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The Waldheim Waltz

( Waldheims Walzer )

Ruth Beckermann

  • German (with English subtitles); 93 min

The Waldheim Waltz - Ruth Beckermann

Austria, 2018, 93 min
  • Production: Ruth Beckermann Filmproduktion

Entirely composed from archival material and videos made by Ruth Beckermann in the mid-1980s, Waldheim’s Waltz is a highly personal return to what the filmmaker dubs “the Austrians’ last grand illusion: the belief that they were the Nazis’ first victims”. During the 1986 presidential campaign that won him the Republic’s presidency, one-time UN-Secretary General Kurt Waldheim is reproached for his Nazi past in the years 1941-1945. Ruth Beckermann was among those who shouted “Waldheim, nein!” in the streets of Vienna – without success. Thirty years later, she revisits this scandal, which was highlighted primarily by US researchers from the World Jewish Congress, and sets about digging into the archaeology of present-day political life in Austria, a country where the far-right regularly returns to power. The forcefulness of an editing based on free association produces something quite different from the portrait of a scumbag. The two temporalities (one, fast-paced, from March to June 1986, and one of Waldheim’s Nazi past) intertwine to weave a culturally and historically charged picture, and a view of media history – World War II was well and truly a begetter of alternative facts and other “post-truths”.