The Waldheim Waltz
In 1986, filmmaker Ruth Beckermann took part in the protests against Kurt Waldheim, Austrian presidential candidate and former Secretary-General of the United Nations. Beckermann filmed the demonstrations that accompanied the charismatic politician’s campaign, and combined them with TV interviews and news reports to create an exciting chronological report climaxing in the election itself.
The film features an unabashed Waldheim parrying the mounting evidence of his involvement with the SS during the Second World War with counter-accusations, “alternative facts” and shameless rhetoric. Even when international pressure grows, he continues to deny the facts and only repeats his mantras. It brings to mind comparisons with contemporary world leaders who attempt to put the serious media in a bad light. This surprisingly topical documentary also reveals how much moral thinking has changed in 30 years, particularly in the United States, which then took a firmly principled position—something that seems almost unthinkable today.