04/04/2007

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.

Die Zeit 04.04.2007

"There's only one solution: abolish the presidency," writes Parisian theatre director Benjamin Korn after reflecting on power in French politics. What gets him most is the monarchic magnitude of the presidential power: "The president is the highest commander of the army, he commands the minister of defence and determines foreign policy. He alone may activate the atomic button, he has the last word in all major questions concerning the country. He appoints the prefects who govern France. He names the diplomatic corps. If he wants, he can influence the choice of artistic directors at the Comedie Francaise or the Opera de la Bastille. These stupefying facts, which have nothing in common with the situation in Germany, England, or even the USA, are only the tip of the iceberg we call the presidency. The office is a permanent humiliation of all democratic principles, the epitome of an absolute, constitutionally anchored opacity of power relationships."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 04.04.2007

Thomas Urban writes that the Kaczynski brothers are in fact right in speeding up the pace of lustration in Poland, because with the change of systems many apparatchiks turned their coats. These include "key functionaries who stood for the dark and brutal side of the communist regime. The former propaganda chief of the central committee became head of the Prime Minister's Office. A judge who pronounced blatantly unfair judgements against Solidarnosc activists under martial law then became deputy to the Attorney General. A general who used armed force to break up a strike became one of the country's highest military commanders. Leaders of commando raids against opposition students became directors of state enterprises. And journalists who were true to the former regime have taken up chief posts in the state media."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 04.04.2007

Joachim Günter has read two books in which victims and perpetrators of Red Army Faction (RAF) terrorism confront their history - "Nach dem bewaffneten Kampf" (after the armed struggle) with contributions by former terrorists, and Anne Siemen's collection of conversations "Für die RAF war er das System, für mich der Vater" (for the RAF he was the system, for me, my father) – and finds that the much-lamented obsession with perpetrators applies to both groups. The victims' relatives are often able to deal fairly with the perpetrators. "In comparison, the thinking and feelings of the former terrorists are still encapsuled in a 'spaceship', as Karl-Heinz Dellwo (a former terrorist-ed) described the high security wing and the RAF in his report. The most extreme sympathy seems to have been reached when Dellwo admits: 'I am responsible for the death of the embassy employees.' His regret doesn't get any more specific and he never really condemns the brutality which was specific to the RAF attacks. Their position is characterised by a distance from the deeds and, at the same time, an ongoing commitment to the motivation."

Thomas Binotto is enchanted by Alain Resnais' most recent film "Private fears in public places," especially its actors. "Thanks to them, 'Hearts' is also a gentle study of decay. Sabine Azema, Laura Morante and Isabelle Carre are all very beautiful women. But their beauty is intoxicating and at the same time sad, because nothing seems more endangered by decay than something that's in full bloom. At first glance, this threshold existence seems to only apply to the women. But the men too - Lambert Wilson, Pierre Arditi and Andre Dussollier – are standing on this brink. Their flirts are all one step short of ridiculous. It's this balancing act that makes this film truly unusual, that makes us believe in something like the wisdom that comes with age."


Die Tageszeitung
04.04.2007

Aureliana Sorrento takes a look at documentary theater today. Recently, the margins of theatre seems to have been infected with "a kind of reality fever. Artists who move in this space, with a hunger for real people, have generally been trained in theatre but behave as though they learnt their trade at the Henri Nannen School of Journalism. They cut the most random little articles out of newspapers (...) and assemble them, tweak the language, polish and sand them in order to, in the end, create a new piece, together with the players."

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