Great clouds: shame about the film

German film director Leni Riefenstahl

German film director Leni Riefenstahl

It’s one of life’s little ironies that one of the most stunning cinematic cloud sequences appears in a Nazi propaganda film.

Leni Riefenstahl’s 1935 Triumph of the Will, commissioned by Hitler to portray him as the leader destined to rebuild Germany as a great power, makes uncomfortable viewing, even as an historical document.

However, despite the appalling subject matter, students of cinema have long recognised that Riefenstahl used ground-breaking techniques, including aerial photography.

The good news is that the cloud footage, shot from a plane, comes right at the beginning of the film, so you don’t have to fast-forward your way through reels of fascist flag waving.

Our thanks to filmmaker Koldo Almandoz (member 13286), who came across the footage while researching Nazi cinema.

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