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  #26  
Old February 22nd, 2007, 06:09 PM
nosivad_bor nosivad_bor is offline
Rob Davison
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnlee

Eisenstein's work is interesting only when viewed as a stage in the development of the film arts. Nothing more. In contrast, Riefenstahl's work is not dated at all. It's much more timeless than Eisenstein's work. And I'm not talking about the film quality or sound.

you know i hate to do this but i must agree with john 100% on this point.
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  #27  
Old February 22nd, 2007, 06:34 PM
greghirst greghirst is offline
Greg Hirst
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I think your personal dislike of Riefenstahl as a person and the regime she successfully propagandized taints your view of her work.

She was a flawed, even disgusting person. That doesn't change her artistry or technical expertise.

Eisenstein pioneered many cinematographic techniques later copied by Hitchcock. Does that mean Hitchcock has no talent?

Henry Ford was an avowed anti-semite and supporter of Hitler. I've heard they both had pictures of the other on their respective desks. If you research a bit you will find that there is evidence that Ford Motor Company actively supported Hitler's rise to power. Does that mean Ford had no talent in mass production of automobiles?
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  #28  
Old February 22nd, 2007, 08:13 PM
thomaskimura thomaskimura is offline
Thomas Kimura
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John's right about the Soviets. I mean just look at the way they climb on everything...
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  #29  
Old February 23rd, 2007, 02:07 PM
matttaylor matttaylor is offline
Matt Taylor
 
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I think if you guys are comparing the film makers to one another, subject matter should be thrown out to whatever extent that you can.

Personally, I find both subjects oppressive to view, though the Nazi stuff is certainly more interesting.
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  #30  
Old February 23rd, 2007, 04:44 PM
nosivad_bor nosivad_bor is offline
Rob Davison
 
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I was traveling thru easter europe some years ago and while I was in budapest I picked up a flyer for the "statue graveyard"

http://www.szoborpark.hu/index.php?Lang=en

If you goto the visitors pages on the left you can access pictures of the various communist and cold war era statues and stuff. I really wanted to visit but ran out of time so I never made it

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  #31  
Old February 23rd, 2007, 06:05 PM
johnlee johnlee is offline
John Lee
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This talk of old movies reminded me of one of my all-time favorites:





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  #32  
Old February 23rd, 2007, 06:13 PM
greghirst greghirst is offline
Greg Hirst
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Rob, the statue of the hands would make a nice yard ornament. Plant some cactus and rocks around it. Add some fake rock speakers playing non-stop Grateful Dead.

It would be a nice counterpoint to the London Bridge.
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  #33  
Old February 23rd, 2007, 06:30 PM
nosivad_bor nosivad_bor is offline
Rob Davison
 
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it would certainly be the sweetest lawn orb i've ever seen.
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  #34  
Old February 23rd, 2007, 06:33 PM
johnlee johnlee is offline
John Lee
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Not as good as It Happened one Night, but what a beautiful woman:





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  #35  
Old February 23rd, 2007, 07:42 PM
parantaeyang parantaeyang is offline
Won Park
 
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“Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm... As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

- Audrey Hepburn
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  #36  
Old February 23rd, 2007, 07:52 PM
parantaeyang parantaeyang is offline
Won Park
 
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even at old age, she looked beautiful

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  #37  
Old February 23rd, 2007, 08:09 PM
parantaeyang parantaeyang is offline
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  #38  
Old February 27th, 2007, 02:33 PM
JSQ JSQ is offline
Jack Quinlan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greghirst
I think your personal dislike of Riefenstahl as a person and the regime she successfully propagandized taints your view of her work.

She was a flawed, even disgusting person. That doesn't change her artistry or technical expertise.

Eisenstein pioneered many cinematographic techniques later copied by Hitchcock. Does that mean Hitchcock has no talent?

Henry Ford was an avowed anti-semite and supporter of Hitler. I've heard they both had pictures of the other on their respective desks. If you research a bit you will find that there is evidence that Ford Motor Company actively supported Hitler's rise to power. Does that mean Ford had no talent in mass production of automobiles?


Not at all.

Her personal actions and politics are what make her a "pathetic loser", but in examining simply her film efforts I cannot find her the equal of Eisenstein.

She has two very solid documentaries to her credit. Everything else she did was crap. Either a lame rehash of the films she starred in or pale likenesses of her documentaries. Her technical cinematographic skill is very very good. But that's all she gave us. Eisenstein gave us documentary, history and epic. There is not a single serious student of film who doesn't strive to understand and use the force and scale of Eisenstein's works.

John likens Eisenstein to the Mosin Nagant revolver presumably to try to give him footnote status but the opposite is true. Eisenstein is one of the most pervasive honored filmmakers of all time. His achievements are recognized over and over again by individual artists and film societies. You cannot film a revolutionary history without him. You cannot even film a battle scene without him. His influence is everywhere. In comparison, Riefenstahl is an odd and singular instance of talent that applies only to a very narrow genre of film and technique. You know what the two most often noted instances of Leni's influence are? Raiders of the Lost Arc and Star Wars Episode 3: A New Hope. Those are fun films, but it's basically a joke. Eisenstein is everywhere. His storytelling carries a gravity that all filmmakers hope for. In many ways Riefenstahl is like Man Ray. She did some cool things with a camera, but its influence is limited. Man Ray was a master, but how many photograms do we shoot?

John loves Riefenstahl because he thinks she elevates the beautiful. Such adoration has done little over the course of film in comparison to the examination of the painful, the grotesque and the genuine. Harsh reality has served society and art far more then mindless self-congratulatory idolatry. Leni's oversimplified and disingenuine portrayal fits well into Nazi Germany's valuation of art. Their banning of "degenerate art" managed to exclude them from some of the fantastic German modern artists of the 20th century. It's like they were trying to live out a second Baroque and it makes me want to puke. Grosz is degenerate? Please.

John seems to believe like Leni that her subject matter is endlessly worthy of her adoration and he goes on to contrast it with what he sees as ape-like lesser humans. He draws the same racial distinctions that the Nazis clung to, but strangely Leni later does not. As is typical of her contradiction and retraction, her last offering was a collection of photos of a dwindling African tribe The Last of the Nuba. I laugh to think how the siren of the master race ended up photographing tribal blacks. I doubt very much that John would see the same beauty in her later work, but Leni may well have believed in it, at least at the time.

Central to this worship is the characteristic which makes clear to me, what I previously stated, that Nazi-Germany is "the MOST degenerate culture." That is, the sacrifice of the individual and the abandonment of independent intelligent thought. The Nazis strove to give themselves up wholly to their nation-state and its leader. Ultimately they are degenerate because without introspection they worship the deplorable. Furthermore they are death-worshippers just like the Nuba. The Nazis exalt the manic and insecure and they are cast in a foolish tragedy. Nazi Germany identified as their enemy the culture within that they saw as most independent and intellectual: the German Jews. The traditions of creative thought and personal worth that had long existed in the German Jewish culture are the very principle foundations of Western Democratic thought and they stood in direct contradiction to the animalistic pack following that the Nazi's choose for Germany. I see in the Socialist/Communist dogma of Eisenstein's Russia a far more noble elevation of the individual as a highly validated and refined working cog in the social machinery. The success of the Communist state may have differed in reality, but the principle was to measure it by the individual success and health of the members of the collective and total them in bar graph fashion. Nazi Germany on the other hand worshipped only the state and the leader and demanded the consumption of its citizens as testament to their mindless labor.

In the Nuba as in the Nazis Riefenstahl saw dominance over other men in combat as the supreme edification of the being. Basic physical carnal conflict as the measure of man. What could be more base? What could represent a greater devolution of the human race than a reversion to society based entirely on the triumph of physical bearing rather than critical intellectual thought?

Her art betrays the many flaws of her inglorious worship. It is inseparable. One cannot look upon the work of Riefenstahl in the bright light of day because it is forever cast in the dark shadow of its aims. We cannot watch her films without viewing her subject not merely as she would show it to us, but also as what we know it to be. No more so can we view the work of Eisenstein outside of the Communist tragedy/reality. What draws the two apart is the rich and powerful cinematic value of Sergei's work. Eisenstein was the original master of the epic. The scope of his undertakings was so grandiose one may very well have to credit him with the concept of the "blockbuster". The casts of thousands and miles of footage that were the trademark of Eisenstein infused film with a pervasive Russian flavor that certainly still exists to this day. Without color, picture quality, CGI or any other modern tricks he made films that were BIG. His movies were as big as the country that they came from and they were that way long before it was cliché.
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  #39  
Old February 27th, 2007, 05:10 PM
JSQ JSQ is offline
Jack Quinlan
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Not only is Eisensteins influence still broadreaching today, but in addition to the numerous showings of his work, artists continue to adapt it.

Here is a live soundtrack performance to footage from his never-realized epic Que Viva Mexico:

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  #40  
Old February 27th, 2007, 06:10 PM
johnlee johnlee is offline
John Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSQ
Eisenstein is one of the most pervasive honored filmmakers of all time. His achievements are recognized over and over again by individual artists and film societies. You cannot film a revolutionary history without him. You cannot even film a battle scene without him. His influence is everywhere. In comparison, Riefenstahl is an odd and singular instance of talent that applies only to a very narrow genre of film and technique. You know what the two most often noted instances of Leni's influence are? Raiders of the Lost Arc and Star Wars Episode 3: A New Hope. Those are fun films, but it's basically a joke. Eisenstein is everywhere. His storytelling carries a gravity that all filmmakers hope for.


So Eisenstein is that pervasive? He's "everywhere"?

Is that why the best example of this pervasiveness that you can come up with is some third-rate band playing the same notes over and over again while the "epic" Que Viva Mexico plays in the background?

Come on, Jack. You can do better than that. Give me something better than that. You mention Star Wars. (Wasn't that Episode IV and not Episode III?) Take this scene from Triumph of the Will:




Substitue Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca in there and it's basically the end of Star Wars. Show me some concrete examples of Eisenstein like this. If Eisenstein's work is "everywhere" as you claim, school me.
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  #41  
Old February 27th, 2007, 07:06 PM
johnlee johnlee is offline
John Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSQ
John likens Eisenstein to the Mosin Nagant revolver presumably to try to give him footnote status but the opposite is true. Eisenstein is one of the most pervasive honored filmmakers of all time.


Actually, you were the one who brought up pistols when you compared Eisenstein to the Triple Lock. You were the one who opened the door to the gun talk.

I replied this is a joke and said that if we're going to compare Eisenstein to pistols, he's more this than he is a Triple Lock:




That's an 1895 Nagant revolver. As its name suggest, it was adopted in 1895 by Russia. This pile of shit was obsolete the day it was adopted.

The 1895's "revolutionary" feature is that the cylinder retracts, turns, and then moves forward to seal against the barrel. Thus, the barrel-to-cylinder gap is eliminated. Big fucking deal.

Had Nagant ever bothered to measure, he would have found that the velocity loss with a conventional revolver's barrel-to-cylinder gap is minimal and not worth the added complexity of the 1895 Nagant's design.

The 1895 Nagant fans consistently point out that it is the only revolver that is suitable for fitment with a sound suppressor. Too bad the sound suppressor hadn't even been invented yet in 1895.

Let's compare the 1895 Nagant to some of its contemporaries and we will see how it was outdated the day it was adopted.

The 1895 Nagant is a pile of shit. It came out in 1895 and it is unloaded and loaded through a loading gate like the Single Action Army? This thing is a joke. Here's a Single Action Army:




The Colt's Single Action Army was adopted in 1873, more than 20 years before the 1895 Nagant. And this was a time when repeating weapons technology was progressing at a lightning-fast rate. 20 years during this period is like 50 or even 100 years in today's smallarms development.

The Single Action Army evolved into the Colt Lightning:




The Lightning came out in 1877, still almost 20 years before the Nagant. The Lightning is basically a Single Action Army with a double-action trigger and a butt shape more suited to double-action fire. It's the tactical equivalent of the 1895 Nagant. It has everything the Nagant has except for the reciprocating cylinder, which is a useless feature anyway and adds a great amount of complexity to the revolver's already delicate mechanisms. The Lightning is, if anything, superior to the Nagant.

Almost at the same time as the Lightning came the Smith & Wesson Model 3 Frontier, commonly known as the Schofield:




The Schofield was adopted in 1875. That's two years before the Lightning and exactly 20 years before the adoption of the 1895 Nagant. The Schofield had a top-break action for rapid ejection and reloading. The 1895 features single ejection and single loading. Authorities disagree as to whether the Lightning or the Schofield is the superior design, the Lightning having a double-action trigger and the Schofield having a faster reload. What is not in doubt, however, is that both are superior to the Nagant, even though they are older.

Oh, so you say the 1895 Nagant has double-action and the Schofield doesn't? Let's look at the Webley:




The Webley revolver was adopted in 1887, fully eight years before the adoption of the 1895 Nagant. The Webley is a double-action revolver like the Nagant, but it is a top-break design like the Schofield. Cartridges need not be ejected and loaded through a single loading gate like on the 1895 Nagant. Why? Because the Webley's designers combined the attributes of the pre-existing Lightning and Schofield designs. They were actually smart about it.

Somehow the top break design, which had been around 20 years before the adoption of the 1895 Nagant, didn't make it onto the Nagant. Apparently, Nagant thought that a sealing cylinder mechanism was more important. Why he thought this I have no idea.

So, the 1895 Nagant was a clump of shit. Its complex combination of both a reciprocating and revolving cylinder were completely unnecessary and it was slow and clumsy to reload. Its design ignored the developments of pistols that came 20 years before it.

All of the foregoing does not apply to the Triple Lock in any way. The Triple Lock came out in 1908 I believe, and it's the equal of the modern, double-action revolver as we know it today in terms of mechanical design. The Triple Lock features a rebounding hammer for safe carry of six cartridges in the cylinder. The Triple Lock's swing-out cylinder is the same design used today. It's not dated at all. In fact, it defined what the modern revolver is today. It has never been equaled by any subsequent revolver.

Now, I'll compare the 1895 Nagant to Eisenstein's work and provide the reasons why I think it's more appropriate to compare Eisenstein to a Nagant than a Triple Lock.

Like Nagant, Eisenstein lived in a period of rapid development of the motion picture arts and sciences. And he ignored many of the developments happening around him.

Here's that Aleksandr Nevsky that you love so much:




Nevsky came out in 1938? You call that a timeless work, like the Triple Lock? That's a joke. Nevsky is so dated. It's Charlie Chaplin Meets the Keystone Cops. The close-ups on the faces is so old. It's overacting caricatures like in the silent films, only there is sound here. The lines are so cheesy too. They're just like "It's him!". "Die where you stand". "Long live the noble workers of the proletariat". "Four legs good, two legs bad". Whatever. Like Nagant, Eisenstein lived in a period of very rapid development but ignored the technological and artistic developments that happened before him and that were occurring around him.

Triumph of the Will came out in 1934 or 1935 I believe. Compare this to Nevsky:




The two look decades apart. Here are some from Olympia:










When did Olympia come out? 1937? 1938? The same time as Nevsky, but they look decades apart.

When did Gone with the Wind come out? 1939? I think It Happened one Night came out in 1934. Compare Nevksy to these works and it's not even in the same league. These movies are modern movies that are very watchable today. Eisenstein's stuff is history. It's interesting only when viewed as a stage in the development of the film arts and nothing more.

Watching Eisenstein's work, I can't help but get the feeling he was one of those people who poo-pooed the developments going on around him, because the developments weren't his. Eisenstein was undoubtedly a pioneer in the motion picture arts and sciences. But as the motion picture arts and sciences quickly developed around him, he stayed with his original, Keystone Cops style. Even that Que Viva Mexico footage looks like his earlier junk. The edits during the bullfighting scenes are crap. It's the same old Eisenstein shit all over again.

Eisenstein reminds me of the Wright Brothers. They invented powered flight and were early innovators, but they quickly fell by the wayside as they insisted on sticking to their original design and ignored the developments very quickly happening around them. I get distinctly the same feel from Eisenstein's work.

Comparing Eisenstein to a Triple Lock is a joke. If he's any pistol at all, he's a 1895 Nagant.

OK, let's hear your reasons why Eisenstein is a Triple Lock. I want reasons. Not conclusions. Please don't give me something like this again:


Quote:
Originally Posted by JSQ
The Mp18 was the first viable submachinegun in history. It may not be the ultimate infantry small arm, but the submachinegun has definitely left its mark.
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  #42  
Old February 27th, 2007, 07:53 PM
johnlee johnlee is offline
John Lee
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Torrance, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSQ
Central to this worship is the characteristic which makes clear to me, what I previously stated, that Nazi-Germany is "the MOST degenerate culture." That is, the sacrifice of the individual and the abandonment of independent intelligent thought. The Nazis strove to give themselves up wholly to their nation-state and its leader. Ultimately they are degenerate because without introspection they worship the deplorable. Furthermore they are death-worshippers just like the Nuba. The Nazis exalt the manic and insecure and they are cast in a foolish tragedy. Nazi Germany identified as their enemy the culture within that they saw as most independent and intellectual: the German Jews. The traditions of creative thought and personal worth that had long existed in the German Jewish culture are the very principle foundations of Western Democratic thought and they stood in direct contradiction to the animalistic pack following that the Nazi's choose for Germany. I see in the Socialist/Communist dogma of Eisenstein's Russia a far more noble elevation of the individual as a highly validated and refined working cog in the social machinery. The success of the Communist state may have differed in reality, but the principle was to measure it by the individual success and health of the members of the collective and total them in bar graph fashion. Nazi Germany on the other hand worshipped only the state and the leader and demanded the consumption of its citizens as testament to their mindless labor.


Wow. There are a lot of big words in there.

So let's break it down and take a look it, and see if it stands up to some examination.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JSQ
Central to this worship is the characteristic which makes clear to me, what I previously stated, that Nazi-Germany is "the MOST degenerate culture." That is, the sacrifice of the individual and the abandonment of independent intelligent thought. The Nazis strove to give themselves up wholly to their nation-state and its leader. Ultimately they are degenerate because without introspection they worship the deplorable.


The sacrifice of the individual and the abandonment of independent, intelligent thought? We're talking about the Germans here and not the Russians, right?

The Nazis strove to give themselves up wholly to their nation-state and its leader? Again, we're talking about the Germans here and nto the Russians, right?

You're serious, right? The NSDAP were a socialized state with a centralized economic agenda, that is certainly true. But didn't the Germans retain capitalism to a much higher degree than the Russians? Weren't the German companies still independently owned under Nazi rule?

Did the NSDAP seize Daimler-Benz and BMW and make them property of the state? Did the NSDAP seize Haenel and Walther and Mauser and make them property of the state? Were Mauserweke employees working for the state? Were the salaries of all workers standardized so that a janitor at Carl Zeiss made the same as the CEO of Mauserwerke, because NSDAP engaged in the pleasant fiction that all workers provided the same value to the state and the proletariat?

That's odd. That's not the history I know. We must have read different books.

Did German minds suddenly go to shit under Nazi rule? I thought the Americans were racing to build an atomic bomb because they thought the Germans were building one. Did the USA ever fear that the Soviets were racing to build an atomic bomb? I thought it was the Germans who developed all sorts of technologies that the American employed after the war, including the general-purpose machinegun, the assault rifle, the V2 rocket, the jet airplane, the Volkswagen, and the Leica camera. Did the Russians, with their many glorious communist thinkers, develop anything that the American or other Western countries use?


Quote:
Originally Posted by JSQ
Furthermore they are death-worshippers just like the Nuba. The Nazis exalt the manic and insecure and they are cast in a foolish tragedy.


So it was the Germans that sent its soldiers in human wave attacks against the Allies with no weapons at all because the life of a German was worth less to the state than the cost of a rifle and ammunition? That's odd. I had thought it was the Russians who did that.

Or perhaps you're confused because the Germans actually inculcated in their people the uncomfortable truth that they were expected to serve the Fatherland, while the Russians told their people the pleasant fiction that they were the most valuable part of Mother Russia's wealth?


Quote:
Originally Posted by JSQ
The traditions of creative thought and personal worth that had long existed in the German Jewish culture are the very principle foundations of Western Democratic thought and they stood in direct contradiction to the animalistic pack following that the Nazi's choose for Germany.


So the German Jews are the very principal (not principle) foundation of Western Democratic thought? That's a new one to me as well. How long did democracy exist in Germany before the rise and fall of the Third Reich? A few years? Did it work at all? And yet the German Jews are the foundation of Western Democratic thought? Hardly. Where do you get this stuff?


Quote:
Originally Posted by JSQ
I see in the Socialist/Communist dogma of Eisenstein's Russia a far more noble elevation of the individual as a highly validated and refined working cog in the social machinery. The success of the Communist state may have differed in reality, but the principle was to measure it by the individual success and health of the members of the collective and total them in bar graph fashion. Nazi Germany on the other hand worshipped only the state and the leader and demanded the consumption of its citizens as testament to their mindless labor.


Where do you get this bullshit? So communism is based upon the noble elevation of the individual? You're serious, right?

Communism in idealized form is the elimination of class (all persons, regardless of wealth or education or skill or whatever, are of the same worth to the state). It's the elimination of property (all persons, regardless of their intelligence, the amount they want to work or not work and regardless of their real worth to society, earn the same wage). Communism is the elimination of of the individual, not the glorification of it. It's the exact opposite of what you're saying.

And the foregoing pertains to communism in theory. Communism in practice was much, much worse. Who killed more innocent people? Who segregated its own people from the rest of the world so that they would not see the failures of their own policies? Who had to lock up its own people so that they would not bail? Who turned people into lazy fucks, not wanting to work or learn? Who destroyed more different cultures through spreading of its doctrines past its own borders? It's not even close.

I'm not defending the Nazis. They were bad dudes. But let's give credit where credit is due. The Communists were far, far worse.
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  #43  
Old February 27th, 2007, 08:08 PM
johnlee johnlee is offline
John Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSQ
In the Nuba as in the Nazis Riefenstahl saw dominance over other men in combat as the supreme edification of the being. Basic physical carnal conflict as the measure of man. What could be more base? What could represent a greater devolution of the human race than a reversion to society based entirely on the triumph of physical bearing rather than critical intellectual thought?


I haven't seen Riefenstahl's Africa phase. As you guessed, I very much doubt I would find it interesting. I'd rather watch PBS for stuff like that.

However, your comment about men in combat being the supreme measure of a man being Riefenstahl's "thing" hits me from nowhere. Where are you getting this?

Sure, there are lots of shots of military personnel and imagery in Triumph and Tag der Freiheit. But do see you any fighting?

In contrast, I see lots of fighting in Nevsky:




But Nevsky is epic while Triumph and Tag der Freiheit are degenerate?

I have a hard time sitting through Nevsky because I think it's shit, but I watched the three clips you posted once again and all I see is fighting. I don't see artistic shots of men shaving or grooming horses or dogs or sunrises steaming horses' nostrils or whatever mixed in with the other military footage. These are all Riefenstahl trademarks. They're mixed in with a purely military film. I say Nevsky is far more violent than Riefenstahl's work.

And let's' compare Nevsky with something like this:




Which is the nobler work?
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  #44  
Old March 5th, 2007, 12:36 PM
JSQ JSQ is offline
Jack Quinlan
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When I read John's lengthy analysis of late 19th century revolver development and how it apparently proves Riefenstahl is superior, I couldn't help but think of this clip:

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  #45  
Old March 5th, 2007, 07:25 PM
johnlee johnlee is offline
John Lee
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When I watch that meaningless clip and how it apparently proves Eisenstein is the Triple Lock of film makers, I couldn't help but think of this reply:


Quote:
Originally Posted by JSQ
The Mp18 was the first viable submachinegun in history. It may not be the ultimate infantry small arm, but the submachinegun has definitely left its mark.
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