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The Waldheim Waltz$11.50
The Waldheim Waltz – (dir. Ruth Beckermann)
Post-Film Conversation with Rabbi Mendel Alperowitz – Chabad Jewish Center of South Dakota and Arnold Garson, Newspaper Executive
West Mall 7 Theatres – Doors Open 6:30pm – Film Begins 7:00pm
TRT: 93 min
Original languages: German, English, French
Austria’s 2019 Submission for Best Foreign Language Academy Award®
Film Summary: 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 analyze 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 practicing 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.
What the critics are saying:
Thanks to her smart narration — clear, impassioned but never polemical — and the astute way she allows exceptional footage to play out to its full extent, “The Waldheim Waltz” has a sense of urgency made more pressing given political developments not just in Austria but Poland and Hungary as well.
– Jay Weissberg – Variety
The film may end in 1986, but the darkness it reveals still looms.
– New York Times
A reminder that politicians’ maintenance of their image is an intricate and slippery dance, with the public not always allowed to know all the steps.
– Screen International
With its withering exposé of a politically—and, greater still, morally—crippling guilt remarkably, tragically, and deftly managed by a seasoned professional on his rise to the highest of powers, The Waldheim Waltz is, obviously, brutally relevant not only for its native Austria, whose new 31-year-old Chancellor has raised alarm bells of conservative extremity but also for all world leaders who have the ghastly ability to somehow survive the fiercest and most upright scrutiny.
– Daniel Kasman – Mubi
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