The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl
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The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl
In the 1930s, Leni Riefenstahl was arguably the most important and accomplished female filmmaker of her generation; however, since her primary sponsor was Adolf Hitler, and her best-known work was a hagiographic documentary on the 1934 Nazi Party congress entitled Triumph of the Will, a long and unending debate has raged whether Riefenstahl was a fascist propagandist or a talented artist whose crime was merely doing a job too well. Macht der Bilder: Leni Riefenstahl is an exhaustive two-part look at Riefenstahl's life and work, exploring her early careers as a dancer and actress,… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"This is more often self-portrait than portrait; like Hitler in Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will, she's presented as a fully formed deity without family background or ideology save a reverence for beauty and strength."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"Overly long, but fascinating."
‑ Desson Thomson, Washington Post
"Fascinating documentary about controversial director Len Riefenstahl."
‑ Beth Accomando,
"Riefenstahl masterfully dissects her own Triumph of the Will and forcefully denies that artists bear any special political responsibility."
‑ Martin Scribbs, Low IQ Canadian
"This complex existence is the subject of writer/director Ray Mueller's engrossing documentary."
‑ James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk
"Sometimes clunky but consistently fascinating."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"A riveting docu about the controversial filmmaker who made some great propaganda art for Hitler"
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"A riveting and encyclopaedic biography of an extraordinary woman. But it also poses heavy questions. Can art ever be isolated from its political context? Are Riefenstahl's claims about her political innocence valid?"
‑ , Film4
"A wonderful, fascinating documentary on the infamous German director, possibly the greatest female filmmaker in history."
‑ Thomas Delapa, Boulder Weekly
"An exhaustive portrait of Nazi-era filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl."
‑ Christopher Null,
"This movie is fascinating in so many different ways: As the story of an extraordinary life, as the reconstruction of the career of one of the greatest of film artists, as the record of an ideological debate, as a portrait of an amazing old woman."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Overlong examination of the life of an enigmatic, willful, disengenuous, fascinating, influential and enormously gifted filmmaker."
‑ Robert Roten, Laramie Movie Scope
"Mueller's dialectical approach allows him to expose many half-truths (and a few outright lies) by adducing contrary evidence; by the film's end, Riefenstahl's apologia emerges clearly as an elaborate mythification of self and history."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"... essential viewing ... to understand Riefenstahl or for anyone curious about how art and politics come out when on a collision course"
‑ John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews
"However misdirected, Riefenstahl's talent is here in full bloom. And audience members may leave with their own contradictory feelings about her life and what it means."
‑ Chris Hicks, Deseret News, Salt Lake City
More reviews for The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl on Rotten Tomatoes

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