Olympia

Bathing Beauty 1944

Every four years, the Olympics happen in the summer, and the greatest athletes in the world gather and compete for glory, and sometimes they let Zhang Yimou or Danny Boyle do weird things with lots of money. They used to also have Olympics in the winter the same year, but because fewer people took notice, they moved those Olympics to the second year between every four for the real Olympics. Now, even though alpine skiers are doing insane lactic acid-filled feats, and snowboarders show up higher than balls and still do things normal people can barely even describe when they’re that stoned, the Winter Olympics can’t catch a break. So, since the Winter version gets the raw end of the deal, it’s not surprising that when researching for this listology concept, Summer Olympians were easier to find then their frozen counterparts. However, the sheer variety of films made by Olympians is fascinating.

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Criterion Files

One major aspect of the Nazi propaganda machine that gained their support from the German people was their promotion of nostalgia. And like any form of nostalgia (and especially in nostalgia’s frequent political function), this was a selective nostalgia, decidedly exploiting certain tropes and icons of German history and heritage. A major component of this nostalgia was the promotion of nature as the means of returning to pure German identity. Nature provided a convenient contrast to the values that the Nazi party wanted to work against, and it’s opposite – the urban center – was the focal point of all they problems they perceived Germany as having been misguided by, most explicitly centralized in the supposed decadence of 1920s Berlin. The political, aesthetic, and sexual aspirations (not to mention the diversity) of the Weimar period posed a threat to the ideals of tradition, uniformity, and the assumed hierarchy of specific social roles. This nostalgic and romantic preoccupation with nature is readily available in German cultural products of the 1920s and 30s. Anybody who has seen Inglourious Basterds (2009) is familiar with the “mountain film,” or “bergfilme” genre that had peaked by this point. This genre was popular years before the Third Reich took power, and its prevalence speaks volumes to the German peoples’ preoccupation with nature leading up to the Hitler’s rise to power. Leni Riefenstahl, perhaps the most famous of Nazi-era filmmakers, starred in mountain films and went onto make Olympia (1938) and Triumph of the Will (1935), a […]

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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.26.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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published: 11.21.2014
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