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09/05/2007

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.

Berliner Zeitung 09.05.2007

Ulrich Seidler talks to theatre director Peter Stein and actor Klaus-Maria Brandauer about their upcoming production of Friedrich Schiller's entire "Wallenstein" trilogy. Stein, one of the founders of Berlin's Schaubühne theatre in the 70s who now lives as an olive-grower in Italy when he's not directing plays, explains his current directing ethos. "The essence of the classics is that their message is enduring. As opposed to the know-it-alls in business, politics and journalism who produce exceedingly perishable goods, art can speak beyond its own time. That's why I seek to let the author's voice be heard as much as possible. That is, to the extent we can understand it today. But there are ways to help the understanding along. You just have to focus on these, and that means having certain interests. A lot can be discovered together with the actors, who are a wonderful critical instrument."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
09.05.2007

The "freshest prime cuts from the art market" will not be on view at the coming Documenta, Thomas Wagner announces in a speculative article about the 100-day event which begins on June 16. "Spectacle, so much is clear, will not be the selling point of the d12. No doubt for many people in the business the art and how it is shown will not be sensational enough, not market-friendly enough, too subtle, too differentiated. And since there will be almost a total lack of stars in the exhitibion, there could be a major fallout in the reactions of the art business. The d 12 may disappoint expectations, but it will practise what Catherine David's documenta 10 merely preached: a major distance from the market. Galerists and investors have known this was going to happen for a long time."


Die Tageszeitung
09.05.2007

Romanian-born theatre director Luisa Brandsdörfer toured Romania as organiser of the Heidelberger Stückemarkt, a forum for young playrights currently underway in Heidelberg. She talks to Kristin Becker about the dynamic Romanian theatre scene: "What's in vogue there is the West, for example Sarah Kane. There's also a young squad of actors and directors known as DramAcum - Drama today. They support young dramatists by publishing a yearly anthology of the five best plays. One young author to become known this way was Peca Stefan, the rising star of the theatre scene, who at 24 has already written over 20 plays. He's one of the youngest, and has a brutal take on things. His play 'Romania 21' (which will be performed on Saturday at the Stückemarkt - ed) tells a bitter tale of a family's moral corruption first under communism and then after the fall of the communist regime."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
09.05.2007

On the music pages, Klaus Frederking introduces a series of African pop CDs. Ever heard Congo Rumba? Here's how it came about: "Africa dances... An unorthodox demonstration that in every clichee lies a grain of truth, was delivered by Patrice Lumumba in January 1960. In the Hotel Plaza in Brussels, he was negotiating with the colonial powers about the independence of Belgian Congo. Everything went swimmingly and so Lumumba, soon to be prime minister, had the African Jazz orchestra flow in. The best band of what was still a colony played triumphantly in the foyer and the singer Joseph Kabasele issued the victory cry: 'At the round table, cha-cha, that's where we won.' Congo danced. The 'Independance Cha-Cha' spread as a hymn of a new era throughout Africa – and in its wake came a melange which quickly became known as 'Rumba Congolaise'. Cuba was the major influence on the new genre, but into the mix also came French pop music, from Kabasele's unmistakeable role model Tino Rossi, the brill-creamed crooner from Corsica. The music crossed tribal and national borders - and that was its greatest strength."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung
09.05.2007

"Death in Venice was never like this," exclaims Samuel Herzog about a show of contemporary painting and sculpture from the Francois Pinault Collection in the Palazzo Grassi in Venice: "A huge skull stares with dark orifices over the Canale Grande - so grim that the 'O sole mio' freezes on gondolieri's lips as they paddle by. Only the Japanese giggle oddly when they see the sculpture - perhaps because they are quicker than others to see through the skull's symbolism to its material reality. Because this huge sculpture is made of a huge number of shining silvery kitchen utensils: pots and pans, kettles and bowls, boxes and platters."

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Saturday 6 - Friday 12 November, 2010

The NZZ asks why banks invest in art. The FAZ gawps at the unnatural stack of stomach muscles in Michelangelo's drawings. The taz witnesses a giant step for the "Yugo palaver". Bernard-Henri Levy describes Sakineh Ashtiani's impending execution as a test for Iran and the west. Journalist Michael Anti talks about the healthy relationship between the net and the Chinese media. Literary academic Helmut Lethen describes how Ernst Jünger stripped the worker of all organic substances.
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Saturday 30 October - Friday 5 November, 2010

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Saturday 23 - Friday 29 October, 2010

Author Doron Rabinovici protests against the concessions of moderate Austrian politicians to the FPÖ: recently in Vienna, children were sent back to Kosovo at gunpoint. Ian McEwan wonders why major German novelists didn't mention the Wall. The NZZ looks through the Priz Goncourt shortlist and finds plenty of writers with more bite than Houellebecq. The FAZ outs two of Germany's leading journalists who fiercely guarded the German Foreign Ministry's Nazi past. Jens-Martin Eriksen and Frederik Stjernfelt analyse the symptoms of culturalism, left and right. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht demonstratively yawns at German debate.
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Saturday 9 - Friday 15 October, 2010

The FR laps up the muscular male bodies and bellies at the Michelangelo exhibition in the Viennese Albertina. The same paper is outraged by the cowardice of the Berlin exhibition "Hitler and the Germans". Mario Vargas-Llosa remembers a bad line from Sweden. Theologist Friedrich Wilhelm Graf makes it very clear that Western values are not Judaeo-Christian values. The Achse des Guten is annoyed by the attempts of the mainstream media to dismiss Mario Vargas-Llosa. The NZZ celebrates the tireless self-demolition of Polish writer and satirist Slawomir Mrozek.
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Saturday 2 - Friday 8 October, 2010

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Saturday 25 September - Friday 1 October

Three East German theatre directors talk about the trauma of reunification. In the FAZ, Thilo Sarrazin denies accusations that his book propagates eugenics: "I am interested in the interplay of nature and nurture." Polemics are being drowned out by blaring lullabies, author Thea Dorn despairs. Author Iris Radisch is dismayed by the state of the German novel - too much idle chatter, not enough literary clout. Der Spiegel posts its interview with the German WikiLeaks spokesman, Daniel Schmitt. And Vaclav Havel's appeal to award the Nobel prize to Liu Xiabobo has the Chinese authorities pulling out their hair.
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Saturday 18 - Friday 24 September, 2010

Herta Müller's response to the news that poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant was one of overwhelming grief: "When he returned home from the gulag he was everybody's game." Theatre director Luk Perceval talks about the veiled depression in his theatre. Cartoonist Molly Norris has disappeared after receiving death threats for her "Everybody Draw Mohammed" campaign. The Berliner Zeitung approves of the mellowing in Pierre Boulez' music. And Chinese writer Liao Yiwu, allowed to leave China for the first time, explains why schnapps is his most important writing tool.
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