Leni Riefenstahl

Leni Riefenstahl's contribution to the German society and culture during the Nazi Regime was a major one. From the early years of her career as a dancer and actress in the immensly popular mountain genre (Berg) films, to her later contributions to the German media through her productions such as Das Blaue Licht (The Blue Light) and Tiefland (Lowland) and her massive film epics made under the height of Nazi power, Triumpf Des Willens (Triumph Of The Will) and Olympia, Leni Riefenstahl entertained the German Public. Although there is no doubt that Riefenstahl's later films were of enormous benefit to the Nazi's as film propaganda, Leni Riefenstahl's contribution to the vast masses of German society was far more pronounced than any esteemed political power under the Nazi Party.
Leni Riefenstahl was born on the 22nd of August as Helena Amalie Riefenstahl. The Riefenstahl children were shielded from the impact of thefirst world war and the hardship that followed, as the family was fairly wealthy. This perhaps provides an explanation for the absence of realism in her films.
Leni performed herfirst solo dance recital at the age of twenty one in October 1923. After her second recital, the great theatrical director, Max Reinhart signed Leni up for a contract with him, performing at several dances at his theatres and later touring Europe. However Riefenstahl's dancing career was cut short in 1925 when she cracked her knee cap.
Her turn to film was a direct result of this injury. Riefenstahl was waitng at the station for a train to her doctor's appointment when she an advertisement for the film Berg Des Shicksals (Mountain Of Destiny). Intrigued, she saw the film and was so hugely impressed with it that she approached the director, Dr Arnold Fanck and persuaded him to allow her to appear in his next film. Fanck set to work and wrote his next film, Der Heilige Berg (The Holy Mountain) especially for Leni Rie…


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