On September 5, 1934 in Nazi Germany, the Reich Party Day was celebrated. This was a show of force to the rest of the world, like our Fleet Day. It was also meant to make the Germans feel proud to be German again. To feel that they were part of something greater than themselves. Triumph Of The Will was commissioned to give those who couldn’t be at Party Day that same feeling of pride or feeling of fear depending on whether you were in German or not.
Director Leni Riefenstahl more than rose to this challenge. She produced a piece of propaganda that rises to the level of art. Much in the way that almost all of the Soviet Union’s early films did, such as The Battleship Potemkin (1925). We see and feel the enormity of the Nazi party literally and figuratively as we watch wave after wave of troops. We also get shots of the individuals, particularly adolescents, who are looking with pride towards Hitler. Despite these individual shots, we never feel that we are dealing with a collection of separate people, but rather a mass. The only individual is Hitler, who we are reminded is Germany. We get glimpses of the hatred for the “impure” in this film, but for the most part this could have been Bush addressing the U.S. Military. The subject isn’t really important, simply the way it has been displayed.
I know this is a controversial film, but it is worth seeing. I have included the full film below.