Thursday, April 29, 2010

1932 - THE BLUE LIGHT, Riefenstahl's story of romantic fatalism is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen.

None of the stills on this post will do justice to The Blue Light one of the most beautiful black and white films I have seen.  The director/star Leni Riefenstahl had at her disposal some of the top German technicians working in their film business at that time.  This group managed to find a way to film subtle shades of gray throughout the film to achieve incredibly beautiful visual effects 

The Blue Light is a very simple story about a mountain girl who has discovered the secret of a mysterious source of glowing light from a mountain near her home.  The villagers in the small town beneath the mountain have already lost 4 men who have attempted to follow her to discover her secret.  They also believe she is a witch who has entranced these men to their death.  Admittedly the story is a little thin, but it does allow the filmmakers to stage some incredible mountain climbing scenes.

In this film, Riefenstahl is very carefully photographed to make her seem almost a creature from another dimension.  I suppose you could label this film a uber fascist fairy tale, with this emphasis on this pure untouched creature interacting with her rugged environment, that theme is strongly interwoven into the narrative.

Leni Riefenstahl will always be a controversial filmmaker.  Her association with Hitler and the Nazi party followed her to her death.  Her degree of involvement with the Nazi's has been subject to a lot of speculation, but if her naivety about the Nazis was as real as she claims, her association with them probably still made her a dangerous person since she helped to propagate their Aryan fantasy.  She always acted the role of the misunderstood artist her entire life.

The film has a strong Teutonic theme running throughout it.   It's possible Riefenstahl was attempting to create a myth much like Fritz Lang's Die Nibelung Saga.  Leni Riefenstahl always thought epic when she filmed, look at Olympia.

86 minutes.

Still an impressive film, one of the most beautiful I have seen.  The Blue Light shows how very talented filmmakers working with 1930's equipment and filming in black and white, can equal or even surpass a lot of films shot in color and widescreen.

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