Cinematography and Youth in Triumph des Willens

Triump des Willens (1935) succeeds in convincing the viewer that Adolf Hitler’s rise—and the rise of the Nazi party, was an enthusiastic national movement that served as the core of Germany’s ascension to dominance. The camera work is marvelous. The cameras spend the majority of time with their lenses pointed upwards at Hitler’s face or the structure upon which he stands, a subtle yet effective tactic to generate a larger than life feel. The long shots used in Trimph des Willens are the longest I have seen done in a film so aged, and are strategically placed to absorb as much of the parade or rally as possible. The music accompanying the shots in between the cuts of Hitler’s speeches are very upbeat, which exudes a type of happiness—almost eagerness that the Nazi’s are feeling at the opportunity to participate (although, many of them seem quite austere).

At the forty-five minute mark, Hitler addresses the young men of Germany, who are known as the Hitler Youth or Hitlerjugend. Males and females between the ages of 10-18 were indoctrinated into this program, which began in 1922 and ceased activity in 1945. The Hitler Youth were seen as the future of German purity, and had Nazi ideologies instilled on them at an early age, as well as physical training, military training, and academia. The Nazi Party also used them as spies in order to gain control over the Church to gain ground in the power struggle between the Church and state. Similarities can be drawn between the activities the Hitler Youth were involved in and American Boy Scouts, as they were trained in basic skills that could be very useful in dire situations. The Hitler Youth were groomed to be the next generation of the Schutzstaffel or SS, meaning protection squadron.

5 thoughts on “Cinematography and Youth in Triumph des Willens

  1. I am glad that you brought up the cinematic elements of this film. Although it is so inextricably tied to Nazism, the quality of the filmmaking and the innovations that Riefenstahl implemented are undeniable. Because you mentioned the musical score, you might be interested to know that Riefenstahl had to conduct the music herself. The crank cameras caused the various shots of the marching sequences to appear out of sync with one another, and thus the orchestra had to constantly shift tempo in order to match that of the film. This is yet another example of the attention to detail that has allowed “Triumph of the Will” to persist as a hallmark of cinematic innovation despite its purpose as propaganda.

  2. Good blog. I think that you did a good job by focusing on 2 important aspects of the movie- the propaganda towards the young boys and girls, and the technical aspects of the movie.

  3. Your analysis of the camera work and how strove to depict Hitler as larger than life is interesting and something that I did not notice. I also found it interesting how the camera would focus on a particular individual in the crowd at times. This person usually embodied the ideals of the Aryan race, with pale skin and blonde hair. I agree that the music was triumphant, and the use of trumpets made it almost regal during the marching.

  4. Interesting post. I believe the author does one of the best job analyzing the cinematography of the film. As for his description of the role of youth groups, I do agree that the youth groups had a major impact in the culture of Nazi Germany and the author does discuss the implications this has on their lives. Based on their role in Triumph of the Will, the author seems to skirt the issue but does at least attempt to address it.

  5. I have seen your post really very informative, you have mentioned about Triump des Willens how he made his theory was accepted by people the yhe rise of nazi party was an enthusiastic movement. I also agree with this. Please tell how hitler convinced young men to join his party?.

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