In some ways Helene “Leni” Riefenstahl was the Margaret Thatcher of her day, a feminist trailblazer the feminist movement would rather forget. Arguably she was the greatest female film director of the 20th century — no less a film critic than The New Yorker’s Pauline Kael thought so — yet she picked the wrong side, even if she did always claim that she was only interested in art, not politics.

Although she was never a member of the Nazi Party and always denied being a propagandist, her films, especially Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will) about the 1934 Nuremburg rally, nevertheless helped to create what became known as the “Hitler myth”, presenting the Nazi leader as a sort of Wagnerian demigod.

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