Blue Light, The (1932)

Blue Light, The (1932)

“Those crystals — they are a danger for you, and the whole village.”

A semi-feral woman named Junta (Leni Riefenstahl) who lives high up in a mountain with a young goatherd(Franz Maldacea) is menaced by local townspeople, who believe she is a witch given how many young men lose their lives climbing the mountain to reach the beautiful blue crystals at the top. Will a sympathetic man (Mathias Wieman) be able to save Junta from her doomed fate?

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Fantasy
  • German Films
  • Witches and Wizards

Film fanatics may be familiar with this early “mountain film” — written, directed by, and starring Leni Riefenstahl — given clips interspersed throughout the 1993 documentary The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl, which details the infamous Nazi propaganda films Riefenstahl made under Hitler’s regime. This earlier, fairy tale-like film is notable for its lovely aesthetics, with Riefenstahl crafting an impressively other-worldly yet grounded existence through on-location shooting in the Brenta Dolomites of Ticino, Switzerland, and in Sarntal, South Tirol.

The storyline is quite simple, structured as a “frame story” in which Junta’s tale is told after visitors at a local hotel ask about her portrait:

Junta is perceived as a witch given her primitive existence in the mountains — and how many men die trying to reach the treasures she lives nearby — but Junta is actually a sympathetic presence, making the story’s denouement all the more tragic (though perhaps not surprising). This film isn’t must-see, but those who enjoy innovative films by early female directors may be curious to give it a look.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Beautiful cinematography and imagery

  • Fine location shooting

Must See?
No; you can skip this one unless you’re curious.


One thought on “Blue Light, The (1932)

  1. First viewing. Skip it.

    While the film may be perfect for rock climbers, its entertainment value is negligible. This is a film almost pompous in its lethargy. In part a tale of possession, it opts for a lyricism devoid of tension.

    With a little more ‘effort’, this might have been camp.

    Strangely, Riefenstahl is no actress. She seems to have a grand total of one emotion: a blank surprise that doesn’t vary much in color.

Leave a Reply