Leni Riefenstahl's Life Examined in Satan's Mistress

News   Leni Riefenstahl's Life Examined in Satan's Mistress
 
As rumors persist that The Producers may eventually find its way to Broadway, those who can't wait to romp with Adolf and Eva will get an early chance, May 15-June 14, when New Village Productions stages Satan's Mistress, by Rosa Von Praunheim.

As rumors persist that The Producers may eventually find its way to Broadway, those who can't wait to romp with Adolf and Eva will get an early chance, May 15-June 14, when New Village Productions stages Satan's Mistress, by Rosa Von Praunheim.

Subtitled, "The World Of Leni Riefenstahl", Satan's Mistress looks at the documentary filmmaker who famously chronicled the Berlin Olympiad and the 1934 Nuremberg rallies (in Triumph Of The Will).

The play, by avant-garde German moviemaker Praunheim, was staged at New Village Productions' International Festival of Lesbian & Gay Plays in conjunction with NYC's Gay Games 1994. Praunheim liked that production well enough to choose New Village to world-premiere the show officially this season. (Praunheim has not mounted the show in Germany because his "controversial and scathing portrait" of Riefenstahl would likely offend the still-living, 98-year-old filmmaker and photographer.)

Satan's Mistress surely boasts one of the more intriguing casts of characters this season: Adolf Hitler (Mikal Saint George), Josef Goebbels (Ted de Chatelet), Leni Riefenstahl (Jennifer Miro), Anna Riefenstahl (Caroline Aller), and Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Guy Rose). Carol Polcovar directs this look at a woman whose semi-objective film technique ended up glorifying the Third Reich. Satan's Mistress, however, takes a retrospective approach, looking at two women in modern-day NY's East Village (one of whom claims to be Riefenstahl's granddaughter) and the seductions of fascism.

Says Polcovar of the piece, "Leni is still alive and was still working up to the time this was written. When she couldn't make films anymore because of her reputation, she went to Africa and then became an underwater photographer for Jacques Cousteau. She was absolutely invincible -- and apolitical. She carries no guilt that her work justifies fascisim. That's the central guilt [author] Rosa deals with. It's a scary piece. It deals with the emotions people have about Nazism and the Holocaust, and how we get manipulated for a variety of reasons. How easy it is to slip into fascism." For tickets ($15) and information on Satan's Mistress -- which advertises with the slogan: "Sex, Perversion, HITLER!" -- and runs to June 15, call (212) 779-3051.

--By David Lefkowitz

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