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The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl

The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993)

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Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 1

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Movie Info

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

Apr 27, 1999

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All Critics (24) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (1)

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.

March 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sometimes clunky but consistently fascinating.

August 30, 2004 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
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Overly long, but fascinating.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
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A riveting docu about the controversial filmmaker who made some great propaganda art for Hitler

July 25, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Overlong examination of the life of an enigmatic, willful, disengenuous, fascinating, influential and enormously gifted filmmaker.

March 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

Fascinating documentary about controversial director Len Riefenstahl.

January 27, 2009
KPBS.org

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?

March 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

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.

March 14, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Riefenstahl masterfully dissects her own Triumph of the Will and forcefully denies that artists bear any special political responsibility.

July 22, 2004

A wonderful, fascinating documentary on the infamous German director, possibly the greatest female filmmaker in history.

February 27, 2004 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

... essential viewing ... to understand Riefenstahl or for anyone curious about how art and politics come out when on a collision course

May 10, 2002 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

This complex existence is the subject of writer/director Ray Mueller's engrossing documentary.

February 27, 2001 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

An exhaustive portrait of Nazi-era filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

... really experience her energy and her drive for cinematic perfection.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews
Internet Reviews

Highly recommended.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

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