Maifeier der Wiener Arbeiterschaft 1923

Film Documents and Contemporary History

Throughout 2008, the Film Museum explored the relationship between film and history in the research procect "Film Documents and Contemporary History". Curated by Michael Loebenstein and Siegfried Mattl, the series presented rare archival films from the collection of the Film Museum and offered several interpretations of this material. One extended show per month was dedicated to this series. The shows included early newsreels, amateur films, early non-fiction, documentaries from beyond the auteurist canon, fragments and artists' films based on "found (documentary) footage".


The tension between film and history itself lies at the heart of the series: film is both evidence of past events - a document of "what has been" - and a unique form of writing history: a specific reshaping of reality by the film medium. In order to bring this discourse to the fore, the screenings included introductions and discussions with the audience. In advance of the shows, experts and University students from various disciplines prepared contextual material about the films and the respective subjects. These texts (in German) are also available online, and each programme is being documented on video. The series aimed to provide a new interface between archives, scholarly research and the public.


January 16, 2008: Memory of the Camps
February 13, 2008: Our Royals
March 16, 2008: Micro-histories of the "Anschluss"
April 20, 2008: Youth Movement
May 25, 2008: "Let's hear it for sports!"
September 28, 2008: Post-war reconstruction and the Austrian Communist Party
November 2, 2008: Res publica – Democracy and The Masses 1918-2000
November 23, 2008: Images of the Great War
December 14, 2008: Re-Editing History
A joint programme of the Film Museum and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society, in cooperation with the University of Vienna and the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies.