"Screening Riefenstahl" offers an opportunity to rethink the place of Leni Riefenstahl and her work in contemporary culture and in academic discourse.Leni Riefenstahl is larger than life. From the lure of her persona as it enters our homes via television to our pleasure in the recognition of film images at rock concerts, to her place as part of the history of the Nazi period, Riefenstahl lives on in our imagination and in our cultural productions. Thus, the editors' introduction to this volume examines the manner in which Riefenstahl 'haunts' debates on aesthetics and politics, and how her legacy reverberates in the contemporary cultural scene. The essays that follow explore our highly invested discursive struggles over the meaning of her persona and films in this particular historical moment: post-unification, post-twentieth century, post-Riefenstahl.The editors view the collection as a three-part framework. The essays in the opening section of the book show that Riefenstahl is still very much alive and well - and controversial - in popular culture.
Fair game for the contemporary memory work, she is part of productions on the History Channel; her images provide inspiration for bands like Rammstein. Her films continue to determine the way in which we think about the Nazi period, providing instantly recognizable images and messages that often go unquestioned.We cannot separate these phenomena from Riefenstahl's years of avid self-fashioning. With that fact in mind, the second section of the book offers treatments of the shifting, mobile relationship between Riefenstahl's stubborn attempts to create and control her personae and her reactions to others' re-appropriations of the meanings of her life and work. Reading the texts and discourses surrounding 'Riefenstahl', these scholars treat her memories - and her repeated assertions about herself - as a springboard into understanding anew how we might approach her films in a productive way.The closing section of the volume comprises essays that go right to the heart of the matter: Riefenstahl's films and photography.
The new contexts, theoretical discussions and emerging discourses that animate these essays include Scarry's treatise on beauty, justice and the global, the problems of history and memory, the place of Riefenstahl's filmmaking technique in contemporary cinema, and her appropriation of German musical traditions, to name only some of the critical trajectories addressed in these contributions.Fueled by the work of a diverse range of scholars, then, It insists upon a critical self-examination that maps a topography of how scholars and teachers avail themselves of Riefenstahl's corpus.
Neil Christian Pages is Assistant Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the Binghamton University SUNY, where he teaches courses in literary theory, cultural history, and European literature. His publications include essays on Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Georg Brandes, and W.G. Sebald. Ingeborg Majer O'Sickey is Associate Professor of German and Women's Studies at Binghamton University SUNY. Her publications include numerous articles on German film as well as her current book project, Women in Nazi Cinema: Engendering Heimat, Genderizing Nation. Mary Rhiel is Associate Professor of German at the University of New Hampshire. In tandem with her interests in German film and colonial narratives she has published on German film and on the problems of biography and co-edited The Seductions of Biography (Routledge, 1996).
Introduction; Celia Applegate (University of Rochester): "To Be or Not To Be Wagnerian: the Music of Riefenstahl's Nazi-Era Documentaries"; David Bathrick (Cornell University): "Riefenstahl's Iconic Images"; Barbel Dalichow (Film Museum Potsdam): Interview conducted and translated by Ingeborg Majer-O'Sickey; Karen M. Eng (University of Cincinnati): "Portraits of Representation: Reception, Ethics and Reflexivity in Leni Riefenstahl's African Photography"; Wulf Kansteiner (Binghamton University SUNY): "Liberating Nazi Iconology from the Prison House of History: The Reception of Ray Muller's The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl in Germany"; Lutz Koepnick (Washington University, St. Louis): "Riefenstahl's Slow Motion: Watching Olympia with David Beckham"; Eric Rentschler (Harvard University): "The Blue Light Revisited"; Mary Rhiel (University of New Hampshire): "The Ups and Downs of Leni Riefenstahl"; Georg Sesslen (film critic): "Blood and Glamour" (translated by Neil.