The Blue Light, or Das blue Licht, is a film written and directed by Leni Riefenstahl. If her name sounds familiar, it is because Riefenstahl was one of Hitler’s favorite directors. During the mid to the late 1930s, she directed Triumph of Will and Olympia, arguably two of the most innovative propaganda films ever made.
To be honest, I was not sure what to expect with this film, but the cinematography is stunning. The Blue Light is based on a peasant legend from the Austrian and Italian Alps. Junta, played by Riefenstahl, is thought to be a witch by the village in the valley of the Crystal Mountain. They believe she seduces the young men of the village and lures them up the mountain only to let them fall to their deaths. As the film progresses, it becomes clear Junta is an innocent and mystical character. The true monsters are the villagers themselves.
The cut I watched said it included the original soundtrack, which sounded more like ambient grunge than an actual soundtrack from the 1930s. I found this clip and it appears to be from the re-released 1951 version of the film. It is far more grand and appealing.
You might have noticed I spent more time on this entry. As an artist myself, it is hard for me to wrestle with the morals of Leni Riefenstahl, but at the same time she has greatly influenced modern filmmaking and should be given due credit for her work.
Click here for a full list of films I will be watching and illustrating.