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GoetheInstitute

24/01/2007

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.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 24.01.2007

In Russia, art is waging a "war against reality." Examples are to be found in the work of the poet Alina Wituchnowskaja and in Pavel Lungin's hit film "Island" (review) which depicts the life of a poor sinner who is doing penance on an island as a wonder-working stoker. But Russia correspondent Kerstin Holm remains solidly on the ground. "In the real-life Russian solitude, vodka is the only means to Nirvana. In the recent past, there have been two cases of drunken loners in remote villages murdering local priests. In the fall, in the Twer municipality, the priest Andrej Nikolajew together with his wife and three children was barricaded in his hut and set on fire because he had objected to the alcoholic habits of the villagers."

Gerhard Stadelmaier takes exception to the manifesto of a group of Catholic aestheticists who are demanding the return of the Latin mass. "Anyone over fifty who can recall the pre-conciliary masses in the domes and cathedrals of their youth will be reminded not only of old forms but also of the miserable singsong. Of the abrasive, the empty, the hollow." Stadelmeier suspects that the signatories are not in fact interested in Latin but rather "in the dramatic configuration: that the priests are turned away from the congregation in the Latin liturgy of the old mass rather than celebrating with the people, as is the case in the new post-conciliary mass. Those behind the manifesto would like to have a more elite service, in effect 'less democratic.' The linguistic costumed nightingales are a little clumsy in their argumentation."

Noted is the death of Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski yesterday in Warsaw at the age of 74. Kapuscinski was the most translated Polish writer of his day. He worked as foreign correspondent for Polish media and was considered a subversive critic of communism in his own country. "According to his American publisher, he wrote 19 books, was witness to 27 coups and revolutions, was friends with Che Guevara and was condemned to death four times."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 24.01.2007

Andrian Kreye and Susan Vahabzadeh analyse the nomination of "The Lives of Others" (see our feature on the film by Wolf Biermann here) for Best foreign language film of the year at the upcoming Academy Awards. They note a change of focus on foreign realities in Hollywood, one not entirely voluntary: "The shock of September 11 is still having repercussions here. This shock comes from the fact that a chain of events that initially had nothing to do with America could ultimately have such tragic consequences. And on the other hand there's the current government, whose biggest mistake is to look at the world through America-coloured glasses. That's led to a significant politicisation in American film." Click here for a full list of films nominated.


Die Tageszeitung 24.01.2007

Following the murder of the Armenian Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, the taz prints an article by Dink from the anthology "Modell Türkei? Ein Land im Spannungsfeld zwischen Religion, Militär und Demokratie" ("The Turkish model? A country between religion, the military and democracy). Dink examines the domestic and external impetuses for change that are acting on the country, and asks whether entry into the EU can help in the fight against religious fundamentalism. "In Turkey, changes always reflect the will of the 'shadow state,' the alliance of military and capital. Changes have always taken place from the top down. Society as a whole has had no say in them, and just has to accept them. This was best expressed by Nevzat Tandogan, the mayor of Ankara: 'What have you got to say? When this country needs communism, we'll introduce it'."

Tim Ackermann is delighted with the show "Sprengelprojekt" in the Sprengel Museum in Hanover, in which the world-renowned photographer Thomas Ruff has been given a free hand to show his photographs alongside works selected from the museum's collection. "Many of Ruff's interventions are disrespectful, even funny. And on top of that they demonstrate a blatant abuse of curatorial power. It's a good thing that from time to time the museum lets outsiders fiddle around with its collection. One example is a statue by Giacometti facing a cold-hearted sea of ice photographed by Ruff, which adds a touch of romance to the photographer's work. Another example is provided by Gerhard Richter, whose works are allowed to appear alongside Ruff's 'nudes' (example here). Richter's most expressive painting in the show has lines similar to those in one of Ruff's porno images. If you compare Richter and Ruff, you get the impression that the first painted the explosion of sexual feelings that the second removed from the 'Nude' when he blurred the image."

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