Victory of the Faith / Der Sieg des Glaubens (1933) [Re-UP]

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Victory of the Faith / Der Sieg des Glaubens (1933) [Re-UP]

Victory of the Faith (1933)
A Film by Leni Riefenstahl
DVD5 | VIDEO_TS | NTSC 4:3 | 00:54:56 | 3,20 Gb
Audio: German AC3 2.0 @ 128 Kbps | Subs: English hardcoded
Genre: Documentary

This film, Leni Riefenstahl’s documentary of the 1933 Nazi Party rally was thought lost for almost 70 years. Digitally remastered and enhanced with English subtitles, this little known epic was as ground-breaking as her later Triumph of the Will. Extremely rare, limited pressing.


Sieg des Glaubens is divided in to at least seven major sequences. Similar to Triumph des Willens (Riefenstahl's full length film of the 1934 Party Rally) the picture begins with an arrival in Nuremberg (Goebbels et al arrive by train, Hitler by plane). The final sequence is a ceremonial visit to the "Monument of the Dead" in Luitpold Grove by Hitler and Rohm with masses of SS and SA in attendance.

Victory of the Faith / Der Sieg des Glaubens (1933) [Re-UP]

The film marks the use of composer Herbert Windt by Leni Riefenstahl, who will continue to collaborate on such important projects as Olympia and Triumph des Willens. Riefenstahl's struggle to find men who would work with her is well documented though she was able to secure (in this project and others to come) a crew that included Sepp Allgeier and Walter Frentz.

Victory of the Faith / Der Sieg des Glaubens (1933) [Re-UP]

Fighting against the Nazi view of the women's role (to provide children to the Reich and maintain the structure of traditional family values) Riefenstahl no doubt had her work cut out for her. Her primary tools against the entrenched and systematic efforts to obstruct her were her own established talent and most importantly the fact that she was personally selected for the task by Hitler.

Victory of the Faith / Der Sieg des Glaubens (1933) [Re-UP]

Despite the limits of time (Riefenstahl reports having just a few days, though some claim she may well have had weeks to prepare) and such, it is believed that she had up to 25 cameras present and a total of 12,000 meters of footage from which to edit this first of the three Reich Party films she would compose. Although Riefenstahl apparently had access to the various standard newsreel footage, it is quite possible that much of it was unusable given her standards and a vision to create something more artistic.

Victory of the Faith / Der Sieg des Glaubens (1933) [Re-UP]

Editing was completed by Riefenstahl herself in Berlin. The process took three months.

The film, considered lost or destroyed over time, apparently does exist (in Berlin and at the National Archives in DC) in both a 61 and 53 minute cut respectively. Neither print contains the opening titles. The film may also rest in a national film archive in Munich. This resurrection of the des Glaubens is relatively new, with the first modern academic reviews of the film being published in the late 1980's.

Victory of the Faith / Der Sieg des Glaubens (1933) [Re-UP]

Sieg des Glaubens, with its candid and sometimes embarrassing shots of Hitler and his entourage, certainly has much to say about the (counter stereotype) non linear Nazi masses of 1933 and the need for better orchestration. Hitler would employ Albert Speer in constructing the rally marches for the following year. Likewise, several shots of des Glaubens were re-shot in studio by Riefenstahl, so unworkable was her source material from the actual rally. As noted in a recent documentary on Riefenstahl, "the Nazis had not yet learned how to march like Nazis." Of particular interest is the shot in des Glaubens of Riefenstahl directing cameraman Allgeier during the pivotal parade sequence through old Nuremberg.

Victory of the Faith / Der Sieg des Glaubens (1933) [Re-UP]

There is no evidence to support the claim that Riefenstahl had the film destroyed or hidden to avoid the mounting accusations after the war that she was a collaborator. Likewise, although some have claimed that Hitler had the film pulled, again with intent to "destroy all the prints" forbidding it to ever be seen again, documented evidence is lacking. However, it does appear that the film had a lengthy run that was abruptly halted (December 1 193 through July 1 1934).

Victory of the Faith / Der Sieg des Glaubens (1933) [Re-UP]

What is clear is that in mid-1934, Ernst Rohm was assassinated by Hitler in his plot to make himself the ruling voice in the newly installed Nazi regime. Images, like the one above, were probably very out of step with the times in the summer of 1934, once the SA purge had occurred less than a year after Sieg des Glaubens was filmed.

Contemporary press reviews note that the film was well liked and did good box office. What one reviewer of the day called "more than a document on film - for the first time, it solved artistically the essence of the effective political documentary."

Victory of the Faith / Der Sieg des Glaubens (1933) [Re-UP]

In the end, Sieg des Glaubens represents a somewhat hesitant but telling cinematic effort by a director who would soon go on to direct two of the 20th century's penultimate documentary films, Triumph des Willens and Olympia.

A few minutes of Sieg des Glaubens can be seen in Ray Muller's The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993).
Victory of the Faith / Der Sieg des Glaubens (1933) [Re-UP]

Special Features:
- Tag der Freiheit (1935, 16:51, IMDB) - documentary

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