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Leni Riefenstahl: A Life

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  68 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Dancer, actress, mountaineer, and director Leni Riefenstahl's uncompromising will and audacious talent for self-promotion appeared unmatched—until 1932, when she introduced herself to her future protector and patron: Adolf Hitler. Known internationally for two of the films she made for him, Triumph of the Will and Olympia, Riefenstahl's demanding and obsessive style introd ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 22nd 2008 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 2002)
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Feb 16, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography

the book reads almost like an attack!
Carl Rollyson
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Every woman adores a fascist," Sylvia Plath cried out in her poem "Daddy." "To me, Hitler is the greatest man who ever lived. He truly is without fault, so simple and at the same time possessed of masculine strength," Leni Riefenstahl told a Detroit News reporter in February 1937.

Riefenstahl has often been called the greatest woman documentary filmmaker — although she would have bridled at the "woman." No feminist, she wanted nothing less than her due as a great artist. In her masterpiece, "Tri
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating exploration of the life and work of a controversial filmmaker.
The title suggests this is about the life of Leni Riefenstahl, but the greater part of the text describes her relationship with Hitler and Reich and her subsequent denials.

Author Jurgen Trimborn shows how her protestations that she was innocent because she was an apolitical artist cannot stand up to the eye witness accounts, official testimony, and photographic records that link her to Hitler's inner circles. Whether or not she was a mistress of Hitler, Trimborn clearly documents her close assoc
Feb 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The legendary and controversial actress/director Leni Riefenstahl, who was more than 100 years old when she died as a cultural icon, despite her more than dubious past through Nazi Germany, has met her match: a biographer who doesn’t let her decades of lies and denials and mythmaking stories hide the plain truth. And what a truth it is. Possibly a director of genius talent, who created some of the most indelible and disturbing images of the last century, Riefenstahl was also quite a monster, who ...more
This was a fascinatingly honest biography -- and I say fascinatingly honest because the author openly states at the beginning that he would never be able to get the truth from Riefenstahl herself. Leni Riefenstahl (say it: REEF-in-shtall) was totally a being of her own creation. She wanted to be a dancer and perform before crowds, so she became one. When that killed her body because she'd done it so fast with so little training, she wanted to become an actress, so she became one. And when the mo ...more
Jul 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jurgen Trimborn does a great job deciphering the truth from the information out there about Leni Riefenstahl. She spent her entire life after the fall of the Third Reich trying to re-write history, and for a long time, no one challenged her accounts of how things happened. This book does so, using newly opened archival material to give the truth about Riefenstahl's life, particularly her relationship to Hitler and the Nazis. She was an egotist, concerned with her own career and vanity more than ...more
I've never read a bio about a more frustrating figure than Leni Riefenstahl. A great artist who is completely delusional, dishonest, anti-semitic, and oh yeah used to be a Nazi- you want to shake Riefenstahl into just admitting the truth about her past. She'd be a much easier person to admire if she did.
I wish Trimborn was more detailed about Riefenstahl's personal life. This doesn't feel like the end all be all of her biographies that a subtitle like A Life would suggest. But he is adroit at s
Jul 11, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I haven't read her autobio or other bios yet, but I liked this one because the author seems to be trying so hard to be neutral and fair, and simply cannot help but condemn her for willful apathy and a lack of remorse, while leaving open the question of criminal behavior. Well written. I'm not a big bio fan, but it didn't bore me.
Jul 05, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting reading about the woman who made one of the most famous/infamous propaganda films ever, and her life in the third Reich and her later life in South Africa. A truly remarkable woman.

Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this and her memoir, it is a thorough, convincing argument that Leni Riefenstahl cannot be divorced as an artist from the Nazis who gave her art a pedestal.
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