"Olympia" a Film by Leni Riefenstahl Film Review by dugry

"Olympia" a Film by Leni Riefenstahl
The paper analyzes the film "Olympia", directed by Leni Riefenstahl. According to the writer, the film presents a realistic and powerful fusion between sports and politics.
# 25490 | 12,594 words | 0 sources | MLA | 2002 | IL
Published on Apr 29, 2003 in Film (Documentary) , Sport (Olympics) , History (European - World Wars)

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This paper summarizes the controversial life of the most famous film-maker in Nazi Germany. In detail, the paper examines the making of the movie "Olympia", a documentary film about the Olympics that served the Nazi Government in Germany in 1936. The writer asserts that this film is the first sports film.

Table of Contents:
Riefenstahl before "Olympia"
Production and Funding
The Preparations
Track and Field
Festival of Beauty

From the Paper:

"The National-Socialist Party was elected to the German Government in 1933 and brought with it large social changes. The Reich was supposed to control all the aspects of life, including the arts. Probably, at the begging, the arts, and specially the visual arts, were not a goal of the Nazi ideology, but de factum it became a tool in order to promote the Nazi desires. One could think the Nazi Government obligated the artist community to follow a certain "Nazi style". However, this is not the case; it was impossible to create a "Nazi artistic model" in a period of time that was too short. Gradually, all the different art movements were expulsed, they were told to be "degenerative" and were blamed to be influenced by the international community, the Jews and the Bolsheviks. This situation triggered the growth of irrelevant artists and dormant artistic movements that were accepted by the Nazis. These artists and movements were those that created the core of the Nazi Art during twelve years of Nazi Regime? They had a pro-Nazi tendency and the Nazi ideology is recognized in their works. The Cinema was an integral part of this process and existed as an important part of the Propaganda Machine; becoming an instrument by which the aesthetics and the ideas of the Nazi were presented. About 1200 movies were made during the twelve years of the Reich; most of them were argumental but, in all of tem (including comedies, romantic drama, films for children, etc.), we identify the National-Socialist Doctrine and the Nationalist-Totalitarian approach. Leni Riefensthal's movie, "Olympia", from 1936, is in fact the documentation of the Olympic Games and it was filmed formally for the Olympic Games Organization Committee, under the direction of its General Secretary Carl Dime. In those days Riefensthal was in her professional zenith, she became a movie star in some of the successful "Mountain Films" of Arnold Panck and showed to everyone her talent as director and editor in "Triumph of the Will", also a documentary film, about the Nazi Congress of 1934, that provided her with a good quote of publicity. She was the brilliant filmmaker that became the favorite of the Fuhrer. Although she did not want to be involved in any other documentary movie, she accepted the project and tried to transform it in a revolutionary piece of art. Indeed, "Olympia" was filmed with modern technology and sophisticated techniques: rapid cameras, sub-aquatics cameras, cameras on the top of towers, in planes, balloons, and boats. Holes were excavated in the stadium in order to film the athletes from a special angle and slow-replay clips were introduced (a very modern technique in those days). The professional team, numbering dozens, was directed by Riefensthal and worked intensively during the Olympic Games days. The accurate production and edition took months, and the result was a two-parts brilliant film. We cannot approach the analysis of "Olympia" without looking at the context of the cinema industry under Nazi Government. The central question is whether Riefensthal was independent or not in relation to the Nazi Party, and specially in relation to the Propaganda Minister of the Reich, Joseph Goebbels. We might notice that her relations with the Party and the Government influenced the making of the movie, as well as its goals and its impartiality. Many questions arise while watching "Olympia": Are we discussing about Nazi Propaganda or about the documentation of the Olympic Games (maybe the best one ever done)? Is this movie trying to improve the Classic or the Nazi aesthetics standards? Is this a movie about sports or about politics? Maybe, the answer is that "Olympia" is all of them together. The film that documents the 1936 Olympic Games of Berlin included the spirit of the consentaneous Nazi Art. Many aspects of the National-Socialist aesthetics are found in "Olympia". The film was used for the profit of the new Government and it became a part the general propaganda system that glorified the power of the strong Germany, its noble roots, its citizens, and their loyalty to their country and leader. The so reduced Nazi iconography found its place also here: the idealization of the human body, the virgin nature as a primitive element, the German "vital space", and the rustic panorama. The same aesthetics elements appeared in every visual art (posters, newspapers, post-cards, etc.) and it was part, as we said, of "Olympia" too."

Cite this Film Review:

APA Format

"Olympia" a Film by Leni Riefenstahl (2003, April 29) Retrieved July 06, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/film-review/olympia-a-film-by-leni-riefenstahl-25490/

MLA Format

""Olympia" a Film by Leni Riefenstahl" 29 April 2003. Web. 06 July. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/film-review/olympia-a-film-by-leni-riefenstahl-25490/>