In Her Own Image

GETTY IMAGES

THE BEHOLDER: Hitler brought Riefenstahl, shown together in 1934, both fame and infamy

Look at the world through Leni Riefenstahl's lens, and a high diver doesn't just dive. She flies. In one of the iconic images from her award-winning 1938 film Olympia, you see nothing but a glistening airborne figure silhouetted against sky. All else — diving board, ground, pool — disappears. It's classic Riefenstahl, a brilliant piece of editing, a fine example of a talent she has applied throughout her life and work.

Riefenstahl turns 100 this week, having survived career changes, war and its aftermath, decades of political criticism and ill health. Friends will fête her at a birthday bash in...

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