Leni Riefenstahl was born in 1902 in Berlin.As a child, she was shielded from the impacts of WWI and the social hardships of hyperinflation and the depression. As a young girl she excelled in athletics and gymnastics, but her passion was dancing.
She completed her formal schooling in boarding school and then went on to become a skilled dancer. She began her work in 1921 under the guidance of Max Reinhardt and traveled around Europe performing. In 1925, her dancing career suffered a severe setback when she seriously injured her knee. Despite this setback, she became increasingly confident and she developed a love for acting. She was hired by Arnold Fanck and starred in 5 movies between 1926 and 1933. Her two earliest films were Holy Mountain and Blue light, both of which were predominantly filmed in the mountains. Leni exposed her true bravery and confidence, doing all the mountain climbing scenes herself.
These works ran parallel to the culture and style of Weimar and she was seen as "a woman in a man's world".
In 1932, she attended a Nazi rally in Berlin where Hitler spoke. She was fascinated by the way be captured the crowd under his hypnotic effect. Later that year she arranged for a meeting between her and Hitler. This began a strong friendship between the two which lasted up until the end of the war. After the Hitler came to power, he offered her the chance to make films for the new government. After much persuasion on Hitler's behalf, Leni agreed and she went on to document the Nuremberg rallies of 1933, entitled Victory of Faith. The film was unsuccessful and the overall effect was disappointing. Leni used this as a learning experience to master her techniques for future films.
Against her will, she...