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31/07/2009

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.

Die Tageszeitung 25.07.2009

In conversation with Katrin Bettina Müller, Ulrich Khuon the new manager of the Deutsches Theater in Berlin, talks about how cut-off the theatre is from real life. "We claim to be narrating the world; but the danger is that theatre is so absorbing that it's easy to mistake the theatre for the world. You can spend your entire life in the theatre, entering early morning, leaving at night, between rehearsal rooms, the main stage and the canteen. In Hamburg I often used to cycle to the theatre, passing a children's playground and a youth club on my way. It used to make me think how strange it is, that in the theatre we are always telling people how things are, about the youth for example, but our access to this world is highly selective."


Süddeutsche Zeitung
25.07.2009

The curator Daniel Birnbaum celebrates the "Garden and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur" exhibition in the British Museum in London as a "true sensation". It is the first time that these 18th century paintings have been seen in the West. Birnbaum is amazed by both their abstract qualities and narrative qualities: "These are striking works of narrative art, as effective and entertaining as any comic. They summon visions of magical fairytales: a flat turquoise hill where a group of monkeys confer, while elephants frolic in the humid rain that falls from the golden clouds. A group of loveable bears help a prince over the river, which seems to flow into the sky. The water is a deity and every monkey a holy being. Polytheism is more fertile territory for art that the belief in a supreme holy being. And certainly more entertaining."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 27.07.2009

Star author Daniel Kehlmann held the opening speech at the Salzburger Festspiele. He used the occasion to launch an attack on director's theatre in memory of his father, the director Michael Kehlman, who saw himself as the servant of the author. There has been an uproar in the feuilletons ever since. Kehlmann's arguments are not new but this did not prevent the FAZ from printing his speech in its entirety. "It is a vicious circle: when the directors are the stars, the authors hold themselves back; and where the authors hold themselves back, the directors claim the status of stars who are not answerable to any author, living or dead: 'It's our intellectual property!' they cry and indeed it must be very unpleasant to be a creative genius without having a play to one's name...." etc. (Read the full speech in the Kleine Zeitung)


Die Tageszeitung 28.07.2009

Krautrock is making a comeback, announces Tim Caspar Boehme and illustrates his point in an extensive background article. The world is full of homages to groups like Neu! (video) and Cluster (video). "The London band Chrome Hoof (video) was so fired up after playing a concert together with Cluster that they asked their heroes to provide them with samples for their next album. 'They seem to think we are still cutting-edge,' Dieter Moebius says cheefully. His current solo album 'Kram' proves that he's still a force to be reckoned with. For all the electronics, he sounds organic, witty and like nothing else on Earth."


Süddeutsche Zeitung 28.07.2009

Alex Rühle travels to India to visit Aamir Khan, "the man who brought method acting to India. The man who has just broken all box-office records yet again with 'Ghanijini'. The man who has revolutionised Indian film-industry production like no other. The man whose films are banned in several states because of his fierce criticism of the government. And a man who, when we finally arrive at five o'clock, demonstrates what it really means to look stunning: the driver, who still hasn't realised where he is, rolls into the drive, gets out of the car and suddenly finds himself face to face with Aamir Kahn, clad in a Bermuda-shorts and flip-flops. He falls to his knees, grabbing at the car door for support, and emits a small whimper. Bewildered, he glances back and forth between his passenger and the god of Indian cinema, before crawling back into the car and rolling off to the garage like a terrified animal."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung
29.07.2009

Christian Schlösser looks for explanations for the political success of the Dutch populist Geert Wilders, who obviously stands a good chance of becoming the next president: "The Netherlands represent a particularly crass example of the rapid loss of political culture... Wilders is adept at capitalising on the phantom pain caused by the waves of modernisation and secularisation, sharing his projections of the threat of Islamofascism with an electorate, whose own lives are living proof of the radical loss of traditional values. Geert Wilders does not deliver anything constructive, he stages the spectacle to this disappearance." Schlösser however makes no mention of Pim Fortyn or Theo van Gogh.


Die Welt 30.07.2009

One day it will impact corrupt civil servants and the next, defenders of a free Tibet. In English "Renrou Sousuo" means "search machine for human flesh". It describes the Chines practice of collective branding via the Internet, reports Johny Erling: "In other states the term 'Renrou Sousuo' would have been blacklisted long ago. In China, on the other hand, millions of people take pride in working as self-appointed detectives. They pool their information on wanted persons online, collecting names, addresses, job information and private details, before revealing them to the public in blogs and forums. The British Times talked about it as potentially the 'largest lynch mob in the world."


Der Tagesspiegel
30.07.2009

Cheers and applause punctuated the premiere of Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds" in Berlin, reports Jan Schulz-Ojala, still giddy from the experience. He talks of a "catharsis, an enduring sense of liberation. Instead of perpetuating the violence of this historic evil while cashing in on it yet again, here is a film that goes from a moving, gruesomely hilarious and always gripping start, and proceeds kill off all those Nazis, from Hitler to Borman, who really deserved it. What an oxygen rush: from images alone!"


Süddeutsche Zeitung
31.07.2009

Christine Dössel attempts to gauge the size of the crater left in German theatre by the death of stage director Peter Zadek. "It is terrible to envisage the vast chunk of history that has now come to an end, with the death of this enfant terrible and old master, who was infamous as he was famous. No one turned German theatre on its head so radically, forcing it to confront the foulest truths and the most human impulses, as the sensuous Zadek. He, who returned from England to sweep like a whirlwind through the paralysed conventionality of German post-war theatre, to stir it into life and stamp it with his own – for half a century."

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