Shocking allegations about his Nazi past did not prevent Kurt Waldheim, former UN Secretary-General, from comfortably winning the 1986 Austrian presidential elections. Director Ruth Beckermann brings together private and public film footage from the ’70s and ’80s, which provides a disturbing exploration of one of Europe’s key political figures of the post-Second World War period. Most of all they reveal a country in fierce denial about its past, and determined to hold onto its self-perception as a victim of the war. A must-see for this year’s Jewish Film Festival.
There will be a Q&A with director Ruth Beckermann following this screening, chaired by Janet Wolff.
Ruth Beckermann is a writer and filmmaker. She was born and raised in Vienna, where she also studied before moving to Tel Aviv and New York. She co-founded the distribution company Filmladen in 1978. Her film The Dreamed Ones was selected for many international festivals and won several awards
Janet Wolff is Professor Emerita of Cultural Sociology at the University of Manchester. She has taught at the University of Leeds, and at the University of Rochester and Columbia University in the United States. She returned to Manchester – her home town – in 2006. Her publications are on aesthetics and the sociology of art. Her most recent book, Austerity Baby, is a kind of family history whose central stories concern her German-Jewish family and their lives (and fate) in the 1930s and early 1940s.