Riefenstahl celebrates the human body by combining the poetry of bodies in motion at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games with close-ups of athletes in the heat of competition. It includes Jesse Owen’s sprint races and Adolf Hitler looking on in amazement as Owens wins an unprecedented four Gold Medals.
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A triumph of composition & form notably the opening paen to the possibilities of the human form but throughout the interminable games which Riefenstahl endeavours to edit with as much variety & flair as possible. Avoiding a de Millian hubris in monumentalising the already mammoth, this is nevertheless a visually huge display of confidence - sporting or otherwise - and no more politicised than any subsequent games.
It is a shame that Leni Riefenstahl's association with the Nazis overshadows her genius. Despite her questionable allegiances, she did have an eye for the cinema and captured some extraordinary imagery and put it together masterfully to make such a redundant display of pomp and pageantry and the fetishism of the International Pissing Contest and is also a great time capsule for the mood of the time.
Very good doc, loved the tension between Hitler and German athletes. Seeing his pain and frustration was really interesting. I suppose it would have been too much to see his reaction when Jesse Owens won gold but its all amazing footage with a nice avant-garde nude men and women beginning.