Tonight we're off to watch The Waldheim Waltz (2018) by Austrian director Ruth Beckermann.
What we know so far is that The Waldheim Waltz is a documentary film entirely made up of archive material. It investigates the role and position of Kurt Waldheim, former secretary general of the United Nations and eventually president of Austria from 1986 to 1992. Waldheim was accused of major war crimes. What became known as the "Waldheim affair" forced our nation to finally confront itself with the responsibility Austria, too, has had during World War II, in a time when many would have preferred to remain in a state of victimhood.
And many still do.
This may also be why, once again, it is necessary to look at these events in the election year 1986, and remember not just the light aspects that are shaping our society, but also the shadows.
Beckermann chose the Waltz as the central theme around which this film revolves, because it is traditionally danced towards the right, turning and turning. Time and again.
It is not difficult to observe how the media have become an enormously important building block of our lives. In recent years, we have had to coin this peculiar term "alternative facts" for a phenomenon that describes that anything can be true, if someone wants it to be. The Waldheim Waltz, being made up of footage from the 1980s, may confirm that this is anything but a new concept.
It isn't easy to look at the painful events of our past. But let's open our eyes anyway and avoid repeating it. Especially we, as media creators, have a tremendous responsibility in shaping society. We shouldn't underestimate it.