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Triumph of the Will 

When: Mon., Aug. 31, 7 p.m. 2015
Price: free admission
Leni Riefenstahl's documentary Triumph of the Will is perhaps the most lavish commercial ever made. As is the case with most advertising, the film serves two purposes: to demonstrate Riefenstahl's genius as a director, and to make the evil filth Adolf Hitler appear to be the savior of Germany. The film captures Hitler at the 1934 Nazi Party convention in Nuremberg. It's impossible to watch and not be seduced by Riefenstahl's use of dramatic lighting and gorgeous camera-work. Orderly ranks of German youth wielding shovels exhort Hitler and his grand rebuilding of Germany; Hitler stands tall and challenges them to work harder and achieve more. It only takes the mental substitution of rifles for shovels to see the destruction Hitler's plans will wreak. Tonight at 7 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org), James Scott, professor emeritus of film studies at Saint Louis University, presents clips from Triumph and then discusses why it works so well as propaganda and as a film. Admission is free.
— Paul Friswold

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