Berlinale: Programme

Film File


Waldheims Walzer

The Waldheim Waltz

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A lot of time has passed since the scandal surrounding the Nazi past of former UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim made headlines worldwide, not least because he denied it. It all started during the 1986 Austrian presidential campaign, when Waldheim was supposed to gain victory and thus reach the pinnacle of his storybook post-war political career. Based on smartly chosen international TV archive material, this documentary essay reconstructs how this heated debate progressed, all the way up to the second round of voting in June 1986. The positions of the various stakeholders – excerpts from the press conferences of the World Jewish Congress, debates in the UN General Assembly, hearings in the US Congress as well as statements by the Austrian People’s Party and its candidate – are joined by Ruth Beckermann’s subjective, analytical commentary in voiceover. She’s also there in the video footage she shot herself, documents of an oppositional movement that show anti-Waldheim events and verbal disputes with resentful and anti-Semitic passersby. Rabble-rousing, slander, media-bashing, and denying facts – they all broke new ground here. Yes, a lot of time has passed, but it’s not over yet.

Ruth Beckermann

Austria 2018

German, English, French

Documentary form
93’ · Colour

World premiere


Written and directed by
Ruth Beckermann
Dieter Pichler
Sound Design
Manuel Grandpierre, Rudolf Pototschnig
Ruth Beckermann


Ruth Beckermann

Born in Vienna in 1952. After studying Journalism and Art History she worked as a journalist. She co-founded the Filmladen distribution company in 1978. She was involved with the company for seven years, and her first films and books date from that period. Ruth Beckermann has been working as a writer and filmmaker since 1985.


1977 Arena besetzt; 78 min. 1978 Auf amol a Streik; 24 min. 1981 Der Hammer steht auf der Wiese da draußen; 40 min. 1984 Wien retour; 95 min. 1986 Der Igel; 34 min. 1987 Die papierene Brücke; 95 min. 1991 Nach Jerusalem; 87 Min., Forum 1991 1996 Jenseits des Krieges; 117 Min., Forum 1997 1999 Ein flüchtiger Zug nach dem Orient; 82 Min., Forum 2000 2001 Homemad(e); 85 Min., Forum 2001 2006 Zorros Bar Mizwa; 90 min. · Mozart Enigma; 1 min. 2011 American Passages; 120 min. 2012 Jackson/Marker 4am; 4 min. 2013 Those Who Go Those Who Stay; 75 min. 2015 The Missing Image; multi channel video installation 2016 Die Geträumten; 89 Min., Forum 2016 2018 Waldheims Walzer (The Waldheim Waltz)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2018

Produced by

Ruth Beckermann Filmproduktion

World sales

Wide House