Leni Riefenstahl was one of the most famous, talented and controversial figures in the 20th century art. She was a wonderful actress, a beautiful dancer, great director and photographer. In 1930s, Adolf Hitler offered her to work together, but this was the biggest mistake of her life. Her infamous but brilliant documentaries “Triumph of the Will” and “Olympia” got her associated with the Third Reich and she spent the rest of her life trying to get away from this association.
In the 1960s Riefenstahl became interested in Africa. She travelled to Sudan and lived with the Nuba tribe for years, photographing and exploring the life and customs of the tribe. She saw the beauty of a free man, living in harmony with nature. She later published two photo albums but once again Riefenstahl was accused of fascism. Critics argued that the photos of black people carry fascist totalitarian ideology, because they promote healthy bodies without flaws. Critics even drew a parallel between the black bodies and black SS uniform. As a result her film about Africa was never shown on screen.
Leni Riefenstahl’s life would have been totally different if she had never been associated with the Third Reich. She would be remembered by her beautiful work, as successful filmmaker and photographer.