thirty movies hath november – Olympia (1938)

Olympia is Leni Reifenstahl documentary of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  it was released in two parts: Olympia Fest der Volker (Olympia Part One Festival of Nations) and Olympia Fest der Schonheist (Olympia Part Two Festival of Beauty)

OlympiaOlympia volkenOlympia schonheit

Olympia was controversial from its release – and with reason.  funded by the Nazi party Propaganda arm, and even with no overt Nazi content per se, the images of greater-than-life godlike athletes have been interpreted as supporting the 'superior race'.  Frau Reifenstahl herself always denied any overt or covert Nazi alliances. 

a very good documentary on Frau Reifenstahl's life and work is The wonderful horrible life of Leni Riefenstahl; in addition to exploring the Nazi question,  The wonderful… also delves on the reasons why Riefenstahl is one of the great directors of the 20th century and the innovations she brought to film:  the sudden cut, extreme close-ups, cameras on rails to pan over distances, an editing craftwomanship never seen before and rarely after her time.


the prologue to part one of Olympia, which takes place in Greece.  the music is by Vangelis and added later

again from part one, the running of the Olympic torch to the stadium

btw:  while the lighting of the Olympic flame at the stadium began for the modern games at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, the whole shebang of lighting the torch in Greece and running it to the stadium through different countries and all that was invented for the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  this one.  ….the more you know

towards the end of part two.  the fantastic diving sequence.  breathtaking

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One thought on “thirty movies hath november – Olympia (1938)

  1. While I do like some sports, I just never really got into the olympics so much. Ever. Even with the darkness of the whole Nazi theme in or around this, I just don't know. Hmmm…

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