Ruth Beckermann is an Austrian documentary filmmaker and writer. She is best known for her work exploring themes of memory, identity, and history in Austria.
Beckermann was born in Vienna in 1953. She studied philosophy and literature at the University of Vienna before moving to New York City in 1976. While in New York, she studied film at the School of Visual Arts and at the New School for Social Research.
Beckermann returned to Vienna in 1979, where she began her career as a documentary filmmaker. Her first film, The Dream of Jerusalem (1984), is a lyrical exploration of the history of Jewish life in Vienna and the relationship between Jews and non-Jews in Austria. She followed this up with The Inheritance (1988), a look at the lives of four Austrian women who had been born before the Anschluss in 1938.
In the 1990s, Beckermann turned her attention to the legacies of the Holocaust in Austria. Her films The Waldheim Waltz (1996) and The Inheritance (1998) examine the role of former United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim in the Holocaust and the responsibilities of Austrians for the Nazi regime. Her film The Nasty Girl (1990) was awarded the 1990 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Beckermann's work has been shown at various international film festivals, including the Sundance Film Festival, the Berlin International Film Festival, and the Toronto International Film Festival. Her films have been released theatrically in Europe, the United States, and Canada.
Beckermann also serves as a professor of documentary film at the University of Vienna and as a jury member at several international film festivals. She has received numerous awards and honors for her work, including an Austrian Honorary Cross for Science and Art, 1st Class (1999) and the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, 1st Class (2000).
Ruth Beckermann is one of Austria's most prominent documentary filmmakers, and her work has had a lasting influence on the country's cinematic landscape. Her films are an important contribution to the field of documentary filmmaking, exploring issues of memory, identity, and history in Austria with sensitivity and insight.