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Leni : the life and work of Leni Riefenstahl
Steven Bach
Adult Nonfiction PN1998.3.R54 B33 2007

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Hitler's favorite filmmaker prettified her own story almost as much as she glorified the ugly reality of the Third Reich, which makes her a natural for biographers with a taste for dish and debunkery. Bach (Marlene Dietrich: Life and Legend) excavates, somewhat more fluently, many of the low points covered in Jurgen Trimborn's recent Leni Riefenstahl: A Life: her courting of Nazi sponsorship and admiration for Hitler, her witnessing-later denied-of a massacre of Polish Jews, her deployment of Gypsy slave laborers as extras (many of them died at Auschwitz) and her postwar efforts, through lawsuits and misleading memoirs, to downplay or suppress these facts. Bach also fleshes out more of Riefenstahl's private life, with details about a parade of lovers (one of them, an American decathlonist, apparently tore off Riefenstahl's blouse and kissed her breasts in front of 100,000 spectators at the 1936 Berlin Olympics) and her attempts to get her hands on the inheritance of her niece and nephew. He intersperses perceptive commentary on her masterful propaganda films, while noting that her art "lulls and deceives" instead of awakening and illuminating. The result is a lively, incisive look at a compelling and somewhat appalling figure who demonstrated that beauty isn't always truth. Photos. (Mar. 19) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

German director Leni Riefenstahl (1902-2003) had 101 years to construct her legend, which she did in part with an autobiography that was roundly denounced as self-serving and generally a tissue of lies. The effort to get to the truth of her controversial life has resulted most recently in Danish author Jurgen Trimborn's Leni Riefenstahl: A Life and this work by Bach (film studies, Columbia Univ./Bennington Coll.; Marlene Dietrich: Life and Legend). As others have before him, Bach traces Riefenstahl's career as dancer, actress (in German mountain films), director, and Nazi propagandist (something Riefenstahl always disputed) as well as her final reinvention as a respected photographer. He also attempts to delve into her psyche for insights into her actions, and he does so very convincingly in many instances. For example, his explanation of how one of her famous film roles reflects her desire to be seen as a misjudged innocent and a victim of the jealousy of others seems right on. Whether or not Bach has succeeded in solving the mystery that was Leni Riefenstahl is open to debate, but he has produced a most compelling narrative. Recommended for all collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/06.]-Roy Liebman, Los Angeles P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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