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GoetheInstitute

20/09/2007

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.

Spiegel Online 20.09.2007

"So wrong it hurts" is how best-selling author and law professor Bernhard Schlink ("The Reader") describes the statement by German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung that passenger planes used as terrorist weapons my be shot down as a "surpra-legal emergency measure": "In the conflict over shooting down hijacked aeroplanes, the Federal Constitutional Court has decided on how to protect life and dignity. It ruled that according to the constitution they are to be protected, and no supra-legal emergency measure should have precedence over this. There is no such thing as an extra-constitutional emergency which could render the constitution invalid."


Die Welt
20.09.2007

Fatih Akin, whose film "Auf der anderen Seite" ("The Edge of Heaven") has just been nominated for the best foreign film Oscar, explains in an interview with Hanns-Georg Rodek why his films are world cinema. "I have noticed that most of my audience is in Germany, but things are picking up in Turkey. And I have started to think for both markets. What I write should function here but also over there. In my experience at least, if a film functions in both of these cultures, I can be relatively sure that it will also go down well in France, Asia or Mexico. My two points of socialisation, Germany and Turkey, represent globalisation, so to speak. If you understand both systems, you understand the worldwide connections. And this means that what I make is world cinema."


Die Tageszeitung
20.09.2007

In an interview filmmaker Romuald Karmakar talks about the making of and the background to his film "Hamburger Lektionen" (Hamburg lessons) in which the actor Manfred Zapatka reads out (more here) the 'hate sermons' of Imam Fazazi. "Fazazi evokes a binary system: us and them. Fazazi defines what one must do to belong to the us group which is to follow the strict, literal, Salafist form of Islam. The catalogue of virtues which separates us from them is typical of extremist groups. The SS also used this tactic. Fazazi communicates to the audience the idea of his words as revelation. The individuals do not act as individuals, but as agents of a vision. This too is reminiscent of Himmler's rhetoric which evoked the future of the thousand-year empire."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung
20.09.2007

In view of the recent neo-Nazi activities in Israel "outrage and incredulity have replaced the repressive reflex", reports Naomi Bubis. "That there are people in the Jewish state who tattoo Nazi symbols into their arms, perform the Hitler salute and attack Orthodox Jew comes as a shock to most Israelis. But we're not talking about some phenomenon on the margins. Since 2002 over 500 anti-Semitic incidents have been reported, most of them involve swastika graffiti and graveyard vandalism but also attacks against Orthodox Jews." And Bubis doubts that new immigration laws can prevent further such violations. This is an issue that "will preoccupy Israel for a long time to come."


Frankfurter Rundschau 20.09.2007

In his summary of this year's Documenta 12 exhibition in Kassel, Ulf Erdmann Ziegler complains of the growing importance of the role of curator: "Curators have never been able to come down entirely against traditional concepts of their role. Catherine David was the first in Kassel, in 1997, to threaten with punishment: You want to see paintings? Off with your heads! (...) In 2002, similarly, Okwui Enwezor sat like a control freak in his lighthouse, and the exhibition guides filtrated his salon-Marxist ideas to the visitors. Now no visitor to Documenta escapes the bitter hunch that the curators begrudge visitors their own exhibitions, and that we are to be led by the nose, indoctrinated, perhaps even proselytised if possible. But at least there has never been a Documenta that inspired only indifference and depression."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 20.09.2007

Jens Bisky is unconvinced by Cardinal Joachim Meisner's attempt to correct his much-decried use of the term "degenerate culture" (more here). "Meisner attacked the self-concept of a secular society. (...) He brings in the dictatorships of the 20th century as evidence, as if nothing but the Gulag Archipeligo and the extermination camp lay outside Christianity. Yet this pays little heed to the collaboration of not so few Church representatives with dictators and slaughterers, as well as to the possibility of a non-Christian humanism.


Die Zeit
20.09.2007

Thomas Groß describes the metamorphosis of the bohemian into the "culturepreneur". "These people operate in a field of options and calculations which is determined by the market, because ideally their understanding is not limited to their own metier, but they also can identify trends and interpret economic data. They make a point of keeping their specialist knowledge (cultural capital) in good shape to maintain the edge on other providers, which makes them pretty savvy all in all. Where the economy incorporates its counterparts as a key resource little can remain of art's utopian surplus. Art has become functional, with all the disenchantment that this entails."


Die Welt 20.09.2007

Volker Tarnow defends Jean Sibelius against his European detractors on the 50th anniversary of the Finnish composer's death: "The meaning in Sibelius' music is highly poetic, but by no means reducible to Finnish myths or pinewood forests. It speaks of the relation of humans to their environment. As opposed to what Theodor Adorno said, his music in no way uses the voice of sadistic Nature to conceal our technical impotence. Rather, Sibelius had an enormous capacity for formulating something all-inclusive, something inaccessible, in which we are merely an ephemeral component, and whose outlandish, menacing beauty we sense in our best moments. No music can do more than that."

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