After being commissioned by the 1936 Olympic Committee to create a feature film of the Berlin Olympics, Riefenstahl shot a documentary that celebrates the human body by combining the poetry of bodies in motion with close-ups of athletes in the heat of competition. Includes the marathon, men's diving, and American track star Jesse Owen's sprint races at the 1936 Olympic games. The production tends to glorify the young male body and, some say, expresses the Nazi attitude toward athletic prowess. Includes the lighting of the torch at the stadium and Adolf Hitler looking on in amazement as Jesse Owens wins an unprecedented four Gold Medals.
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[Taken from the German Arthaus DVD commentary] Director Leni Riefenstahl
ended up with 400,000 meters (1.3 million feet) of raw footage, which she first whittled down to the best 100,000 meters, of which 6,000 made it to the final cut. Every meter had to be meticulously cataloged according to discipline, athlete and event. Riefenstahl used five editing rooms to accomplish the task, which took her 18 months, with only basic, practical assistance. See more
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