Writing against disappearance ? Sa?a Stani?i?

Sa?a Stani?i?, who grew up in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Germany, writes regional novels of an unusual kind. His novel ?Vor dem Fest? was awarded the Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair. ... more more

GoetheInstitute

28/03/2008

From the Feuilletons

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 28.03.2008

In a very interesting interview, Tibetan writer Jamyang Norbu discusses the principle of non-violence, which he considers a failure as it condemns Tibetans to inactivity and plays into the hands of Peking. "It was only in 1959 when the Dalai Lama fled the country, after uprisings in Lhasa in which the townspeople, ex-military and former Tibetan civil servants took part, that Tibet moved into the international spotlight. Everything that we have today in exile goes back to this uprising. Even the Dalai Lama should face up to the fact that he was only able to leave the country because Tibetans took up arms and helped him. Ultimately, he owes his freedom and status to people who were ready to use violence. They didn't only save his life, they also saved him from further ignominy. In fact, the Dalai Lama was kidnapped and brought outside the country by Tibetans against his will. If he had stayed, the same thing would have happened to him that happened to the Panchen Lama. He would have become a puppet in the hands of the Chinese government."


Kölner Stadtanzeiger 28.03.2008

"Fitna" is a let down, writes Tobias Kaufmann about the video by Dutch provocateur and anti-Islamic filmmaker Geert Wilders. "'Fitna' was at its most effective as long as no one had seen it. As long as it had people quarrelling about a theoretical provocation, as long as debate centred simply around the possibility that an anti-Koran film could be released in the Netherlands, as long as people played out danger scenarios and evoked looming threats, Wilders' film was a wonderful example of the frenzy in which the threat of Islam has plunged even the most contemplative of countries like the Netherlands. And as long as that was the case, it was useful. Wilders could have taken this to extremes. Instead of putting the film online, he could have called a press conference and said: 'All I did was edit together a few clips from the Internet that I didn't show to anyone, and look how you've all wet your pants in fear.'" (Read our feature "A twelve-minute film about the Koran" by Gelijn Molier)


Frankfurter Rundschau
27.03.2008

"How much state brutality are we ready to accept for the organisation of the Olympic Games?" asks Arno Widmann. "Billions have been invested in the games, and billions of earnings are at stake. They cannot simply be cancelled. Clearly, the games have been able to cope with a substantial amount of terrorism and even a hint of civil war in the past. Yet both the massacre of protesting students in 1968 in Mexico – ten days before the start of the games – and the attack on the Israeli Olympic team in 1972 in Munich came as a surprise. That cannot be said this time around. The Olympic athletes may well meet for a peaceful sporting competition. In all probability, however, the competition will serve to give China an entirely unsporting global publicity by means of a short-lived but extremely effective display of power."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 26.03.2008

Michael Althen praises Julian Schnabel's film "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," based on the book of the same name by Jean-Dominique Bauby, former editor in chief of Elle magazine, who was almost entirely paralysed after a stroke. "In a perfect universe, this film would have won the Oscars for best director, best camera and best screenplay at the Academy Awards. It would have had to! Not because there's anything wrong with the competition, not at all, but because 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' is exactly the kind of film that keeps cinema alive as a popular art form. Because even if it doesn't completely reinvent cinema, it in a way reaches the summit of cinema's possibilities, and audiences just have to keep rubbing their eyes. How simple complex things can be, what beauty you can find where you least expected it."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 25.03.2008

Marianne Zelger-Vogt has heard Berg's opera "Wozzeck" in Bern, at least up to the point when conductor Roman Brogli-Sacher left the orchestra pit. "As artistic director Marc Adam explained to the dumbfounded audience, differences had arisen between Brogli-Sacher and the orchestra regarding how to perform the work. At the centre of the conflict, it seemed, lay different notions of how loud the music should be played. The musicians, citing allowable sound levels, were unwilling to play as loud as Brogli-Sacher wished."


Die Tageszeitung 25.03.2008

Brigitte Werneburg was thrilled with the major Berlin retrospective of works by photographer Wolfgang Tillmans: "You can't stop looking at 'Freedom from the Known Empire (US/Mexico Border)', the huge black and white photo of a border crossing between the United States and Mexico taken in 2005. The fantastic work reveals Tillmans' intense political awareness. The manifold forms of the provisional shacks and the hard, enduring architecture of the border fence mark the location as a zone of state power. The rites of passage are dictated by the empire, and all those wishing to cross the border into Mexico must submit to them. Everyone has their backs to the camera. … They bear a resemblance to classic reportage photography, but also contain passing references to Laszlo Moholy-Nagy's formal studies of the shadow patterns of balcony lattices and other iron constructions, in which photography is pure light design."


Die Welt 25.03.2008

Magdi Allam, a leading journalist at Italy's Corriere della Sera, has converted from Islam to Christianity. He describes his christening in a letter to his editor in chief which Die Welt reprints. "I'm particularly thankful to Pope Benedict XVI, who accorded me the sacraments to become a Christian, baptism, confirmation and Eurcharist, in Saint Peter's Cathedral during the Easter vigil. I took the simplest and most telling name that a Christian can bear: Cristiano. As of yesterday my name is 'Magdi Cristiano Allam'." In a second article, Martin Zöller portrays the journalist, who must now live under protection.


Berliner Zeitung 22.03.2008

Christian Esch was at a moving evening at the Central House of Literature in Moscow, when Andrzej Wajda presented his film "Katyn". Officially, the massacre of 20,000 Polish officers is no longer denied, writes Esch, yet it doesn't fit in well with Russia's portrayals of its past: "But the people gathered at the Central House of Literature saw things differently. The tears flowed. Those present wanted to bring to light and come to terms with past faults, and things were far less routine than they are in Germany. The first to talk was film director Alexey Simonov, who read Alexander Tvardovsky's poem about the guilt of the survivors. Then everyone rose for the third time in honour of their guest, and finally the voice of elderly dissident Ljudmila Alexeyeva broke entirely. Putting her hand on Wajda's, she thanked him for the gift of his films, which reveal the shame of the Soviet crimes, first with 'Canal' about the Warshaw Uprising of 1944, and now with this work. A spontaneous minute of silence followed for the victims of Katyn, to which Wajda's father also counted."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 22.03.2008

The much bewailed demise of Italy is visible not only in politics, Franz Haas reports, but also in the confused and defeatist attitude of the country's intellectuals, who have little to say about the impending third electoral victory of Silvio Berlusconi. One example: "Giorgio Agamben no longer distinguishes between parties, and uses tenuous philosophical acrobatics to explain what 'my, and incidentally also Foucault's investigations show,' namely that today the true mystery 'is no longer the leadership but the government, no longer God but the angel.' Asked whether the clergy has too strong a hand in political matters, he confounds his interviewer by saying that on the contrary, the Church could do much more to fight the 'daily ignominy, injustice and poverty'."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 22.03.2008

How can the "dwarf industry" of Austrian cinema produce so many internationally acclaimed directors, from Barbara Albert to Michael Haneke and Ulrich Seidl? asks Susan Vahabzadeh. "Seidl relates the country's filmmakers to its literary legacy, saying 'Perhaps I'm a bit like Thomas Bernhard, and Michael Haneke is like Elfriede Jelinek. In Austria we tend to sweep things under the carpet.' The relationship to the Anschluss, the annexation of Austria into Greater Germany by the Nazis in 1938, for example. Here people prefer to portray Austria as a victim of the Nazis, he says. 'It seems that a particular form of resistance arises in a society that attempts to cover up so much. Pressure produces counter pressure.'"

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Saturday 11 - 17 December, 2010

A clutch of German newspapers launch an appeal against the criminalisation of Wikileaks. Vera Lengsfeld remembers GDR dissident Jürgen Fuchs and how he met death in his cell. All the papers were bowled over Xavier Beauvois' film "Of Gods and Men." The FR enjoys a joke but not a picnic at a staging of Stravinsky's "Rake's Progress" in Berlin. Gustav Seibt provides a lurid description of Napoleonic soap in the SZ. German-Turkish Dogan Akhanli author explains what it feels like to be Josef K.
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Colombian writer Hector Abad defends Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa against European Latin-America romantics. Wikileaks dissident Daniel Domscheit-Berg criticises the new publication policy of his former employer. The Sprengel Museum has put on a show of child nudes by die Brücke artists. The SZ takes a walk through the Internet woods with FAZ prophet of doom Frank Schirrmacher. The FAZ is troubled by Christian Thielemann's unstable tempo in the Beethoven cycle. And the FR meets China Free Press publisher, Bao Pu.
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Danish author Frederik Stjernfelt explains how the Left got its culturist ideas. Slavenka Draculic writes about censoring Angelina Jolie who wanted to make a film in Bosnia. Daniel Cohn-Bendit talks   about his friendship, falling out and reconciliation with Jean-Luc Godard. Wikileaks has caused an embarrassed silence in the Arab world, where not even al-Jazeera reported on the what the sheiks really think. Alan Posener calls for the Hannah Arendt Institute in Dresden to be shut down.
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Saturday 20 - Friday 26 November, 2010

The theatre event of the week came in a twin pack: Roland Schimmelpfennig's new play, a post-colonial "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" opened at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin and the Thalia in Hamburg. The anarchist pamphlet "The Coming Insurrection" has at last been translated into German and has ignited the revolutionary sympathies of at least two leading German broadsheets, the FAZ and the SZ. But the taz, Germany's left-wing daily, says the pamphlet is strongly right-wing. What's left and right anyway? came the reply.
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Saturday 13 - Friday 19 November, 2010

Dieter Schlesak levels grave accusations against his former friend and colleague, Oskar Pastior, who spied on him for the Securitate. Banat-Swabian author and vice chairman of the Oskar Pastior Foundation, Ernest Wichner, turns on Schlesak for spreading malicious rumours. Die Zeit portrays the Berlin rapper Harris, and the moment he knew he was German. Dutch author Cees Nooteboom meditates on the near lust for physical torture in the paintings of Francisco de Zurburan. An exhibition in Mannheim displays the dream house photography of Julius Schulman.
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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

Now that German TV has just beatified Pope Pius XII, Rolf Hochmuth tells die Welt where he got the idea for his play "The Deputy". The FR celebrates Elfriede Jelinek's "brilliantly malicious" farce about the collapse of the Cologne City Archive. "Carlos" director Olivier Assayas makes it clear that the revolutionary subject is a figment of the imagination. The SZ returns from the Shanghai Expo with a cloying after-taste of sweet 'n' sour. And historian Wang Hui tells the NZZ that China's intellectuals have plenty of freedom to pose critical questions.
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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 16 - Friday 22 October, 2010

A new book chronicles the revolt of revolting "third persons" at Suhrkamp publishers in the wild days of 1968. Necla Kelek is appalled by the speech of the very Christian Christian Wulff, the German president, in Turkey. The taz met a new faction of hardcore Palestinians who are fighting for separate sex hairdressing in Gaza. Sinologist Andreas Schlieker reports on the new Chinese willingness to restructure the heart. And the Cologne band Erdmöbel celebrate the famous halo around the frying pan.
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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

Nigerian writer Niyi Osundare explains why his country has become uninhabitable. German Book Prize winner Melinda Nadj Abonji says Switzerland only pretends to be liberal. German author Monika Maron is not sure that Islam really does belong to Germany. Russian writer Oleg Yuriev explains the disastrous effects of postmodernism on the Petersburg Hermitage. Argentinian author Martin Caparros describes how the Kirchners have co-opted the country's revolutionary history. And publisher Damian Tabarovsky explains why 2001 was such an explosively creative year for Argentina.
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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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From the Feuilletons

Saturday 10 - Friday 17 September, 2010

The poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant, the historian Stefan Sienerth has discovered. Biologist Veronika Lipphardt dismisses Thilo Sarrazin's incendiary intelligence theories as a load of codswallop. A number of prominent Muslim intellectuals in Germany have written an open letter to President Christian Wulff, calling for him to "make a stand for a democratic culture based on mutual respect." And a Shell study has revealed that Germany's youth aspire to be just like their parents.
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Saturday 4 - Friday 10 September, 2010

Thilo Sarrazin has buckled under the stress of the past two weeks and resigned from the board of the Central Bank. His book, "Germany is abolishing itself", however, continues to keep Germany locked in a debate about education and immigration and intelligence. Also this week, Mohammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard has been awarded the M100 prize for defending freedom of opinion. Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a speech at the award ceremony: "The secret of freedom is courage". The FAZ interviewed Westergaard, who expressed his disappointment that the only people who had shown him no support were those of his own class.
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