Tuesday 21.5. / 5 pm / Kino Kinoteka


Austria, 2024, 118'
Director: Ruth Beckermann · Screenplay: Ruth Beckermann, Elisabeth Menasse · Photography: Johannes Hammel · Editing: Dieter Pichler · Production: Ruth Beckermann Filmproduktion

For her latest documentary Favoriten, Ruth Beckermann spent three years observing a primary school class of seven- to ten-year-old girls and their devoted teacher in the ethnically diverse, traditionally working-class district of Favoriten in Vienna. More than 60% of primary school students in Vienna do not speak German as their first language, and the system faces an acute shortage of teaching staff. We get to know the children as they learn, grow and develop in the period leading up to their final year of primary school. We experience this critical period that will have such a decisive impact on their future first-hand. Favoriten achieves this by shooting at the children’s eye level – Johannes Hammel’s camerawork creates beautiful portraits, both inside and outside the classroom – as well as by making Beida, Hafsa, Melissa, Manessa, Mohammad and their classmates co-authors of the film, giving them cameras and including recordings made by the students themselves. We experience daily adventures, struggles, childhood victories and defeats in this microcosm of contemporary Western European society: a society struggling with issues of identity and migration, which Favoriten approaches directly through discussions of religion, refugees and women’s rights. But above all, Favoriten is an ode to childhood and the importance of education being available to everyone, not just those who can pay for it. In his distinctive and unobtrusive observational style, Beckermann asks important and pointed questions, inviting the audience to independently navigate through these complex topics.

Awards and Festivals:

Berlinale (2024) – world premiere, Peace Film Award; Hong Kong International Film Festival (2024) – Best Documentary


Ruth Beckermann was born in Vienna in 1952. She studied journalism and art history. Her films Towards Jerusalem (1991), East of War (1997) and Homemad(e) (2001) were successfully presented at numerous festivals. Her film The Dreamed Ones (2016) deals with the complex relationship between the Romanian poet Paul Celan and the Austrian writer Ingeborg Bachmann, whose father was a member of the Nazi Party. The author’s documentary The Waldheim Waltz (2018) also turns to the ghosts of Nazi past and won the Glasshütte Original Documentary Award at Berlinale. It had its Croatian premiere at the 11th Subversive Film Festival. Her previous film Mutzenbacher (2022) was also awarded in Berlin, winning the Encounters Award, and was shown at the 15th Subversive Film Festival.