“Triumph of the Will”

“Triumph of the Will” directed and edited by Leni Riefenstahl, is referred to by historians as one of the most influential propaganda films created during the Nazi Regime. The film is a visual representation of the 1934 Nazi party rally in Nuremberg. Riefenstahl’s use of colours, sounds and camera positioning enhances they way in which the viewer sees and interprets the film. It can be claimed that “Triumph of the Will” a product from the cultural expression that developed during the time in which the Nazi’s rose to power. A cultural expression is a way of expressing the attitudes and beliefs of a particular culture, through different mediums such as film. Hitler used film to record propaganda events and used the fact that people were attending cinemas more frequently during the early 1930’s, to push his propaganda message to the masses, “Triumph of the Will” is an example of this. Riefenstahl was an exceptional documentary film maker, however; it could be suggested that she was also a Nazi Propagandist. She filmed the 1934 Nuremberg rally in such a way that supported the Nazi and its ideology.

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The Nazi rallies were held every year in Nuremberg to promote Nazism on a grand stage. The rallies was designed to excite the German people and gain support for the Nazi rule. “Triumph of the Will” was a powerful propaganda tool for the Nazi regime. Ben Walsh, author of Modern World History states without hesitation that ” There were some major propaganda films made by Nazi-approved filmmakers, such as Triumph of the Will.”1 Adolf Hitler himself so proudly declared that; “(Triumph of the Will) was a totally unique and incomparable glorification of the power and beauty of our movement.”2 How can the the Fürhrer speak so highly of a film that was supposedly just an account of the events that occurred? The German population started going to the cinemas in increasing numbers during the 1930s due to the Weimar Republic bringing prosperity to the country. People watched film as a way of escapism as well as way of being informed about current news events. Advancements in technology and the level of craftsmanship in film created an excitement amongst the population. “Triumph of the Will” was revolutionary in the film industry, however; Riefenstahl’s impartiality is questionable when she produced the film. This is evident by her choice of camera angles and film techniques.