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GoetheInstitute

09/01/2007

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.

Süddeutsche Zeitung 09.01.2007

Stefan Koldehoff reports on the "Monument's Men" (book), the American soldiers who were responsible for guaranteeing the safety of German art following the war, and the fact that they were not immune to temptation. "In a museum in Florida, one finds Meissen porcelain from art collections in Leipzig; a regretful American priest admits on his deathbed that he stole drawings as a young soldier in Germany in 1945. Greek vases from the plundered holdings of the art collections in Würzburg are supposedly to be found in the Art Institute of Chicago, which however denies the origins of the pieces."

Lothar Müller reports on a subsidiary of the Louvre slated to be built in Abu Dhabi. The huge universal museum for Western culture is slated to be opened on the holiday island of Saadyiyat. "Citing French diplomats and cultural functionaries, the newspaper Liberation reported on the weekend that the contract will be signed in a matter of weeks, and that the Louvre will receive over 500 million euros for its branch on the Gulf. Figaro, too, has covered the project in a big way. Now the project has entered its hottest phase: Is the Louvre in the process of selling its soul, along with that of France? Or is it engaging in an open policy aimed at internationalising both its collection and its audiences?"

In an interview with Johannes Willms, Rotraut Klein, widow of artist Yves Klein, divulges the secret of his patented "International Klein Blue." "It's a run-of-the-mill ultramarine blue pigment, nothing special at all. This pigment was simply applied on a polyester base after being mixed with acetone, which fixed it but didn't dull its luminosity."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 09.01.2007

Ursula Rautenberg reports on the activities of Penguin Books in China. "Penguin is adopting a double strategy to get its foot in the door, in case the current restrictions loosen up. First it is making a name for itself with Chinese translations of English language classics. These are published under Penguin's name and logo thanks to a joint venture with the Chongqing Publishing Group. Secondly it has its eye out for works by Chinese authors that are suitable for the English-language market, and plans to bring out four or five titles a year worldwide. One of the first is 'Wolf Totem,' announced for 2007. An Boshun, who markets the international rights on behalf of the author Jiang Rong, calls it the biggest international deal to date for a Chinese book." (More on the book here.)


Die Welt 09.01.2007

Gore Vidal, whose last book of memoirs has just come out, talks in an interview about the coming elections in the USA, Hollywood, Islam and his long-time partner Howard who he kissed for the first time on his deathbed. "...in America, every relationship is automatically assumed to be sexual. But many are not. I've been preaching that to the Brits for years. They get furious especially when I talk about the Bloomsbury Set, where everyone was screwing everyone else's husband, wife or child. Incest was really nothing new. I couldn't care less. If that's what people want, it's none of my business. Here in the literary circles of the USA, however, we don't go to bed with friends. I can't think of two friends who've had sex with each other. I'm not talking here of heterosexuals."


Frankfurter Rundschau
09.01.2007

Daniel Kothenschulte admits that "Mein Führer" is no masterpiece but feels it is Dani Levy's best film yet. Kothenschulte appreciates that Levy made the film "surprisingly light." "There is not much left of the unsettling contradictoriness of the version that Helge Schneider (who plays Hitler – ed) originally read. The film that comes to cinemas on Thursday has a much lighter tone than the screenplay on which it is based – thanks in part to the sympathetic character of Grünbaum, played by Ulrich Mühe. It was the 'ancient voice' of the 116-year old Hitler who turned to the potential NPD (extreme right) voters of today with his justification speech: 'I accept what I did to the German Reich and all of Europe and the world,' he begins with hoarse pathos.' And I feel deep regret.' This must have had such an eerie effect on the test audiences that Levy decided, to Schneider's consternation, to re-work the film and make it much more accessible."

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