Diagonale 2024 Opening

Thursday, April 4 | 7:30 p.m.
Helmut List Halle, Graz

Opening sponsor:
AVL Cultural Foundation


Previous Films by Ruth Beckermann at the Diagonale (selection):


Auf amol a Streik
Waldheims Walzer

Die papierene Brücke
Die Geträumten

Those Who Go Those Who Stay

American Passages
Jackson/Marker 4am

Zorros Bar Mizwa


Opening Film Diagonale 2024

Favoriten by Ruth Beckermann

AT 2024, 118 min

Diagonale is pleased to announce that the Festival of Austrian Film will open with the Austrian premiere of Ruth Beckermann’s documentary Favoriten in the presence of the filmmaker along with some of the protagonists and members of the team!

Bild aus Favoriten

Favoriten © Ruth Beckermann Filmproduktion

German is not the first language of over 60 percent of all students in Vienna’s primary schools; in some schools the figure reaches 100 percent. At the same time, there is a shortage of teachers and support staff.

“Beid, Hafsa, Melissa, Manessa, Mohammad … 25 children and their teacher. We wanted to find out who they are; we wanted to get to know their abilities and strategies, their joys, fears and hardships,” says director Ruth Beckermann. The film takes the audience to Favoriten, Vienna’s 10th district, to one of the city’s largest primary schools. Beckermann and her camera accompany a class and their teacher for three years: from the first awkward attempts at writing and learning the little multiplication tables through Mardi Gras parties to schoolwork and parent-teacher conferences, we gain an insight into a remarkable small community, the likes of which probably exist in all major cities in Europe, and also into the children’s daily academic and interpersonal challenges.

Beckermann presents a loving portrait of a class and its dedicated teacher. It also stands as a relevant contemporary document, once again demonstrating that all children must have the right to the best possible education, regardless of their financial situation or background.


Not a matter of the head, but of the heart!

“A documentary filmmaker who tirelessly plays with form, a curious cosmopolitan, and a committed intellectual in words and images who warns against forgetting history: Ruth Beckermann is also a great figure in Austrian film because of the way that she continually takes new directions in her work. The fact that we can open our first Diagonale with one of her films is actually a dream come true. It’s a film that takes place in the present: a present with tendencies that threaten democracy, including in our own country. Favoriten, the title of the film, refers to Vienna’s 10th district, which celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. However, the title can also be understood literally, as ‘Favorites’: the film focuses on 25 children and their shepherdess, the teacher Ilkay Idiskut, who leads her elementary school class with patience, tact, and passion, who with her commitment tries to compensate for what is structurally lacking. None of her children have German as their first language. Education and integration become a subject of vivid visual demonstration: the classroom is shown to be the focal point of a society of subtle differences and at the same time as the place of a possible utopia. It is an arena in which attitudes, cultural influences, and feelings are tested and can also be set in motion. Favoriten gives a face to people who are abused as a source of cheap political capital . With this film, shot over a period of three years, Ruth Beckermann has once again penetrated to a documentary core: committed to the observational method of direct cinema, she films with the sensitivity of a humanist who does not fail to catch meaningful moments and close-knit relationships. As political as this film is, it has an immediate effect on us: Favoriten is not a matter of the head, but rather of the heart. We are truly excited about being able to share this film with Diagonale audiences!”
Dominik Kamalzadeh & Claudia Slanar | Artistic Directors



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