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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Das Blaue Licht (aka The Blue Light) (1932)

This mythical tale set in the Swiss Italian alps (and shot entirely on location) was written and directed by the notorious Leni Riefenstahl (TRIUMPH OF THE WILL) who also plays the leading role. A strange, mystical mountain girl (Riefenstahl) is thought to be a witch by the people of her village. She has the ability to climb a treacherous mountain from which a mysterious blue light emanates every full moon that defeats the young men of the village who feel compelled to climb the mountain but inevitably fall to their deaths. A German tourist (Mathias Wieman) arrives and his effect on the girl and the mystery of the blue light brings dire consequences. It's not so much the film's narrative that is fascinating but Riefenstahl's incredible compositions, fluid camera work and editing which was far more advanced than what was being done in American sound cinema at that time and all of which imparts a sense of pastoral serenity and bucolic enchantment covering up a conspiracy of rancor. Reputedly one of Hitler's favorite films.

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