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GoetheInstitute

16/06/2005

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 Zeit, 16.06.2005

Critical public discussion in Iran has relocated to the Internet, writes Jörg Lau. This has led to an explosion in the number of blogs (here a selection), estimated to be more than 100,000. For both Lau and the current regime, this digital underground represents an increasingly serious opposition. "The blogs take over the functions that the state-controlled print media are prevented from carrying out. They contain uncensored reports and commentaries on the major political events in the country. For example, the blog pages gave full coverage on the disqualification of the reform candidates in the upcoming elections on June 17. With the blogs, the system in Iran has gained one more absurdity: a flagrantly manipulated election about which the entire country is reading every detail in real time over the Internet."

China now has the best and liveliest film industry in the world, ventures Katja Nicodemus, citing a selection of films. "Maybe Chinese film is so very lively these days because it is filled with stories about disappearing lifestyles, but also about novel enticements and new identities. Perhaps when a country is overrun by changes, filmmakers have a different, more existential way of documenting life, as their cinema is literally a way of holding onto something. Because tomorrow, the people they depict might already be living and working differently than they do today. But also because their factories could be dismantled and their houses demolished ā€“ or buried under the floods of the biggest dam project in the history of mankind."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 16.06.2005

Göttingen-based political scientist Franz Walter considers the new leftist coalition being formed by Gregor Gysi (former chairman of the PDS, the successor to the communist party of East Germany) and Oskar Lafontaine (former SPD finance minister and a harsh critic of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder) to be the sign of an ageing society. "The days of a juvenile political culture... are past. In an ageing society, the political hero is no longer the bold lad who describes the Utopia of the future with a cracking voice, hastening towards a better society with his coat tails waving behind him. In an ageing society, the social and political veto is articulated softly if you like: traditionalist, safer, more seasoned, maybe also wiser. Such a leftist party can profit from this lifestyle conservatism. It doesn't have to protect itself - half-hearted, embarrassed - against the accusation of being a party of the 1970s welfare state.ā€¯


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 16.06.2005

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, now 86, appeared on Russian television, to give an astonishingly open dressing down to both the Kremlin and the White House, writes Kerstin Holm. "As a down-to-earth fundamentalist in questions of political justice, Solzhenitsyn believes that democracy only exists where it emerges from an autonomous regional movement. That was never the case in Russia. For him, the recently abolished governor's elections are no loss, because they were undemocratic, corrupt, fraudulent, or even openly criminal. But he is equally critical of the mission of the United States, which he says feels obliged to install "democracy" from above and by means of bayonets all over the globe - democratic power that deserves the name develops gradually, step by step."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 16.06.2005

Gerhard Gnauck comments on changing attitudes towards the past in Silesia, which until 1945 was part of the German Reich and now is mostly part of Poland. While the German legacy used to be neglected, if not completely suppressed, today it is the subject of renewed attention, both in archaeology and pop culture. "The local Silesian bard, Roman Kolakowski, sings: 'The German houses of Polish Wroclaw / yes, there lies my home'. The abandon with which the Polish population not only did not invent, but practically stumbled across and adopted a tradition has something poignant, at times almost odd about it. The intellectuals are happy to live in a city with a double base."


Die Tageszeitung, 16.06.2005


Harvey and Bob
Weinstein are splitting up with Disney. For Sebastian Moll this is the end of an era in which mainstream and independent cinema combined to create a vigorous new industry. Since then, the boundaries between the two have been blurred. "Is an indie a film brought onto the market by an independent producer?" asks Geoffrey Gilmore, co-director of the Sundance Festival of independent film. "Many directors produce both for studios and independents. Does the money have to come from independent sources? There's nothing more absurd than calling a film an independent because its funding comes from an investment bank rather than an international media group. Or is it a film in which the filmmaker has complete creative say? Then Steven Spielberg would be the biggest independent director of all time."


Der Tagesspiegel, 16.06.2005

"wit" reports from the international trade fair Art Basel: "Once a year Basel is the artistic centre of the world. That is when museum directors, collectors, and gallery owners from the four corners of the globe assemble to take stock of art as a commodity. Over 60 private jets are said to have landed in the city the day before the 36th Art Basel opened. This year American collectors are taking the opportunity to enlarge their own collections after a stop at the Venice Biennale. Here there is an almost unlimited number of works on offer: 275 galleries present works from the classic modern to the very youngest contemporary artists on two floors." The most expensive work is a portrait by Picasso of his son, priced at 100 million euros.

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