Ruth Beckermann

Austria 2011. 120 Min.
Color. DCP. E/d

The film starts with the jubilance about the election of the first black president of the United States. But we end with the feeling that what has been achieved is only temporary: at a party in Las Vegas, which fancies itself as a charity event and is full of white people, the kind of nuances become audible that gradually turned into loud hatred in 2016 during the election of Barack Obama’s successor.


Beckermann’s portrait of the United States oscillates between powerlessness and progress, and revolves around the proud constitution written by the founding fathers, whose wealth was built by slaves, as well as the promise of happiness, which a school full of African-American pupils fires itself up with: “I’m a winner, not a loser.” The old American combination of dream and pressure is felt in a conversation with a woman who auctions away belongings from lost lives. Opening the storage spaces called “boxes” is like celebrating Christmas every day, she first says enthusiastically, but when asked about the fates of the people who have lost the auctioned goods, she refers to the job as something she is reliant on to make a living. “I try not to look at the photographs,” she says, for this – like in Beckermann’s films – is where the stories become real. (md)


DirectorRuth Beckermann
ScreenplayRuth Beckermann
CinematographyAntoine Parouty, Lisa Rinzler
EditingDieter Pichler
ProducersKaren Annarino, Ruth Beckermann, Ursula Wolschlager

Ruth Beckermann

Ruth Beckermann is a filmmaker and author based in Vienna. Her films include The Paper Bridge, East of War and American Passages. In 2014 her film Those Who Go Those Who Stay received the big documentary film prize at the Diagonale in Graz. Two years later The Dreamed Ones was also honored there as best feature film. The Waldheim Waltz received several awards, including the Glashütte Original – Documentary Award for best documentary film at the Berlinale 2018, as well as an Oscar nomination. In 2019 Ruth Beckermann created the installation Joyful Joyce for the Salzburg Festival.