By Karin Wieland
Magisterial in scope, this twin biography examines advanced lives that started alike yet ended on contrary aspects of the century's maximum conflict.
Born on the sunrise of the 20th century, Leni Riefenstahl and Marlene Dietrich either got here of age in Weimar Berlin, a time of significant political ferment. Glamour and decadence thrived beside abject poverty, and the German capital's outpouring of literature, type, and movie marked it because the most important eu city. As younger women of this period, Dietrich and Riefenstahl lived so on the subject of one another that Riefenstahl may see into Dietrich's condo from the roof of her construction. either ladies seized upon the innovative strength of the Nineteen Twenties, looking careers at the degree and in film.
In 1929, filmmakers have been casting what might develop into the long-lasting function of Lola-Lola (who made "Falling in Love Again" a sensation) within the groundbreaking sound movie The Blue Angel. Riefenstahl—whose paintings in her "mountain films" had already made her a countrywide logo for the athletic rigor and lively independence of the recent Woman—hoped for the half yet didn't get it. just a couple of years later she grew to become the legit filmmaker of the 3rd Reich. Dietrich, although, received the function and the adoration of hundreds of thousands whilst she moved to Hollywood and redefined the "vixen" for a brand new era.
While Dietrich's narrow and androgynous attractiveness made her a way icon whose effect will be obvious to at the present time, Riefenstahl's personal iconography isn't any much less indelible. together with her paintings on of the main notorious—if artistically sophisticated—propaganda movies of all time—Triumph of the need and Olympia—Riefenstahl was once a progenitor of fascist symbolism. After the warfare she proclaimed her lack of knowledge of Hitler's reasons, yet she may perhaps by no means thoroughly distance herself from her Nazi collaboration. Dietrich vehemently condemned Hitler in the course of international warfare II and located a renewed experience of objective traveling with the USO, yet accordingly she may well by no means conveniently go back to her local Germany.
Both ladies have been "prodigies of will, self-discipline, patience, self-reinvention, and exaltation of the physique in all its muscular, androgynous, pose-striking pagan glory" (James Wolcott), and either had their grand passions, yet neither deserted ambition for the sake of affection. As award-winning biographer Karin Wieland indicates, of their later years, either ladies grappled with controlling their image—Riefenstahl via pursuing an extra occupation in images, and Dietrich via finally hiding at domestic as her well-known good looks used to be ravaged by means of time.
Skillfully juxtaposing those interesting lives, Wieland brings to brilliant lifestyles a time of foreign upheaval, chronicling radical evolutions of politics, status, and femininity on a grand degree. interpreting the ethical accountability of the artist, Wieland poses questions as deeply suitable to our century as to the final. A magisterial portrait of 2 diverging yet lasting photographs of the trendy lady, Dietrich & Riefenstahl is "a superb" (Die Zeit) landscape of the 20 th century.