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.
German, English, French
Documentary form93’ · Colour
The filmmaker and writer was born in Vienna, Austria. Her films include The Paper Bridge, East of War, American Passages and Those Who Go Those Who Stay, which won Best Documentary Film at Diagonale in Graz, Austria in 2014. Two years later, The Dreamed Ones won Best Feature Film at the same festival. The Waldheim Waltz won several prizes including the Glashütte Original – Documentary Award at the 2018 Berlinale and was nominated as Austria’s entry for the Oscars. In 2019, she created Joyful Joyce, an installation for the Salzburg Festival.Filmography
1977 Arena besetzt (Arena Squatted) 1978 Auf amol a Streik (Suddenly, a Strike); short film 1981 Der Hammer steht auf der Wiese da draußen (The Steel Hammer Out There On the Grass); short film 1984 Wien retour (Return to Vienna) 1986 Der Igel; short film 1987 Die papierene Brücke (The Paper Bridge) 1991 Nach Jerusalem (Towards Jerusalem) 1996 Jenseits des Krieges (East of War) 1999 Ein flüchtiger Zug nach dem Orient (A Fleeting Passage to the Orient) 2001 Homemad(e) 2006 Zorros Bar Mizwa (Zorro’s Bar Mizwa) · Mozart Enigma; short film 2011 American Passages 2012 Jackson/Marker 4am; short film 2013 Those Who Go Those Who Stay 2015 The Missing Image; video installation 2016 Die Geträumten (The Dreamed Ones) 2018 Waldheims Walzer (The Waldheim Waltz) 2019 Joyful Joyce; video installation 2022 Mutzenbacher
Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022
Ruth Beckermann Filmproduktion