Menemsha Films is proud to announce the US release of THE WALDHEIM WALTZ, acclaimed documentarian Ruth Beckermann’s timely film about former UN Secretary General and Austrian President Kurt Waldheim’s rise to power and cover up of his controversial past.The film was screened at New York Film, THE WALDHEIM WALTZ is Austria’s official selection for the 2019 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and is scheduled to open in New York on October 19 (at The Metrograph) followed by a national roll out.
An Austrian diplomat and politician who served as Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1972 to 1982, Kurt Waldheim ran for the presidency of Austria in 1986. His nation elected him despite a controversy over his previously undisclosed role in the Nazi regime during World War II: it was alleged that Waldheim participated in the deportation of over 60,000 Jews in Greece during WWII – which he and Austria’s political class vehemently and disingenuously denied. The outbreak of anti-Semitism and nationalism along with the country’s collective whitewashing of its Nazi-era past all led to Waldheim’s election. Although discredited by Western nations and placed on the U.S.’ watch list, Waldheim astonishingly went on to serve with impunity as head of state for six years.
Using archival material and her own vintage video footage of anti-Waldheim rallies, Ruth Beckermann narrates her timely work of activist filmmaking in analytical and trenchant voiceover, as the combination of bald-faced lying by public figures, anti-media animus, and populist bully tactics speak all too clearly to our present moment.
One of Europe’s most admired documentarians, Vienna-born Ruth Beckermann studied journalism and art history in Vienna and Tel Aviv, and photography at New York’s School of Visual Arts.. Over the last thirty years, Beckermann has consistently merged the personal with the political. Return to Vienna (1983), Paper Bridge (1987) and Towards Jerusalem (1991) form her trilogy of Jewish narratives of loss, memory and identity. Her most recent film, The Dreamed Ones, won both the SCAM and Young Jury Award at the 2016 Cinéma du Réel Festival. THE WALDHEIM WALTZ is Beckermann’s twelfth documentary.
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