Patrick Milescu
Professor Bowles
Comparing Riefenstahl\'s Victory of Faith and Triumph of the Will
In a much more complicated political era in which darkness reigned supreme in Germany, Hitler and the Nazi Party were able to rise to power, and gain partisan support with the unconventional help of German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. Riefenstahl is best known for her pivotal role as a director in her two films commissioned by the Nazi Party, Victory of Faith and Triumph of the Will. Asked directly by Hitler to film Victory of Faith as a crucial piece of propaganda for the Nuremberg party rally in 1933, Riefenstahl went on to direct another film for the Nazi Party a year later. Her impressive cinematic portrayal of the Nazis in the first film was enough to convince Hitler to commission a second film from her for the Nuremberg party rally in 1934, ( Internationally recognized as the pinnacle of Nazi propaganda and still highly praised for its stunning display of documentary-style mastery, this second film, Triumph of the Will lives on with an impressive reputation. Although Victory of Faith was also revered for Riefenstahl\'s cinematic skill and unique perspective of the Nazi Party, it is not placed on the same pedestal as her second piece of propaganda. Both films, however, utilized innovative camera techniques, displayed Riefenstahl\'s expertise dealing with a very large film crew, and were both very influential to the direction politics took at the time.
While the Nazi Party was rapidly gaining political power in the early 1930\'s, Hitler realized that if he wanted to dramatically increase his popularity in the public\'s eye, he would have to appropriately capture an ideal image of what Germany would be if he were ruler. After receiving international attention from the first film she directed in 1932, Das Blaue Licht, Hitler was impressed and decided that Leni Riefenstahl\'s artistic aesthetic would be perfect to accurately depict his vision of a stronger, united Germany. Riefenstahl, who had become fond of Hitler after watching him deliver a powerful political speech, felt inclined to agree when Hitler confronted her with the proposition to direct Victory of Faith for the Nazi Party, ( Although Riefenstahl was not a party member, Hitler respected her work enough to associate with her. Nonetheless, the film was funded and promoted by Nazi Party, in an attempt to glorify the victory of Hitler\'s rise to the become Chancellor of Germany in 1933. This rally was specifically important for Hitler\'s rise to power to be effective, so he was sure to recruit a director he thought was suitable for the job. Riefenstahl seemed like the perfect fit, and due to the importance and power than Hitler held at the time; it was difficult for her to deny his offer. Capturing this early, yet critical stage of the Nazi Party, Victory of Faith allows the audience to witness the evolution of Nazi propaganda with Riefenstahl\'s first film serving as a metaphorical blueprint for Triumph of the Will, ( Victory of Faith has not received the same amount of praise from critics, but the majority of the most visually impressive scenes that were included in this first propaganda film of Riefenstahl\'s were later incorporated into her second film. Riefenstahl selected the scenes she thought to be most successful, used them to her advantage, and painted a new image of the Nazi Party that was more appropriate to where the political party was headed in terms of power.
While Victory of Faith did not emerge as the cinematic masterpiece out of the two, it is not to be discredited because it commendably represented the Nazi Party at the time and served as a critical stepping-stone towards Riefenstahl\'s next propaganda film. Although Riefenstahl\'s first film had already portrayed the Nazi Party, Hitler demanded a second film from her the next year for the Nuremberg rally in 1934, ( Riefenstahl hesitated at first, but agreed on the terms that she would be granted artistic freedom and full funding from the Nazi Party, to differentiate the second film from Victory of Faith. While the primary objective of Triumph of the Will was to create a new piece of propaganda that would set it apart from the first, the two films were still comparable in many ways. The underlying difference that set