The Local View ? Neighbourhood Cinemas and Alternative Film Projects

Many small neighbourhood cinemas invested in the future. The digital options for showing films are opening up new vistas for alternative projects. Not all of them are legal.... more more

GoetheInstitute

07/02/2006

Magazine Roundup, which appears every Tuesday at 12 p.m., is originally published by Perlentaucher.

Elet es Irodalom | Nepszabadsag | The New Statesman | Al Ahram Weekly | Der Spiegel | The Guardian | Kommune | Outlook India | Reportajes | Le Point| The Spectator | Gazeta Wyborcza | Le Nouvel Observateur


Elet es Irodalom, 03.02.2006 (Hungary)

After its report on Istvan Szabo's collaboration with the secret police, ES magazine goes on to disclose information about the role other prominent Hungarians played as informers: Cardinal Laszlo Paski and filmmaker Zsolt Kezdi Kovacs. The young historian Krisztian Ungvary quotes from Cardinal Paskai's secret police file, and calls on the Hungarian Bishops' Conference to break its silence: "Everyone who drags his secret Stasi past along behind him is still a slave of the dictatorship, 15 years after the end of communism…. The terrible truth is now coming out that even those who collaborated only half-heartedly with the secret police also developed a kind of loyalty to the state over time, although they were debased and humiliated by it."

Zsolt Kezdi Kovacs tells how Istvan Szabo and he were picked up, interrogated, kicked and insulted by the secret police. He describes the moment he decided to write reports on his fellow students: "We took the elevator down into the depths of the jail, it was six months after the failed uprising and I felt this was a fundamentally unequal fight. I was never particularly courageous, but courage wouldn't have helped things much here anyway. I knew I wouldn't have the strength to bear the blows or give up everything I'd finally been able to achieve: being able to study at the film school… I could hardly imagine I could give the secret police information about my friends, my parents or anyone else I knew that could get them into trouble. The sole possible strategy was to wait it out and beat around in the bush."


Nepszabadsag, 02.02.2006 (Hungary)

Hungary is having a hard time facing up to its past, writes historian Robert Braun, who discovers parallels between how the country has treated the case of Istvan Szabo and how it dealt with the Holocaust: "Without wanting to equate the two totalitarian systems, one can at least state that both forms of dictatorship came as a decisive blow to moral values. Precisely for this reason it is hugely important to face up to the challenge of memory – both of the Holocaust and of socialism. More interesting than Istvan Szabo's life is for me the lack of gumption in many people's reactions. Silence is also no good, because silence is the flight from judgement. When remembering our past we should bear in mind a moral difference: in totalitarian regimes there were perpetrators, victims, resistance fighters and voyeurs. What we have to start talking about is who was what."


The New Statesman, 06.02.2006 (USA)

As an extra in a filming of a Henry James book, the author Siri Hustvedt learned the pleasant and consciousness-altering effects of a corset. She now knows the charms of the hoop skirt and a petticoat padded at the hips. "No one can scrub floors in a hoop. If you're wearing one, it's a sign that during the day you are never on your knees. It is possible to arrange flowers in a hoop, lift a teacup, read a book, and point out tasks to your servants. The hoop was a sign of class; its restriction meant luxury. Like the Chinese aristocrat with fingernails a yard long, it tells a story: "I do not work for money."


Al Ahram Weekly, 02.02.2006 (Egypt)

Gihan Shahine reports on the reactions in the Arab world to the caricatures of Mohammed and the apology published in the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten. Some people are demanding tougher boycotting and others, such as the Islamic scholar Abdel-Sabour Shahine, are preaching tolerance in the name of the prophet. "Mohammed was himself constantly the target of hostilities and his reactions were so tolerant that even his enemies eventually became Muslims."

In an article on Steven Spielberg's film "Munich" the political scientist Joseph Massad accuses Speilberg of distorting the facts and points out that "the Palestinian violence was a reaction to the Zionist conquest and murder." Spielberg gave the Israeli terrorists a human face. "They laugh, love, cook, eat, kill, regret." But the Palestinians seem to be completely unscrupulous. "Unlike their Israeli counterparts, they shoot without crying."


Der Spiegel, 06.02.2006 (Germany)

The Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsi Ali demands in an interview that the offending caricatures show be shown "everywhere" in the west. There is no need for apologies. "Not a day goes by when radical Imams do not preach hatred in their mosques. They call Jews and Christians inferior, and we always allow this as freedom of speech. When will the Europeans realise that the Islamists do not grant this right to their ciritics?"


The Guardian, 04.02.2006 (UK)

The Indian author Pankaj Mishra, looks back with a cold shudder at his former love of the Soviet Union, which led him even to celebrate the invasion of Afghanistan. "I remember being shocked by a picture of Jimmy Carter in the White House with his feet on his desk. And later I was equally shocked to know that Americans had elected a film actor as their president. Could such men be trusted? In contrast, the pictures of Soviet leaders radiated benign power and knowledge. I examined these as closely as a Kremlinologist, but for signs and portents of my own future. Those brows of Brezhnev; the melancholy of Gromyko; the steely seriousness of Suslov - how eloquently they spoke of a selfless dedication to social and economic justice!"


Kommune, 01.02.2006 (Germany)

Sonja Margolina describes how Russia, particularly in the wake of the Chechnyian war, is turning into a xenophobic ethnocracy, with the active support of the Kremlin. "The fuelling of local conflicts and provocations by the secret services were always among the tried and tested instruments of the soviet secret service. Today the politics of 'controlled instability' serves the self-enrichment and the hold on power of the new 'security oligarchy', which with its eye on 2008, has launched 'Operation Successor'. Whether the Kremlin chooses to continue to control the xenophobia he has encouraged or eventually loses its hold on the spirits he has unleashed, is a crucial question of cynical power politics. In a multicultural society like Russia, the only role nationalism can play for either the majority or the minority, is a destructive one."


Outlook India, 13.02.2006 (India)

In the title story, Anjali Puri breaches the subject of private clinic tourism which is increasingly beleaguering India, or should one say delighting? The hype fuelled in the western media about the global health bazaar is attracting patients from the USA, Canada and Britain, where a decent heath insurance has by now become unattainable for many. "People from the West will travel thousands of miles, to so-called cholera country, for medical treatment—if the price is right, and the quality is right." With an estimated 2.3 billion dollar turnover in private health care, this represents a huge boom for the Indian economy. "So, after incredible temples, incredible tigers and incredible yoga, it's now going to be incredible doctors backed by incredible technology" in the tourist catalogues. One asks what the poorly provided for Indian patients should do. Travel to the West?


Reportajes, 05.02.2006 (Chile)

The new Chilean president Michelle Bachelet spent time in exile in East Germany in the seventies. The writer Roberto Ampuero speculates on the influence that Bachelet's experiences with the socialist "gerontocracy" might have had on her unconventional and pragmatic style of politics. Ampuero, who also spent some time in East Berlin as an exile, illustrates the fundamental changes that have taken place since those days. "The former East German office of the Chilean government which was brought down in a putsch – the 'Oficina Chile Antifascista' – is today a swinger club with the odd name of 'Pärchen Contact' (couple contact) – the abbreviation of which has been sprayed in red over the entrance: PC."


Le Point, 02.02.2006 (France)

A "bomb" is what Le Point calls "Journal atrabilaire" (published by Gallimard) by Jean Clair, current director of the Picasso Museum in Paris and curator of the very successful "Melancholie" exhibition at the Grand Palais. In his "caustic diary" Clair also settles scores with French cultural policy. Le Point prints an excerpt from the book, including Claire's views on "Museum Night", which takes place across Europe. "Yesterday evening the Picasso Museum received 4,633 culture zealots, not counting the prams. An unbearable ruckus and appalling heat. To prevent themselves from falling over, the visitors clung to the pictures. There were no attendants to stop them, for lack of money to pay overtime. (…) Here like everywhere else people do nothing but shamelessly squander the riches of the past. Without stopping to count the costs, we write a bill of exchange for the inheritance entrusted to us. We neither increase it, nor maintain it, nor protect it. A decadent sell-out."


The Spectator, 04.02.2006 (UK)

Daniel Wolf misses open censorship as it was still practised in England in the 1960s, writing in a commentary that not only was it more truthful, it also showed better taste. "To think that we have reached new heights of freedom, and therefore perfection, because we have lost a measure of restraint is a classic error. Free speech today, in the absence of censorship, is as thoroughly policed as it was in the days before the rise of television and the internet, perhaps more so. As the government exploits public indifference towards the essential principles of a free society, controversial views are classified as 'unacceptable' and 'inappropriate' by a host of interest groups."


Gazeta Wyborcza, 04.02.2006 (Poland)

"Poland is a country of neuroses and tragicomedies. But I like that, literature thrives on it," says writer Andrzej Stasiuk in an interview with the Polish newspaper. He tells how his origins from Praga, the poor district in Warsaw on the right bank of the Vistula have made him who he is: "Moldovia, Albania and Romania are to a certain extent also on the wrong banks of Europe. I try to equalise this role of second-best. I can't say which bank is better, or which is worse. I can only say what fascinates me about the far side: its incompetence, shyness, humility and hopelessness. The better side of Europe couldn't exist without its distorted image."


Le Nouvel Observateur, 02.02.2006 (France)

The English author Jonathan Coe writes on the "Blair Years", which are also the topic of his most recent novel "The Closed Circle". For Coe, Blair is "both the symptom and the motor of his epoch…. He appeared as a charismatic beacon, one who seduced the electorate as no Labour politician had done before him. And when the old Leftists in the party recognised which way his policies were heading, they reacted like spurned lovers." The worst was that Blair lied about the reasons for the Iraq War, writes Coe. But "that has now been forgotten. None of those in positions of power deigned to stand by their mistakes. It is astonishing that the most eloquent resistance to this war came from the political Right. You come to the end of rousing opinion pieces that you can only applaud, and find the name of a former minister in Thatcher's government!"


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