Bettina Henkel is an artist and a lecturer at the Vienna Art Academy. Her domain of interest and teaching subject are documentary between history and biography. After training as a dancer she studied History of Art in Munich, Painting at the Nuremberg Academy of Fine Arts and Visual Media Design at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna with Peter Weibel.
Based on the premise that unresolved experiences and traumas are infused and inherited from one generation to the next, “Children Below Deck” follows a poignant and complicated process of reconciliation between director Bettina Henkel and her father and, subsequently, both their coming to grips with the memory of his mother. From accusations of a lack of love to an exceedingly overbearing nature, he seems to be consumed by a vindictive interest in scrutinising his mother’s past, in exposing her secrets. Moments of honesty and of direct confrontation exorcise family grudges, and the inquiry into the grandmother’s past strengthens the bond between father and daughter. The family chronicle leaves room, at the same time, for an investigative process set against the two world wars, the population movements and the status of Baltic Germans. “Children Below Deck” is a film with a distinct personal touch, taking stock of what can and can’t be forgiven of those who are no longer with us, of what can be retrospectively justified. (Teodora Leu)
awards and festivals
Diagonale - Festival of Austrian Film 2018 Fünf Seen Film Festival 2018 / Won Horizonte Award Vienna Int. Womens Film Festival 2019