Triumph of the Will

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Leni Riefenstahl (1902—2003) German film-maker and photographer


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A documentary film of the Nazi Party's Nuremberg Congress in 1934. Leni Riefenstahl directed the film and it exudes a strong sense of her preoccupation with the human body, which achieved its fullest expression in Olympia. Both films blended contemporary events—political spectacle in the case of Triumph of the Will, sporting spectacle in the case of Olympia—with images of traditional history and classical cultural legacies. In the film of the Nuremberg congress and rally, mass marches demonstrating unstoppable political power dovetail with shots of semi-naked male Aryan bodies being groomed for display, and innocent-looking but swastika-bedecked young males piggy-back-wrestling in the sun. The individual human bodies, the smiling faces of the young wrestlers, personalize the supra-human political machine in a sinister use of physical culture to simultaneously lighten and bolster the political message.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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