01/08/2007

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 01.08.2007

"Everything we consider modern we owe to him," begins Michael Althen's obituary of film director Michelangelo Antonioni, who died on July 30. Althen recalls two of the most sublime moments of film history: the disappearance of Lea Massari in "L'Avventura" and the end of "L'Eclisse": "In the first, a woman vanishes from the story and after half an hour, the search for her has come to nothing. Equally courageous was 'L'Eclisse', shot two years later. In it, the lovers Alain Delon and Monica Vitti simply fail to appear at their final rendezvous. Instead, the final seven minutes of the film show the meeting point where nothing happens, and time passes uneventfully by. And yet cinema has never described a space in such poetic and precise terms as those 57 takes in which 'L'Eclisse' comes to a standstill."


Die Welt 01.08.2007

"Night falls quickly in the lowlands at the end of September. When the arc lamps go on, the day comes to an end in a flash. Shortly beforehand the sunset had cast a magic light on the brick walls, the city's metaphysical moment." Thomas Schmid quotes from Michelangelo Antonioni's book of short stories "The Bowling Alley on the Tiber" and comments on Antonioni the writer: "He told of an old Italy - and of the new, detached and yet sensitive people who inhabited it. The action is often calm, almost torpid, pleasure and fatality belong together. Like in his films, Antonioni rejected realism in his writing - as did Calvino. Yet unlike Calvino he was a sort of regional writer with an eye for the bizarre, for the comical, but above all for the unexplainable. Of course he knew that you still can't explain reality when you abstain from the use of reason. His stories are narrated riddles, and we can never really free ourselves from their clutches."


Die Tageszeitung 01.08.2007

The taz commemorates film director Michelangelo Antonioni on its cover page and Diedrich Diederichsen writes an obituary, recalling Antonioni's dream of "making commodities explode": "Lonely and beautiful, surrounded by the dead, but telling sceneries of Rome, London or the petrochemical production sites of the Po delta, Michelangelo Antonioni's characters take shape. They do not speak, they are the heroes of a silent objection against the 'administered world,' as one used to say in those days. And this objection consisted in beautiful eyes and a resolutely desperate, introspective look."


Frankfurter Rundschau 01.08.2007

Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich reviews two CDs by pianists Herbert Henck and Kolja Lessing, both of which feature unknown 20th century composers. "The musical wealth of the last century has repeatedly motivated Herbert Henck to travel into 'Neuland', or uncharted territory (the title of a series of books he conceived in the 1980s). With the flair of a detective, he tracked down works by the little-known Schönberg student Norbert von Hannenheim. Hannenheim suffered a nervous breakdown during the Nazi era, which he just managed to survive in a euthanasia ward, dying shortly thereafter. Most of his compositions seem to have disappeared. Henck plays four concise, rigorously structured piano sonatas and a moving fragment from an otherwise lost piano concerto. Although they don't demonstrate a full musical development, these pieces blend a powerful productive force and a mature mastery of the art of composition."

Peter Michalzik's comment on Luk Perceval's staging of "Moliere. Eine Passion" at the Salzburg Festival: "it couldn't be more extreme" – especially actor Thomas Thieme's exposure of himself. "What's been squeezed out of these plays by Moliere is full of chattering rhymes that seem, for a while, liberating but get on your nerves in the long run. Love is turned into 'well-spiced stork filet' because it rhymes with 'death with delay'. No joke is too corny, no dirty slur left out – these are the only sensations that the authors treat us to. Thieme's radicalism is overshadowed by this childish nonsense."

Joachim F. Tornau takes a look at the Caricatura, the exhibition taking place for the fifth time as a funny alternative to the Documenta in Kassel. "With more than 650 pieces of work by 80 cartoonists, the Caricatura is larger than ever before. It occupies three stories of the south wing of the train station and claims to present nothing less than the 'state of the German-language funny art.' But the exhibition is also a take on the current state of wounded sensitivities. The bloody and acrimonious fight over the Danish Muhammad cartoons (more), the death threats against Berlin cartoonist Klaus Stuttmann, who depicted Iran's soccer team as eleven suicide bombers, and the mockery that was made of the German army's involvement in the World soccer championships: all of these have left their traces in the world of comic art."

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