16/11/2006

From the Feuilletons is a weekly overview of what's been happening in the German-language cultural pages and appears every Friday at 3 pm. CET.. Here a key to the German newspapers.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 16.11.2006

"Are normal times not worthy of autobiography?" asks Ralf Dahrendorf, annoyed at the attention that the Third Reich still gets, referring to Günter Grass' recent SS admission. The generation of those implicated is evidently not averse to the self-accusations and seems content to serve the public's insatiable interest in the Nazi era. "What do we learn about a post-war life in 'Peeling the Onion' (more)? Nicely patterned leaves which, already marked, may edify... But it only gets really interesting for the reader in wartime. Is one wrong in assuming that most readers bought and maybe even read the Grass auto-biography because of the author's dramatic confession about his SS past, that emerged in his conversation with the 'Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung'?" Dahrendorf misses the "wealth of German history" and hopes that of the "five Germanies" that Fritz Stern describes in his memoirs "Five Germanies I have known" (soon to appear in German), not only one will attract interest.

Peter Hagmann spent a tedious evening at the opera "A Flowering Tree" by John Adams and Peter Sellers, part of the "New Crowned Hope" Mozart festival in Vienna. "While two hundred years after its creation 'The Magic Flute' still thrives off its blend of solemnity and wit, one has had enough of the elegiac tone and unbroken narrative dramaturgy of this modern fairy tale even before the intermission."


Die Zeit
16.11.2006

Katja Nicodemus bids a sad farewell to James Bond as the superficial embodiment of unshakably post-colonial Britishness. With Daniel Craig in "Casino Royale," we get the 007 that we deserve: a non-ironic terror-fighter with "depth". "Already in the first scene, Bond – still 07 and without a license to kill – polishes off his first opponent. In the men's bathroom, Daniel Craig presses the head of a greasy informer into the sink. There's a lot of spray and spasms, retching and twitching, before the man finally suffocates. Bond moans and pants, the camera shows his wet forehead and every pore of his face. The message is clear: here comes the real, sweaty, brutal Bond. A toilet killer and death worker. The real thing."

In an interview with Hanno Rauterberg, art activist Hans Haacke explains why he dares criticise the USA, but not Islam: "When I did works critical of Apartheid or Bush's politics, there was no reason to worry that in doing so, I'd be putting people's lives in danger. I knew the American National Guard wouldn't pull out their guns and start advancing… But my reservations against criticising Islam aren't cowardly, in fact they might even be wise."


Die Welt 16.11.2006

In discussion with Amina R. Chaudary, American political scientist Samuel Huntington insists on the significance of cultural and religious demarcation lines, and laments the absence of a hegemonic power in the Middle East. "There is no obvious candidate. Saudi Arabia has the money, but a relatively small population. As a large country with extensive oil reserves and a well-educated population, Iraq would also have been a potential candidate. But the country has developed in the wrong way. Nevertheless, perhaps it will get over its current problems and become the dominant power among the Arab countries."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 16.11.2006

Gastronomic pope Jürgen Dollase attempts to get to the roots of the rotten meat scandal that recently reaked havoc on Germany's fast food industry (more). "We speak of Junk-food and we call addicts Junkies. Give them methadone and they calm down but they still miss the real meat. It's the same with food. The snack-culture delivers a flash, quick and dirty. The culinary drug scene has occupied a large part of our society for a long time and cultivated addicts in all generations."


Die Tageszeitung
16.11.2006

Claudia Lenssen, like most of her fellow critics, is impressed by Matthias Luthardt's feature film debut "Pingpong" which is opening in Germany, having already garnished several prizes on the festival circuit. The 34 year old Luthardt is being ascribed to the Berlin School of film-making, with its interest in intimate, unspectacular domestic settings. "The topos that, for a long time, was a French speciality, has now arrived in German cinema. If it's not quite spooky, German suburbia is certainly anything but cozy. The action takes place inside and out, the transitions smooth thanks to the light equipment, with lots of views out of windows but seldom into the open. One sees a spacious atmosphere that seems strangely devoid of people and exudes a feeling of isolation, of secret and hidden desires. In such houses, people take leave of their lives, the ones that were supposed to be housed there."

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