Ed Driscoll

EBERT ON RIEFENSTAHL

Roger Ebert has a perceptive retrospective of Leni Riefenstahl, drawing upon his 1994 review of the documentary, The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl.

Ebert appropriately excoriates Riefenstahl for being a Nazi sympathizer. But how many Soviet filmmakers are still praised to this day by film scholars, even though their works, while fictional, were propaganda to the Soviet Union? Is it simply because Sergei Eisenstein (to name one example) created fiction, whereas Riefenstahl was a documentarian?

It’s been frequently noted that a huge mistake on our part was not holding Nuremberg-like trials for the apparatchiks and party members of the Soviet Union after the Cold War ended. This is yet another example of how a lack of recorded judgment continues to create an unnecessary double standard when it comes to two equally evil empires of the 20th century.

Update: Ebert’s piece on Riefenstahl has since scrolled off the Sun-Times’ site, but is currently available here.