For her latest documentary Favoriten, Ruth Beckermann spent three years following a class of primary school pupils, from the ages of seven to ten, and their devoted teacher at a large, ‘at risk’ primary school in Vienna’s ethnically diverse, traditionally working-class district Favoriten. More than sixty percent of pupils in Viennese primary schools do not have German as their first language, and the system faces an acute shortage of teachers. Though clearly present in the film, Favoriten does not address issues such as these head-on. Instead, we get to know the children as individuals as they learn, grow and develop through the period leading up to their final year of primary school. As we get to know these ‘favourites’, we experience with them this critical time that will have such a decisive impact on their futures.

Favoriten achieves this by filming from the children’s eye level – Johannes Hammel’s camerawork delivering beautiful portraits, both in and out of the classroom – as well as by making Beid, Hafsa, Melissa, Manessa, Mohammad and their classmates co-authors of the film in a very real sense, handing cameras to them and incorporating the footage shot by the pupils themselves. We experience the daily adventures, struggles, defeats and victories of childhood in this microcosm of contemporary western European society: a society struggling with issues of identity and migration, which Favoriten addresses directly through discussions of religion, refugees or whether women should be allowed to wear a bikini.

Above all, Favoriten is an ode to childhood and education that builds on Beckermann’s trademark style of asking probing, important questions in an observational way, inviting the audience to navigate their own way through complex topics.


Director: Ruth Beckermann
Writer: Ruth Beckermann and Elisabeth Menasse
Cinematographer: Johannes Hammel
Sound: Andreas Hamza
Editor: Dieter Pichler

Technical Data
Running time: 118 min
Format: DCP
Screen ratio: 16:9
Language spoken: German
Production year: 2024

© Ruth Beckermann Filmproduktion
© Ruth Beckermann Filmproduktion
© Ruth Beckermann Filmproduktion
© Ruth Beckermann Filmproduktion
© Ruth Beckermann Filmproduktion