The Waldheim Waltz (2018)


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"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.


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Critic Reviews for The Waldheim Waltz

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (5)

How this all played out in terms of the Austrian election will surprise no one, but seeing how much the situation came to prefigure the contemporary house of mirrors in Europe as well as America still comes as something of a shock.

Nov 15, 2018 | Full Review…

The film may end in 1986, but the darkness it reveals still looms.

Oct 18, 2018 | Full Review…

Several journalists perform keen off-the-cuff political analyses; several Austrian politicians bravely defy local orthodoxies; and free, frank hearings in the United States Congress add a painful element of nostalgia.

Oct 17, 2018 | Full Review…

A timely and engagingly personal reminder of recent European history.

Mar 5, 2018 | Full Review…

If it sounds like a dry history lesson, think again.

Feb 20, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The Waldheim Waltz functions as both an invaluable look at a protest movement fighting against a right-wing political insurgency, and also a call to action, creating a sense of righteous fury and a desire to prevent another Waldheim affair.

Dec 25, 2018 | Full Review…

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