Triumph of the Will (a 1935 film)

Triumph of the Will is a 1935 documentary film made by Leni Riefenstahl featuring the Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg in 1934. I have never seen this famous film from its opening to the end, and I should have done so as soon as I started researching the twentieth century. One meets a lot of top officials of Nazi and gets a sense of their personalities. Joseph Goebbels looked like a smooth-skinned lizard and Alfred Rosenberg appeared really insecure in person despite his confident writings. One “Wagner” might be Gerhard Wagner, who led the policies of eugenics and euthanasia (I am not sure). Hitler’s speeches were forceful shouting and, yes, sounded exactly like the caricature of Hitler. The similarity of an original and its caricature might be an interesting issue to be investigated. The most important protagonist of the film was no doubt the masses. About 700,000 Nazi supporters assembled in Nuremberg and they represented the nation. The scenes of gargantuan settings and Riefenstahl’s ingenious camerawork represented the seamless unity of the German nation without any distinction in classes or statuses. The German race was in the blood and the flesh of the individuals who assembled at the congress, and it had long been nourished throughout the history and it would survive the lives of the individuals. What is important is to watch the crystallization of the Nazi theories of race, nation, and individuals in the masterful artwork of Riefenstahl and feel the operation and roar of this huge machine with real people in it.