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  #21  
Old 03-06-2012, 01:20
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Molihua Molihua is offline
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At least warn me before you showed me this!!

In 1935, the film Triumph of the Will, directed by Leni Riefenstahl, was first pioneered into German society. In what was supposed to be simply a work of art, it has faced countless history critics and has become the subject of widespread debate for generations. To some people, it is simply a movie that was designed for oneís viewing pleasure. But to many, such a movie has done more harm than good. Earlier, noquarter posted about this issue and how Leni was unaware of the outcome of the Nazi party:

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ďIt's not as though she knew that the Nazi party, once in power, would attempt world domination and murder peopleĒ
While I do agree that she may not have known much about the Nazi party at the time, I have to respectfully disagree with you on this statement. Politics is a sensitive topic that can lead to huge controversy regardless of where it is brought up. Leni was aware of this and she should have at least said something about it to warn people before she even began showing the movie. This is one of the responsibilities that I believe artists should have when they produce a work of art that may be perceived by others differently. Had she warned people beforehand, the controversy surrounding her movie might not be as strong as it is now.

Going back to the movie itself, even though it was originally intended to be a movie for fun, it can be dangerous in many ways. It depicted Hitlerís youth having fun in their camps and Hitler is depicted as this proud and happy man. You have got to realize too that this film took place during the Great Depression and many people struggling to afford even the most basic of necessities. Suddenly, there is that film that shows people having fun and having more than enough food under the rule of Hitler. Once people saw this movie, they would be immediately attracted to the Nazi party, giving Hitler more and more supporters. She left out two significant things and that is the mention of Jews and anything that is negative about the Nazi party. In a way, I feel like it was deliberate in order to give support to the Nazis. While the Holocaust and other disasters that Hitler brought to this world could all be blamed on this one movie, I believe that is was one of the many factors that contributed to the Nazi party gaining support and gave Hitler the power he had back then to do whatever he wants.
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  #22  
Old 03-06-2012, 07:55
mintchocolate mintchocolate is offline
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It's no surprise that Riefenstahlís documentary provoked such controversy. After viewing the clips in class I can safely say that the film does reflect some relation towards propaganda. The editing, camera angles, placement, tone, and overall structure of the film was well made and heavily persuasive. In the beginning of the film we held a discussion on whether or not we believed that the film was indeed a form of propaganda. Many people agreed that there were hints of persuasive content but nothing blatantly direct or concrete enough to classify it under propaganda. Personally, I think many of us are accustomed to seeing posters or videos that convey a somewhat obvious message or sense of persuasion. Just because a form of media has a more subliminal approach to getting their message across, doesn't mean that its any less powerful in persuasion in its form of propaganda. In fact I believe that it's subtlety makes this movie even more dangerous because people are completely unaware of the real manipulation behind the film.

I believe that Riefenstahl must be held somewhat liable to a degree. She wasn't a strong advocate for the Nazi party and I don't think that she had originally made the film with the intentions of it being such a supportive work of propaganda, but I cannot believe that she was completely unaware of the possible effects of her film, much like what molihua states "Leni was aware of this and she should have at least said something about it to warn people before she even began showing the movie. This is one of the responsibilities that I believe artists should have when they produce a work of art that may be perceived by others differently." The events that followed are undeniable and her interview. However I'm sure she never expected her film to cause as much controversy as it did and that is why she appeared so defensive in the video clip.
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  #23  
Old 03-06-2012, 20:55
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KingOfRedLions KingOfRedLions is offline
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Triumph of the Fail

The film in and of itself is a little ridiculous, considering that the alterations Leni did to the actual footage is borderline manipulative, but I believe that there's an overlying message here that should have been noticeable within 30 minutes of watching the movie; how incredibly glamorized the Nazi Party was.

In the beginning, where the camera follows Hitler's plane flying over the Nuremberg city and countryside, everything seems normal so far. Once Hitler steps off to cheers and deafening fanfare, that's when things start to get suspicious. As he parades through the streets on his vehicle, the sight of everyone giving salute to Hitler is a little awe-inspiring. The demonstration of the Nazi labor workers is actually incredibly creepy, and looks fully rehearsed, like a sort of "we like hitler, yes we do" celebration rally. The more you try to examine everything, the more it looks like everyone was caught up in the hype of Hitler.
Then you start to notice that whenever Hitler starts to speak, the entire crowd immediately silences. That smells of sabotage. Up until the worker demonstration and the speech, it looked like a celebrity was rolling through town. Now it looks like Hitler has some sort of godlike influence over the entire german people; rather, that's what you're lead to believe.

Leni Reifenstahl did a good job with this movie, but continuing to call it a documentary is doing ill will towards the entire genre of documentaries on actual events that are based in realism; this movie is clearly not. However, I don't think she should be condemned for such a thing; if she had said no to Hitler asking her to make a movie, he would've probably killed her, then asked someone else who was just as good at making movies, and the same thing would've happened. Her standing up would have not changed the actual outcome not one tiny bit; a Hitler propaganda film would've still been made, and had she tried to sabotage it she still would've been killed, and the film would have never been seen. So it was either die in vain, or continue to live while having this terrible mark on your filmography. Dying in vain is still dying in vain.
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  #24  
Old 03-08-2012, 01:41
Bronain78 Bronain78 is offline
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It's just good film making!

I don't think that this is a dangerous film because first and foremost, no one in my class is a Nazi now. Granted we have the gift of hindsight but isn't hindsight just a type of wisdom? I don't think films are dangerous as long as people are informed enough to not be swayed by propaganda. I do think that films can be dangerous because of the general lack o wisdom among people.*

I personally really liked Leni Riefenstahl's film! I think it was incredibly well made and the fact that the debate of its true intention is still going on is a testament to how powerful it can be. Is it just an extremely well done film, good enough to be considered propaganda? Or is it propaganda so subtle that it passes for mere good filmmaking? I think it was propaganda for sure because of how staged certain aspects were, and how painstakingly planned everything seemed. It's too perfect to be a raw documentary.*

Regarding the responsibility of an artist, I think more than anything their intent has to be considered. There's a provocative Croatian artist Sanja Ivekovic whose feminist critiques of society in her art mocks and challenges the patriarchy in a way that forces people to reflect on their world. She accepts responsibility for her art because that is her intention. In the case of Riefenstahl, she was just trying to do her commissioned job and do it well, which I think she pulled off amazingly. I don't think that she should be forced to bear the responsibility of her art or be degraded for her entire life because she was just making her art.
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  #25  
Old 03-13-2012, 02:11
urb@ng!rl724 urb@ng!rl724 is offline
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Triumph In The Kill?

I thought Triumph of the Will was a very informative movie. It definitely gave insight into the state of the German nation during Nazi occupation and Hitler, and in a way, made me understand both of them better. It was truly amazing how captivating Hitler was. To say that he was a good orator is an understatement. Hitler was a natural leader, and the German people needed one at the time when the Weimar Republic collapsed. Hitler gave a destitute, miserable, hungry people hope, but he took advantage of their situation and manipulated them for his own greed. Before watching this film, I could never understand how an everyday citizen, like me, could allow such atrocities to occur right before their eyes without intervening. But it is clear from the film, that the German people were completely brainwashed by and consumed with Hitler and his backward ideology, not to say that they do not bear any responsibility because they do.

I definitely agree that Leni Riefenstahl was a genius. Her film idolized Hitler and the Nazi Party, and presented all the reasons why one should join the Nazi Party, which were all the things Germans were fighting for: bread and work. Leniís glorified representation of the Hitler Youth could have easily fooled me into joining; it really did look Boy Scouts or summer camp. Joining meant being on a team, being a part of something, and actually feeling like you belonged to and had an important role in the German state, which is why the movie so cleverly and sneakily played on childhood naÔvetť. Her talented film skills enabled the crowd to look monstrous and overpowering, and Hitler to look like a God; she made it seem like everyone was doing.

Was this film enticing? Yes. Did it get people to accept and join the Nazi party? Yes. Was it a work of propaganda? Somewhat; people were motivated to join the party after the film release. I donít think Leni set out to propagandize the Nazi Party; she set out to document their work, but if Hitler gives you unlimited money and resources to make a film that will undoubtedly boost your career, why wouldnít you make him look good? The film was commissioned by the Nazi Party, so their expecting a beneficial film. Were politics involved in the making of Triumph of the Will? Of course. The film is about a political party, so of course politics and art are intertwined here. Whether or not Leni was motivated by politics weíll never know. I think she most likely just wanted to make a film, not specifically to glorify the Nazi Party. Can a film be dangerous? Hmmm. I donít know if dangerous is the right word. A film can be impacting and influential, and powerful. The right film can make you happy and sad and angry and empowered all at once. The right film will definitely impact you. I think Leni made a film---a good film---that made the commissioners who paid for it look good, and made the viewers who watched it want to go out and join the Nazi Party. I donít think Leni should have to take responsibility for turning the whole country of Germany onto Nazism, just as Hitler canít be entirely to blame for the Holocaust. People have to take responsibility for their own actions.

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Originally Posted by KingOfRedLions View Post
Leni Reifenstahl did a good job with this movie, but continuing to call it a documentary is doing ill will towards the entire genre of documentaries on actual events that are based in realism; this movie is clearly not. However, I don't think she should be condemned for such a thing; if she had said no to Hitler asking her to make a movie, he would've probably killed her, then asked someone else who was just as good at making movies, and the same thing would've happened. Her standing up would have not changed the actual outcome not one tiny bit; a Hitler propaganda film would've still been made, and had she tried to sabotage it she still would've been killed, and the film would have never been seen. So it was either die in vain, or continue to live while having this terrible mark on your filmography. Dying in vain is still dying in vain.
I partially agree with this statement. I think that Leni should stop referring to her film as a documentary when it clearly was not because it was not showing real footage, mostly manipulated footage. I doubt that Hitler would have killed her for not making the movie though, seeing as she was a big actress and filmmaker and they were friends anyway. I do agree though that if she said no, the film would've still been mae by someone else, probably less brilliantly, but a propaganda film nevertheless.
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