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Documentary: Triumph of the Will

8 Pages 1949 Words December 2018

Director Leni Riefenstahl is “best known for her bombastic, yet technically and aesthetically innovative propaganda film” (McCormick et al, 2004, pg. 159) Triumph of the Will. It was based on the 1934 Nuremberg party rally when Hitler rose to power and the documentary was then released in 1935. The Nuremberg rally was known as one of the largest they had between the years 1923 to 1938 it had over 700,000 Nazi supporters and was also labelled the rally of Unity and Strength. Zizek (2003) believes that Riefenstahl’s Nazi documentary is celebrating bodily discipline, concentration, and strength of will in sport as well as in politics and that it is done in an aesthetically beautiful way. Although this is true the service of the film is deemed as a lie and an evil one due to knowledge of what we know in this day an age of what Hitler was like and what he was capable of doing. Throughout this essay I will show examples from Triumph of the Will of camera, sound and editing and show that the disturbing message behind the documentary is still there and although at some points it is possible to forget this and separate both the message and the accomplishments in which Riefenstahl achieved there is still an underlining meaning to the film. As an audience we are able to appreciate Riefenstahl’s work within this piece of art with the striking look and the irresistible excitement which is created for the German people but are still aware of the controlling totalitarian leadership in which Hitler had over the people.
Throughout the opening title sequence Riefenstahl cleverly makes the German people have sympathy for their country making them remember the “20 years after the outbreak of the war, 16 years after the start of German suffering” this pulling on the heartstrings of the public making them remember how bad things were for them such as putting them in an economic disaster, serious loss of manpower and the near total disrespect fo...

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