12 September 2018 20:30, Het Bos, Antwerp
A conversation with Ruth Beckermann, preceded by a screening of Waldheims Walzer (The Waldheim Waltz) (2018, 93′).
“When I looked at the material I shot 30 years ago, I was shocked. Had I really forgotten how easily emotions can be stirred up against others and used by populist politicians? In ‘Waldheims Walzer’ I attempt to analyse what was going on back then, things which seem all too familiar in our present day of Trump, Kurz & Strache and other masters of alternative facts and populism.”
“Waldheim no, Waldheim no” shouts a crowd in the center of Vienna in 1986. Ruth Beckermann was one of the activists trying to prevent the election of Kurt Waldheim and documented the political events with her camera. More than 30 years later she goes back into her own archive and additionally uses international TV-material to analyse this turning point in Austrian political culture. The film shows the tangled web that former UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim became ensnared in by concealing two years of his wartime biography. It shows the swift succession of new allegations by the World Jewish Congress against him, the denial by the Austrian political class, the outbreak of anti-Semitism and patriotism, which finally led to his election. Austria was highly successful in practising the deception on itself and the world that it had been the first victim of the Nazis. Despite the fact that a whole generation knew the truth, this image of innocence was serially reproduced in official speeches, books and Heimatfilms. This film shows how deeper-lying levels of consciousness slowly carve out a path to the surface. Narrated by Ruth Beckermann, The Waldheim Waltz sets the Waldheim affair in a bigger international political context, yet 30 years on, it is dauntingly timely.
An initiative of Courtisane & De Imagerie, in collaboration with and supported by Austrian Cultural Forum Brussels, Goethe-Institut Brussels and Bozar Cinema.
In the context of DISSENT!, an initiative of Courtisane, Auguste Orts and Argos.