Leni Riefenstahl Essay

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Leni Riefenstahl was involved in the expressionist movement as an expressionist dancer, an actress, film maker and director during the growth of German cinema in Weimar Germany, a Nazi associate and propagandist film maker during the years of Nazi Germany and then went on to pursue Nuba and underwater photography in Post-Nazi Germany as a result of the downfall of Nazism. The statement ‘Individuals are products of their times’ applies to Leni Riefenstahl significantly as through the shift in time periods Riefenstahl’s pursuits and values shifted with them.

Leni Riefenstahl in Weimar Germany was passionate about dance and most importantly expressionist dance which derived from the expressionist movement in post-World War 1 Europe. During this
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Riefenstahl often danced barefoot and without props or scenery to enhance the audience’s use of imagination. Riefenstahl was considerably influenced by the expressionist movement and her dance style reflected that of the change in culture. In 1925, Leni Riefenstahl participated in the film “Ways to Strength and Beauty” a product of Körperkultur or ‘The Cult of the Body’, an ideology of the time that emphasized the value of physical health, fitness and beauty. This stemmed from a vision of the rejuvenation of Germany and a strong fatherland. The film amplified Riefenstahl’s appearance as an attractive woman who displayed qualities of strength and physical beauty. Rainer Rother in his book ‘Leni Riefenstahl’ states “Her youth, beauty and slenderness were exactly what people wanted…” The reference to the popularity of the cult of the body movement and the portrayal of Riefenstahl to society gained her public recognition and, because of the period, this shaped the way in which the German people saw her. Leni Riefenstahl also starred in many films which contributed to the expressionist movement such as “The Holy Mountain” in 1926 and “The Great Leap” in 1932 at a time in

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