01/12/2005

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, 01.12.2005

Does author Günter Grass want to revive the authors' association "Group 47"? Talking with Christoph Siemes he is reluctant to say as much, but he has nonetheless invited a dozen writers to meet in Lübeck for the next week. Even if the meeting is not intended to bring the famous group back to life, Group 47 could at least provide an example for the young authors, he says: "By German standards, the truly wonderful thing about Group 47 was that it was an association without permanent members, without elections or an executive board, and without a treasurer. Absolutely nothing was written down, except for the postcard invitation signed by Hans Werner Richter. The group was based on collegiality, and I hope that will continue to hold for our upcoming meeting. What I can't stand are geniuses."


Die Welt, 01.12.2005

Berthold Seewald listened to Angela Merkel's government statement on new trends in cultural policy and found the following: "Germany is a cultural nation which is more than the sum of its 16 federal states, according to the chancellor. Which basically means that culture is still too important to leave to federal state egos. Her substantiation also sounds like a declaration of faith in the tradition of the former SPD/Green Party coalition: cultural funding is apparently an investment in the nation's emotional budget and in no way constitutes a subsidy, even though economics dictionaries have precious little to say about it. Instead, Angela Merkel and her minister of state for culture, Bernd Neumann, make it very clear with their choice of words how closely they wish to be linked with cultural lobbyist rhetoric." And on the subject of Merkel's announcement that the planned Centre against Expulsion (which has had a starkly negative effect on German Polish relations - ed.) should be given a European dimension, he comments, "It's so simple for culture to offer consolation."


Der Tagesspiegel, 01.12.2005

Filmmaker Dani Levy writes a letter of birthday congratulations: "Dear Woody Allen, the first time I met you it was an icy cold day in Berlin (it was May I think), and you had just stumbled out of one of those establishments one would prefer not to be seen going in or out of. Your small, deft fingers were holding a black suitcase. You were staring down at the Berlin asphalt, looking very much ashamed at what you had just been doing. I was still young at the time, at least younger than I am now, and I went up to you and said those words that paranoid celebrities like yourself so like to hear, and which speak for my immense creativity: 'Aren't you Woody Allen?' You looked at me through your glasses with red eyes, and a look that said: get lost, you press vulture, you bloodsucking fan, get lost, or I'll clobber you with the murder weapon in my suitcase! But what you said was: 'Yes that's me, unfortunately.' I saw in your answer a therapeutic discussion gambit, and I countered..." (full story in German here).


Die Tageszeitung, 01.12.2005

"Both deep and distracted, erratic and absolutely sure in his tastes, boyish and distinctly elegant – director Jean-Luc Godard is inimitable" writes Diedrich Diederichsen in an article on the filmmaker's upcoming 75th birthday this coming Saturday and the start of his new film "Notre Musique" – which will only be shown in one repertory cinema in Berlin. For this reason, Diederichsen sees Godard slowly sliding into the category of directors "whose films you can only see in pirated Internet copies, or take out as DVDs from three video stores in the entire Federal Republic, or as a solitary copy wandering its way through the country's arthouse cinemas. These few select copies are welcomed with open arms, true enough, but they're not seen by more than a handful of highly-educated film buffs."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 01.12.2005

"Germany's reputation can hardly be saved," Sonja Zekri quotes archaeologist Michael Müller-Karpe of the Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseum in Mainz. Because Germany, which until today has not signed the Unesco Convention on the Protection of the world cultural heritage, is now a major route for trafficked antiques. In some circles the country is now seen as a "haven for stolen goods" which profits from Iraq's misfortunes. "Not even courageous individual efforts such as those by the recently kidnapped archaeologist Susanne Osthoff (news story), who constantly struggled for the protection of the Mesopotamian architectural legacy, could change this impression. Certainly, the surprise many have felt at the terrorists' failure to differentiate between the hated West and a well-meaning German is naive. But the loss in credibility of just those cultivated Arabs who are trying to rebuild the new Iraq is equally disastrous."


Berliner Zeitung, 01.12.2005

In France rappers are being accused of preaching "racism under the mantle of anti-racism" and of having incited their listeners to take to the barricades in the banlieues", we read. The director Philippe Roizes who has made several music videos for these rappers tells the paper how little he thinks of this theory. "I am a good friend of Kerry James, who was a leading member of the Mafia K-1, a crew in the South of Paris. He believes that the undeniable social iniquities must be fought, but this is no way justifies vandalism. This is something he has always emphasised and he has said it again. The events have enforced his belief that the kids need strong moral codes and strong role models. Kerry has converted to Islam."

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