comfortable middle class upbringing
• Father Alfred sought to control her life, totally opposed to his daughter’s plan to go on stage
• Leni conspired with her mother and took private dance lessons
• When her father found out, he threatened for divorce and arranged for Leni to go to boarding school
• At age 21 dance career begun – 6 months = 60 performances in Europe
• Concluded in Prague when tore knee ligament
• Demonstrated her resilience – posting off press cuttings to film director Arnold Fanek, as she set her mind on becoming a movie star
• Secured lead in film ‘ The Holy Mountain’ – premiering December 1926 – it was well received

Rise to Prominence
The Blue Light
• 1931 – ‘The Blue light’ was directed and starred in by Leni – meticulously planning the filming of each scene
• Premiered March 1932, Leni declared – ‘A courageous women, faithful to her work and to her obsession’
• It won a Silver medal a Venice Biennale
Relationship with Hitler
• Touring Germany promoting ‘The Blue light’ Riefenstahl first became aware of Hitler – ‘Wherever I went people were passionately discussing Hitler’
• Spring 1932 Leni attended a Nazi party rally in Berlin addressed by Hitler
• Hitler made quite an impression on her – ‘Hitler fascinated me so I immediately wrote him a letter. I wanted to meet him’
• Hitler was already aware of Leni from her films
• Meeting was…...

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