14/08/2007

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.

Süddeutsche Zeitung 14.08.2007

The Berlin Wall went up forty-six years ago. Now the government authority which manages Stasi - or secret police - files has presented a document that instructed Stasi border guards to shoot without warning even in cases of "border violations involving women and children." East-German author Ingo Schulze looks back on the days when he served in the National People's Army: "From the start it was clear I'd never be a border guard. A year before I was recruited, the Stasi had (falsely) accused my mother and me of planning to flee the country. And we had family in the West. I admired and admire today all those who had the courage to refuse border service. That was possible, even if you were stationed far from home. But in fact everyone who had pledged the oath of allegiance and did sentinel duty (to watch over the regiment, which meant above all preventing the soldiers from smuggling alcohol), had the order to fire, even if it was (if I remember correctly) after three warning shots."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 14.08.2007

Joseph Croitoru reports on a project by the Iranian government to relocate hundreds of thousands of Iranians of Arab descent: "The transfer of the population seems to be part of a comprehensive plan aiming at the forced 'Iranisation' of this part of the population, and at re-Iranisation of the areas in which they mostly settled up to now. Steps have been taken to prevent the demographic concentration of this minority in certain regions: In place of the transferred Arabs, the government systematically resettles Iranians of Persian origin, from whom it probably expects greater loyalty."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 14.08.2007

Andrea Köhler waxes poetic after visiting the big Richard Serra retrospective in New York: "The experience one has with Richard Serra's monumental steel constructions is peculiar: Inside them, you feel light and elevated. When you run your hand along the curved walls of his five meter sculptures, you turn into a magnet that adapts to the rhythm of the wave lines. At the same time, you're caught in a kind of vortex; it feels as if you were dancing – moved by an invisible hand. This lightness doesn't emanate from the gigantic heavyweight sculptures, and yet the way they impact upon the spectactor borders on magic."


Die Welt 14.08.2007

The city of Frankfurt is planning to reconstruct elegant residential houses destroyed during the war. Writer Martin Mosebach, winner of this year's Georg Büchner Prize, explains in a long interview why this can only improve the almost faceless city. "In my view, all of Frankfurt is like a barren wasteland. Even the few buildings that survived the War seem strangely new. The fine mesh that bonds a building or a street with another epoch are severed here.... I just want to state that this city has fewer personal traits - and less history - than many others. That's why it's all the more important to reconstruct historical architectural benchmarks."


Die Tageszeitung 14.08.2007

Irene Grüter reports from the 39th tampere theatre festival in Finland. The event, the largest of its kind in Scandinavia, bills 20 Finnish and six international productions, two of which are based on Finnish works. Grüter was particularly impressed by the "Estonian production of 'Kokkola', a tragicomedy by Leea Klemola which was selected the best Finnish play of 2005. It takes place well within the vodka belt, the local name for that latitude above which a drinking culture exists that has less to do with alcoholism than an attitude to life. 'Being drunk is just a way of contemplating the world,' says Piano consolingly to Reejo, who lies drunk on the side of the road. Piano operates a 'private transport enterprise.' His crowded bus, bedecked with elk antlers, comes to the aid of those on the verge of disappearing into an ice - or communication - hole."


Frankfurter Rundschau 14.08.2007

Sylvia Staude reports from the ImPuls dance festival in Vienna: "Jerome Bel, a pioneer of conceptual dance, recently made a striking comparison. According to him, dance and the army are 'the two structures which most alienate individuals from themselves'. In this context he spoke of 'internalised discipline,' the dominant role (of the choreographer) and the 'deliberate (self-)oppresion' (of the dancer)." Staude, too, states: "The profession of dancers is becoming more and more diverse, as one noticed when seeing them in action in Vienna; the requirements are becoming (still) more exotic; they moreover bring body artists to the stage whose training is not predominantly in dance."

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