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GoetheInstitute

17/08/2005

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.

Der Tagesspiegel, 17.08.2005

French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier's new film "Holy Lola" will hit the screens tomorrow. In an interview, Tavernier reminisces how Volker Schlöndorff breezed into his high school class as an exchange student: "I was 16, and immediately drawn to him. He was incredibly intelligent, spoke perfect French, and we watched hundreds of films together. Unlike me, he had no intention of becoming a filmmaker. But one day at my place he met a colleague of Louis Malle, who wrote a letter of recommendation for him. It read: Dear Louis, it won't hurt you to get to know a German philosopher. That's how Schlöndorff became Louis Malle's assistant director. We were also both assistants to Jean-Pierre Melville. Volker used his German authority to secure the necessary respect, and he knew how to yell. By contrast, I was totally incompetent, and stood there on the set like I was made of stone. Since then I've learned to hit the ceiling when the situation calls for it."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 17.08.2005


The emigration of academics and trained personnel from Russia has reached catastrophic proportions, writes Felix Philipp Ingold. Thousands of natural and human scientists, technicians and engineers are still leaving the country in droves. "Even if the evaluations of the size and consequences of the brain drain are subject to controversy, there is no doubt that the drain represents a serious danger for the security and economic development of the Russian Federation. Only recently have the authorities taken steps to limit the damages. On the one hand they are trying to win back top Russian researchers from abroad, using primarily patriotic incentives. On the other hand, new stipends, research jobs and competitions are raising young people's interest in an academic career in Russia."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 17.08.2005

Political scientist emeritus Wilhelm Hennis opposes the decision of the constitutional court to hold elections in the fall and asks if the "'constitutional organ' might not have become a dummy reflecting the political parties' hunger for power". German President Horst Köhler does not come out well: "Köhler's explanation for the decree to disband parliament is slack and weak. How should the Senate pass a judgement of approval on the basis of this explanation which carries no juristic weight? How arresting, especially in comparison with the declaration of Karl Carstens on January 7, 1983. No: if the last weeks are supposed to have been a political 'crisis' – why actually? - then I'd like to see this nation, evidently so fragile in its unity, in a real crisis."

Niklas Maak visited a Jan van Eyck exhibition in Dresden in which, for the first time, the reverse sides of religious drawings of the early Dutch school are on display. One sees "something that is described in the catalogue as an 'ass face': a head that is made up of a fat rear end with male genitals. Other backsides show copulating monks, mythical creatures made up of feet, vulture-headed monsters, lion-maned satyrs, monsters of cock, an arsenal of pictures which experiment with the monstrous, the unthinkable, the unrepresentable."


Die Welt, 17.08.2005


Daniel Friedrich Sturm recalls Oskar Lafontaine's opposition to refugees from the former East Germany in 1989. "Eight weeks before the state elections in the Saarland (where he was state prime minister at the time), he revealed a high degree of social populism. Ever before the fall of the wall, the number of 'settlers' had become an issue and the necessity to put a cap on it had been implied. It was unthinkable, Lafontaine explained a few days before the wall fell, 'to let the gates open completely'. The limits of acceptability had 'already been reached'." (Lafontaine, having left the SPD, is now one of the front men of Germany's newly formed 'Linkspartei' – ed.)


Frankfurter Rundschau, 17.08.2005

Under the title "The Bungled World", Austrian writer Franzobel reflects on Europe, Austria and happiness: "There's no doubt, even in Brussels there's a lot of bungling going on. Ultimately there's no patented way of avoiding it. I can't think of anything cleverer than the Gospel of Thomas, be myself, establish paradise now, not be content to wait. No other solutions occur to me, except for flexibility: the idea that solutions always come from where they're the least expected – for example from your wife. The most important discovery of military history is perhaps the dried biscuit, and that's a pacifistic thing. The dried biscuit made armies more mobile. That may well be, but I'm no militarist. I just wanted to show that the solution, happiness, poetry often come about completely by accident."

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