Director: Leni Riefenstahl
Year Released: 1938
Glorious two-part documentary about the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin is, of course, grotesque propaganda for the 'power' and 'glory' of the German Might (glistening hard bodies exceeding at the physical, of being Gods on Earth) ... and it's also a celebration of Sport itself. I find this to be considerably less offensive than Triumph of the Will, because despite the inherently ugly pro-Deutschland/pro-Nazi bias it's easy to appreciate Riefenstahl's filmmaking gift - and excellent use of slow motion - as she finds creative ways of recording the games for posterity (filming the shadows of a fencing match, of playing with time as divers flip forwards and backwards against a calm sky). The German athletes excel in many areas, but the Americans, many times, are actually their betters: take, for example, the glorious ability of Jesse Owens to blaze past his competition or the Americans sweeping several categories of their bronze, silver and gold medals. Triumph of the Will is about the Mechanics of Hate; this is about the Mechanics of Motion.