films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


The Triumph of the Will

Triumph des Willens
1935 / 110m - Germany
Documentary, War
The Triumph of the Will poster

Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations

Olympia 1. Teil - Fest der Völker
1938 / 127m - Germany
Documentary, Sport
Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations poster

A famous documentary by Leni Riefenstahl about the Olympic Games in 1936, Berlin. Part of its fame is due to the Nazi propaganda present, though Riefenstahl's artistic style can't just be ignored either. The way she positions her camera and edits everything together is certainly ahead of its time.

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The documentary starts with a rather artistic presentation about the journey of the Olympic torch, then moves on to more typical sport reports. That kind of reporting has evolved a lot since then though and without the proper context, you're just watching some badly shot athletic numbers with nameless athletes competing.

This is only the first part, I don't think I'll be watching the second part in the near future. The sport segments were rather dull and apart from some nice shots left and right there's really not much to enjoy here. A doc that was ahead of its time, but is hopelessly trailing the current norm.

Olympia Part Two: Festival of Beauty

Olympia 2. Teil - Fest der Schönheit
1938 / 103m - Germany
Documentary, Sport
Olympia Part Two: Festival of Beauty poster

Part 2 of Riefenstahl's big Olympic documentary. It's more of the same really, so don't expect any big turnarounds. The closing ceremony is the most cinematic part of the documentary (also the shortest), the rest of the time is spent on filming a series of different sporting events.

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There's historic value here, as Riefenstahl's techniques are ahead of its time. By modern standards it isn't all that special though, so I didn't really get much out of it. Don't expect any exciting sporting matches or built up tension, the registration of the games themselves is actually pretty subpar, instead Riefenstahl seems more interested in the aesthetic beauty.

What will stay with me the most though is how amateurish the games were back then. Of course, the original Olympic Games were set up for amateurs only, but if you compare the events (the gymnast disciplines in particular) with today's athletes, this is complete amateur hour. Not completely uninteresting, but hardly worth the runtime.