She refused to see the link between art and politics.

Thursday, 27 June 1996  12:30pm

Howdy Sis,

Went and saw that film last night, The Wonderful Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl.  Kind of sad in a way, I think she got a bit of a bum rap.  Raised some interesting points about art and politics though.  In particular, the notion of a ‘Fascist Aesthetic’ interested me.  Susan Sontag accused Leni of continuing this fascist aesthetic in her post-Nazi work with Nuba tribes in Africa.  This fascist aesthetic is summed in her Nazi stuff like Triumph of the Will (you’d know this if you saw it, it’s standard Nazi footage) and Olympiad, the film made of the Berlin Olympics.  She really was ahead of her time.  It’s just a shame she was blinded by her obsession with her art to the consequences of it.  She refused to see the link between art and politics.  The fascist aesthetic is a load of hogwash though, if you ask me.  I think that her particular vision, her obsession with male beauty and strength are not intrinsically fascist, though her subject matter and the socio-political milieu in which it was made was.  I reckon if she was 30 now she’d be making Nike ads.  In fact, Nike ads bear a rather striking resemblance to some of her work from Olympiad. She completely revolutionized sports photography.  It’s just a shame she used Hitler’s money to do it.  There’s also some dodgy stuff about her and Goebbels (they might have been doin’ to the do) and she had this boyfriend, Horst, forty years her junior.  That makes him 50.  Yep, a fifty year old living with a ninety year old.  He helps her with the movies she’s making these days, underwater.  She scuba-dives at ninety.  She was pretty amazing really, but try and get her to apologize for making those Nazi films and – POW! – off she goes.  She’s got a real temper.  You should see this film if you get a chance, Sis.  Be warned though, it does go for about three hours or so.

Got home about 2am after a post-film hot chocolate in Chapel Street with Pippa and finished off this book of short stories that she loaned me by Italo Calvino called Adam, One Afternoon.  It was really good, reminded me of Herman Hesse’s short stories.  I loaned her two of them yesterday.  I must write down somewhere all the books I’ve loaned to people or they’ll run off with my reading riches.

Went to the Myer VIP Sale pre-movie.  I must say I was a bit disappointed.  They were letting absolutely anyone in.  There was no feeling of exclusivity at all.  I did get the bargain of a life time though.  There’s this beautiful Manchester from Egypt that is so expensive.  A queen size quilt cover is, like, $300.  I got it half price! Well I didn’t actually buy the quilt cover, I cheated a little. I bought a double size flat sheet in this gold sort of color. Next I buy a cheap double size flat sheet and sew them together (I say me, but I mean Mum) to make a queen size quilt cover (this does actually work).  I also got two pillow cases that are normally $65 each, but a 50% discount off, it’s $65 for the two.  They’re the same pattern as the sheet.  I put ’em on lay-by and will pick them up in a week or two.  And then this morning I got up early and came in to David Jones for the Half-Yearly Clearance and got some Krosno Martina glasses and some Champagne flutes at less than half-price.  I also got a Yves St Laurent shirt for $40 (the plastic bag had a hole melted in it, but the shirt is fine.  I double checked).

Went shopping again yesterday (Friday) bought two Van Heusen shirts, one from David Jones (a white one) and one from Myer (dark grey) which I had to lay-by. Both $27.  I checked out the Calvin Klein undies in Myer, and there were some from about $13, but they were really ugly ones with this lame pattern on them.  I thought about buying them and sewing the elastic onto a nicer pair of boxer shorts, but it seemed a bit ridiculous. and imagine if the one you’re trying to seduce picked them as sham knickers! Trés embarrassing, don’t you think Sis?



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