Leni Riefenstahl has secured her place in cinema history, but her story remains a sensitive topic. At just 23 years old, she achieved fame as a daredevil actress in Germany's popular mountain films. Her first film as a director, DAS BLAUE LICHT, captivated audiences in Germany and abroad. By 1932 one of her most ardent admirers was Adolf Hitler. In 1934 he offered her the chance to make a film, with all the resources of the Nazi Party at her disposal. Perhaps unable to refuse the man she found so charismatic and perhaps recognizing this as the opportunity of a lifetime, she made TRIUMPH DES WILLENS. The film glorifies the Nazi Party and later would bring an abrupt end to her filmmaking career. Riefenstahl's next project, OLYMPIA, also caused a great deal of excitement. An almost four-hour-long documentary record of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, OLYMPIA was showered with prizes and recognised long after the war as one of the ten best films ever made.
Leni Riefenstahl became an outcast after the war, but tried to pursue her artistic endeavours with characteristic determination and enthusiasm. In 1952 she finally completed her film TIEFLAND, a project started during the war. In the 1960s she went to Africa, creating her world famous photo essays on the Nuba tribes. At the age of 72 she began scuba diving. Leni Riefenstahl turned 100 years of age in 2002.