The Film Comment Podcast: Art and Fascism
This week, the Film Comment Podcast digs into Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will and the ways in which the reputation of the notorious film—and that of its maker—have shifted over the years. In a feature article on the legendary Nazi-propaganda project in the latest issue of Film Comment, contributing editor J. Hoberman writes that, “Triumph of the Will is an organic product of cinema history, a synthesis of Metropolis’s monumental mass ornament, Potemkin’s pow, and Hollywood extravagance.” Once denounced as fascist propaganda, the film came to be celebrated as a masterpiece of formal daring in the 1960s and 1970s, a rehabilitation that culminated with Riefenstahl receiving a controversial tribute at the 1974 Telluride Film Festival. Film Comment Editor in Chief Nicolas Rapold is joined by Hoberman and filmmaker and professor Zoe Beloff for a discussion of the film’s relevance to the current historical moment (Steve Bannon and Roger Ailes are purportedly big fans) and the larger question of artistry in the service of evil.
Read J. Hoberman’s article on Triumph of the Will in the January-February issue of Film Comment.