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TUESDAY

Leni Riefenstahl died in September at 101, but her reputation died over a half-century ago, with the Third Reich. Since then, any mention of her must be qualified with the obligatory “Hitler’s filmmaker” tag. But when the slow, tedious shots of the Acropolis that open 1938’s Olympia fade gently into the accelerating rotations of a discus thrower, it is impossible to deny Riefenstahl’s astounding talent for visual storytelling. Though plenty of Ubermensch-looking German athletes populate this documentary of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, Riefenstahl’s direction and Herbert Windt’s score combine to glorify Japanese hop-skip-and-jumpers, Indian field-hockey players, and Italian soccer players alike—not to mention the real star of the show, black American sprinter and long-jumper Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals at the games. And yet it should come as no surprise that the image of tens of thousands of Germans giving Hitler the Nazi salute remains the film’s most enduringly powerful one. Olympia screens at 6:45 p.m. at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $8.50. (301) 495-6700. (Mike DeBonis)

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