03/07/2007

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.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 03.07.2007

Roman Bucheli witnessed a memorable scene at a reading by Robert Menasse in Leukerbad in Switzerland. The author read a short story "about a Jewish family who survived war and famine in 1944/45 by hiding in the monkey house in the Amsterdam zoo." No, Bucheli relates, "Menasse doesn't tell the story itself, but he does tell how the story is continually repeated in the family, and how with each repetition it gradually becomes a caricature of itself. And now, when the grandfather dies, it becomes a parody of the tragedy it presents in a farcical way. The audience laughed along, hardly noticing how an abyss was opening up behind the humorous presentation - until at the end the author, overwhelmed, broke down in tears."


Frankfurter Rundschau 03.07.2007

Jürgen Otten was at Peter Konwitschny's staging of the operetta "Land of Smile" at the Komische Oper in Berlin. Everything begins well. "A party in Viennese society, with monocles and mistresses, champagne and innuendos. The stage, designed by Jörg Kossdorf, is like an architect's office or museum, showing the insignia of the fair city of Vienna, the Stephansdom, the State Opera, the Prater Ferris wheel, a few busts and cherubim, things like that. Dresses rustle, people chat, the decolletes are delicious, as is only fitting. But before long the chandelier comes crashing to the ground and the brass instruments in the orchestra pit give a dissonant burst."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
03.07.2007

Art theorist Beat Wyss cheerfully nails the coffin lid on his profession and declares, to coincide with documenta, the end of art theory. "Business is booming like never before – although – or rather, precisely because it is no longer dependent on theoretical substantiation. Art has learned to run like Zarathustra, and it doesn't want to be pushed around any more – least of all by the writing profession. The only regulating factor for the creation of form is the market, which sets the buzz words and bench marks. Questions of style and political theory are both out the window. It's WalMart now and price is everything. And parties. And who was there – precisely the bits of news that don't make it into the art magazines, where with their subscriber base of 6,000 or so faithful and appropriately educated subscribers, the fight for survival is on. The new school of art magazine is Vanity Fair, Gala, Hello."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
03.07.2007

In a long article, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck ("The Lives of Others") explains why he wants Scientologist Tom Cruise to play the man who tried to blow up Hitler, Claus Schenk Count von Stauffenberg in the film he's currently making. "Perhaps we simply have to accept that none of us are gods, neither Stauffenberg, nor Tom Cruise, nor L. Ron Hubbard, nor any of us. No one will be healed by the German character, nor by the American one. The truth is that every individual can only be healed by and for himself, and life remains a search for the inner truth. And Stauffenberg epitomises this search. What I want from the state is a secure framework within which this search can take place. Yet on the issue of Tom Cruise and Stauffenberg, the German state has stepped in again, as if it had all the answers." (His comment refers to his being refused permission to film in the Bendler Block where von Stauffenberg cooked up his plot and which today houses the German Resistance Memorial Centre and belongs to the Ministry of Defence.)


Die Tageszeitung 03.07.2007

The nine-day poetry extravaganza poesiefestival 2007 came to an end on Sunday. Andreas Resch is delighted at how poetry has forged a new identify for itself in the digital world, and at its ability to delight a mass audience when combined with performance elements: "It's long been clear at the festival that verse is a real crowd pleaser when it gets together with music or other media. So it's no surprise that the 'e-poesie' concert on Thursday was completely sold out. Especially interesting in such hybrid forms is, similarly to digital poetry, the game with oppositional movements and voices. In the sound composition 'Skubriocha', Valeri Scherstjanoi's verbal acrobatics blended with the crackling sounds produced by Dutch composer David Kiers. At times they came together in an illuminating dialogue, at others they amplified and intensified each other, sounding sometimes like a mix between Kurt Schwitters' 'primordial sonata' and the voice experiments of a Mike Patton."

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