The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl

The Wonderful, Horrible Life Of Leni Riefenstahl

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The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl

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The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (Die Macht der Bilder: Leni Riefenstahl) is a 1993 German documentary film about the life of German film director Leni Riefenstahl, directed by Ray Müller.

Production background

Riefenstahl was best known for her documentary film Olympia (1938), on the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin and her Nazi propaganda films, Der Sieg des Glaubens (1933), Triumph of the Will (1934), and Tag der Freiheit (1935), which are regarded by historians as among the greatest propaganda films of all time.

The United States release of this film, in 1993, coincided with the publication of Riefenstahl's autobiography A Memoir (New York, 1993), as well as with her ninetieth birthday. The two releases are not unrelated. The Wonderful, Horrible life of Leni Riefenstahl was born from an idea of Riefenstahl herself, who, motivated by her old age and already working on her memoirs, decided to commission a documentary about her life.

Concerned about being associated with the 'Nazi director', eighteen filmmakers declined the project, before Müller agreed to portray Riefenstahl in what ended up being a three-hour long documentary (three times its contract length).

The length of the film is therefore the result of a decision by the director: Müller justifies it as an attempt to give a fair representation of Riefenstahl's life, which cannot be reduced to the 8 years she worked for the regime, but presents much more interesting stories and facts that are...
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