Triumph of the Will
What's it About
This shockingly beautiful film by Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl is a cinematic record of the 1934 Nuremberg rally, a highly choreographed spectacle of marching soldiers, cheering crowds, and an ocean of furling swastika banners. Culminating in Hitler's commanding, eerily hypnotic speech, it is a fascinating glimpse at the power of images in the service of almost unfathomable evil.
Why we love it
Accomplished through the offices of propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels (though he detested the idea of a woman filmmaker), Riefenstahl's magnificent, mesmerizing masterpiece offers a powerfully instructive look at the delirium of crowds, the fever pitch of 20th-century nationalist politics, and the megalomania of Adolf Hitler – none of which, of course, was its reason for being. However, on the level of technical brilliance alone, "Will" is a visual monument every bit as great – and ethically compromised – as D.W. Griffith's "Birth of a Nation." An undeniably accomplished work of art, "Will" is one of the more intriguing documentaries you'll ever see.