31/01/2006

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.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 31.01.2006

The recent decision by a Berlin school that students be allowed to speak German and only German in the school yard has been met with a broad front of resistance. The Turkish newspaper "Hürriyet", the Bavarian ministry of culture and pedagogues across the country are outraged by this impingement on basic individual rights. Jürgen Kaube suggests that a more effective way of facilitating the integration of immigrant children would be to stabilise national self-esteem. He cites a recent study by ethnologist Werner Schiffauer which suggests that "Turkish students are perplexed by the depiction of Germany as a difficult, critical, fatal case. Not that this is absolutely wrong, but the fact that this is presented as the central interpretation of German culture and history must be perplexing to students, who, at the same time, are being told they should integrate."


Die Welt, 31.01.2006

In an open letter, Dutch journalist and author Geert Mak warns Germans about the "Dutch fever" that brought on a "shameful hate-campaign" against immigrants in the Netherlands after the murder of Theo van Gogh. One must "never play down the so-called 'honour killings' and the maltreatment of women," Mak writes, "simply because these subjects are unpleasant to us well-meaning and tolerant cosmopolitans. We speak so lightly of the 'consolidation of families' without really being clear about the kind of pressure it involves. We complain about a 'linguistic shortfall', without understanding that this really means confinement, primarily of women, because reading and writing are the basis of all communication, self-expression and freedom." In Mak's view all this has little to do with religion, but much to do "with the painful collision between an almost medieval, rural culture and life in a post-modern city."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 31.01.2006

Christian Gasser sums up the 33rd International Comic Festival in Angouleme. There he discovered the "exceptional master" Kotobuki Shiriagari, whose work is hardly known outside Japan. "His dazzling versatility undermines all conventions and does away with the distinction between mainstream, underground and 'comics d'auteur'. In his homeland, Shiriagari is primarily known for his satirical strips in the daily paper Asahi Shimbun (with a circulation of 12.5 million), but he also publishes a lot of work in the underground magazine AX (circulation: 5,000). In his most famous comic novel 'Yaji-Kita in Deep', he sends two homosexual Samurai drug addicts on an Odyssey through Japan in which past and present, reality and mythology come together in absurd, hare-brained nightmares."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 31.01.2006

Elke Buhr writes an obituary of video artist Nam June Paik, who died on Sunday in Maimi at 73. "One of his most famous works is the TV Buddha of 1974. A classical Buddha statue sits meditating in front of a TV. The TV, in turn, shows the image of the Buddha: infinity and eternal recurrence, visualised with the help of the medium commonly seen as the most ephemeral, fleeting and hectic of all."


Die Tageszeitung, 31.01.2006

The filmmaker Rolf Peter Kahl talks to Aljoscha Wescott about his new film "Mädchen am Sonntag" (girls on Sunday), and its melancholy portraits of four young German actresses: "They're not wearing make-up and there's no great lighting to cover up for that. Anything else would have resulted in a typical TV-look, suggesting reality and truthfulness. In this way we've taken a step back, and the women are protected a bit by the veil of desaturated colours. That gives the images another, perhaps more prosaic quality. This semi-professional way of shooting allowed me to see certain things I would otherwise not have discovered: for example the playfulness of small gestures, like in Godard's early films, before he started thinking so much. How people smoke, things like that."


Die Tageszeitung, 31.01.2006

Georg Blume reports that, having banned "Memoirs of a Geisha" for its use of Chinese actresses in Japanese roles, Chinese censors have now prevented "Brokeback Mountain" from playing in China. "Ang Lee, who directed 'Brokeback Mountain', said last week in Hong Kong that Asian audiences would be more open to the subject than American ones. Indeed, US President George Bush announced during a recent appearance in Kansas that he would not be seeing Lee's gay western."

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