Olympia (1938)

Posted: April 4, 2018 in Uncategorized

Some of the most astonishing cinematography and dramatic editing you’ll ever see.

  1. Grace Lebrecht says:

    Not only is the video itself so cool, I have always loved seeing how sports change over time. It’s amazing to me how far everything has come in recent history, and how much more talented athletes are becoming

    • The video is indeed interesting and impressive. Many of the cinematographic effects you see were created specially for this documentary. The thing to bear in mind is that the same is true of Triumph of The Will, the Nazi propaganda film created by the same director, Leni Riefenstahl. My interest here is not in the athleticism, per se, but rather in the way the human body, or reality, is depicted and constructed through cinematic techniques, and how this process is entirely tied of up with politics. In a word, I would entreat you to look at this footage through the eyes of Walter Benjamin.

  2. Collin Andersen says:

    I was interested in the expert fade outs, such as the Olympic bell. I know next to nothing about film, but it occurs to me that you could alternate the two images about 50/50 in the middle, while increasing the proportion of the opposite image near the start and end of the fade.
    Extremely impressive filming. The entirety of the Nazi films were flavored with an expressive feeling of might. Opposed to them, I would have felt intimidated watching. If I was aligned, confidence and pride. The scene where the flags dip to receive their laurels seemed two parts effective. First, in the message that the games are concluded and the victors announced. But second, it appeared that the flags of the world were bowing in sequence, perhaps in respect or in submission to Germany and its games.

    • Yes. It is impossible to see these films and not be impressed by Riefenstahl’s feeling for editing as orchestration. Precisely because of this almost irresistible power that Benjamin calls for the careful scrutiny of film techniques, as well as an analysis into the larger socio-economo-political context these films both created and exploited.

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