Cover image for Leni Riefenstahl : five lives
Leni Riefenstahl : five lives
Taschen, Angelika.
Publication Information:
Köln ; London : Taschen, [2000]

Physical Description:
336 pages : chiefly illustrations (some color), portraits ; 34 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1998.3.R54 L46 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



One remarkable woman, five remarkable careers: Leni Riefenstahl is the exception to the rule. From dancer to actress to film-maker to photographer to diver, she has excelled in each field and is one of the most important and controversial artists of the 20th century. Her contributions to the art and technique of film-making were vast, most notably in her epochal film ""Olympia"" (1938). Critically acclaimed during the 1930's for her work under the Hitler administration and harshly criticized after the war, Riefenstahl surged on, completing the famous ""Tiefland"" in 1954. In the 1960s and 70s she traveled to Africa and extensively photographed East Africa and the Nuba tribes in Sudan, publishing three books. Ready for yet another change, she took up deep-sea diving at the age of 71, beginning a new chapter as an underwater photographer.

Though she has attracted much attention throughout her life and has been the subject of many books, articles, and films, Leni Riefenstahl Five Lives is the first book to showcase her entire career in pictures. Produced in collaboration with Riefenstahl herself, the book includes her most famous images as well as many previously unpublished pictures from her private archives. The main body of the book features photographs (without text) spanning Riefenstahl's entire set of careers, with pictures of her on stage as a dancer and on the set as an actress and film-maker, as well as film stills and her own photographs (precise commentaries about the pictures can be found in the comprehensive appendix). The illustrated biography, international bibliography, and detailed filmography complement the illustrative section with extensive information about her personaland professional lives. Fans and critics alike will be impressed with this sweeping visual tribute.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Produced in collaboration with the artist, now 98, the latest in Taschen's oversized photographers' series showcases Riefenstahl's undeniably unique life here called "lives" as a dancer, actress, photographer, filmmaker, and, most recently, deep-sea diver. Mostly, it is a collection of reproductions of stills from her films and photos from her various books (Last of the Nuba and others have been reissued by St. Martin's in recent years). Although her talent is clear and the work speaks for itself in many ways, larger questions invariably arise. She is certainly one of the most controversial figures in 20th-century arts, and it is nearly inconceivable to discuss her without also examining her connection to Hitler and her years as his favorite filmmaker. Yet the contributors here either gloss over such troubling historic issues or take the artist at her word. In this regard, the book recalls Riefenstahl's dissembling 1995 memoir, though it would best be paired in library collections with the critical biographical film The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl. Still, this is a fine, affordable choice for libraries that don't already own Riefenstahl's individual photography books. Douglas McClemont, New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Leni Riefenstahl, now in her nineties, is most known for two films: Triumph of the Will, a 1935 depiction of a Nazi party rally, and Olympia, a documentary about the 1936 Olympics. Both are among the most influential in film history. Before directing, Riefenstahl was a dancer and actress, and following the war she traveled in the Sudan photographing primitive Nuba tribes. Thirty years ago she began making decorative undersea photographs. This lavish quarto volume brings together the imagery of her five lives. Some 173 photographs in sepia and color are reproduced to form a picture of her as a professional. There is a brief prefatory text by Angelika Taschen, chief editor at Taschen, and back matter including film with and by Riefenstahl, unrealized film projects, an extensive and further illustrated biographical chronology, a bibliography, and small reproductions with explanatory captions. The controversy that has surrounded her politics, notably regarding the Nazi party and Hit ler, will no doubt continue in the appraisal of her work. But there is a revisionist interest evidenced here. The book adds to an already significant international bibliography. (Librarians should note that the African pictures contain considerable nudity.) All levels. P. C. Bunnell Princeton University