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11/07/2005

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.

Monday 11 July, 2005

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 11.07.2005


British author Lawrence Norfolk writes that security has become a political question and as such, impossible to answer. He predicts that in the future there will be more deaths and the secret services will be granted greater power. He also suspects that the "immediate psychological reaction of the Londoners to the attacks – this apparently so calm and cold-blooded way of the common city dweller – will degenerate to an attitude that will spread from London to the entire nation. In little cities and villages in all parts of the British Isles, where no bombs will ever explode and where no brown-faced Islamists are to be seen, the London shoulder-shrug will result in a national reaction: a nasty little cocktail, a mix of two parts racism and one part amateur military analysis, topped off with a shot of patriotic sentimentality. I can already hear what will be said in the corner pubs: 'If I had any say...'"


Der Tagesspiegel, 11.07.2005

The Bosnian playwright Almir Basovic describes the murder in Srebrenica which took place ten years ago as a contemporary tragedy. "In antique tragedy, it's the hero that is overtaken by death. In Srebrenica, death takes the choir. Anyone who has the slightest idea about antique tragedy will realise what a horrible mishap it is if the choir dies. It means the death of human society itself. Because with the choir, the 'ideology of the golden age' would have to end - the basis on which every society from antiquity to the present has been built. Plus, the deadly failure of the choir would be recognised as a clear signal that the cosmic levels of existence are being mixed up. Without the choir, it will be impossible to talk about the vast extent of human freedom."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 11.07.2005


The Iranian photographer Haleh Anvari is not at all dissatisfied with the results of the elections in Iran. She's happy that the corrupt politician Rafsanjani was not re-elected as the lesser of the two evils, and she sees in the poor voter turnout, an opposition to the undemocratic conditions of the election: "The Iranians have said 'no' to the opium of the powerless reforms, 'no' to the stolen ideals and have shown that they knew which players proved themselves to be unworthy. And if the new president and his helper's helpers assume that they were elected to set things straight, then the Iranians will take the next opportunity to pass a devastating judgement again."


Die Tageszeitung, 11.07.2005

The pantomime Marcel Marceau, presently on tour in Germany, tells Max Dax an in interview that it was his talent that saved him during World War Two. "The French controlled my identity. French fascists, Vichy-traitors, Gestapo collaborators. In a way, they were worse than the Germans. They yanked me out of the masses and demanded that I show my passport. Then the comedy began – a badly performed comedy, I have to say. Quietly, just loud enough that I could hear, they discussed whether my passport was forged or not. They had no particular suspicion, it was a horrible game intended to make the victim nervous, so that, in the unlikely event they had a resistance fighter with falsified papers in their hands, they would recognise this in his fear. I put on my indifferent-annoyed face. Would this take much longer? I said nothing, but my mimic said all. I got my faked passport back."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 11.07.2005

The German Film Prize ceremonies were held on Friday in Berlin (here a list of the winners as PDF). For the first time this year, the laureates were decided on by the 650 film professionals of the German Film Academy, and not by an independent jury. The whole thing got Daniel Kothenschulte into a rather bad mood: "It was every bit as musty as in the old days," he writes, commenting on how strange it is that a made for TV movie, Dani Levy's comedy "Alles auf Zucker", should win the prize for the best picture: "Bernd Eichinger and the twenty leading film producers at film20 didn't imagine things would turn out this way when they founded the German Film Academy as the organisation that would decide on the winners. The idea of the Academy was to make German cinema finally independent of television, to give the film industry the kind of pride it has in America. Now the broadcaster WDR has won the top prize. Eichinger's own production, 'The Downfall: Hitler and the End of the Third Reich' even showed poorly in the nominations."


Saturday 9 July, 2005

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 09.07.2005

A.L. Kennedy does not spend much time discussing the victims of the London bombings, focussing more on the press coverage of the attack, which he sees as distorted: "Nobody mentioned that the number of victims, as horrendous as it was, would be considered only moderate in Bagdad on most days. Nobody said that in deciding to send our soldiers to war for profits, Tony Blair also brought his entire country into danger, and at all times." For Kennedy, Tony Blair "appeared on television looking like someone who had just had a revelation: namely that if you shoot at enough people some of them could possibly shoot back."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 09.07.2005

In an interview with Peter Michalzik, Hortensia Völckers, Artistic Director of the Federal Cultural Foundation, explains the work done by her organisation. "With over 700 projects, we are widely known and respected. But one of our major successes is that people don't associate us with 'state art', and don't see us as representatives of German national culture. If that were the case, we would be nothing more than an identity factory, which would be terrible. The fact that some people see us as arbitrary in our decisions refelcts the whole concept of the foundation. We need diversity, the courage for new input and innovation, and a commitment to the contemporary. We must initiate projects that will bear fruit in the future."


Die Welt, 09.07.2005

Ukraine belongs to Europe, and that's that, says Ukrainian author Yuri Andrukhovych in an interview. "Ukraine has a century-long European cultural tradition that's closely tied to European history, whether the Brussels Eurocrats want to hear it or not. I think as a EU member, Ukraine would alter the traditional European lethargy. Europe needs vitality and development, otherwise it's doomed to die a quick death."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 09.07.2005

The NZZ publishes a speech given by Hungarian author Laszlo Földenyi on receiving the Friedrich Gundolf Prize for representing and communicating German culture abroad: "For five years in the late 1990s when I wrote my book on Heinrich von Kleist, I lived with him day in, day out. I woke up with him in the morning and I went to bed with him at night. I even dreamed of him. And as I translated his letters I felt so close to him that when I saw what a stupid thing he was planning on doing (Kleist committed suicide at 34 together with his lover, Henriette Vogel) I wanted to call out to him like a brother: are you crazy? Just what do you think you're doing?"

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