08/02/2006

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, 08.02,2006

On the occasion of the Berlin Film Festival, which opens tomorrow, Verena Lueken interviews Isabella Rossellini who will be attending the festival both as an actress in Luis Llosa's Film "La fiesta del chivo" and as director of "My Dad is 100 Years Old," a tribute to her father Roberto. She calls the 17 minute film "a surrealistic short film from a surrealistic Canadian director" (Guy Maddin) and hopes that it will interest young people in her father and debunk a few myths associated with him. "Neorealism was a brand mark that my father felt very limited by. 'Neorealism' was not his concept but simply the only he way he could afford to make films. He didn't say, after the war, 'Let's make films that look bad and are improvised by non-actors and let's call the style 'neorealism'."

And Michael Althen talks with actress Charlotte Rampling, president of this year's jury, who has a special connection to Berlin: her father, Godfrey Rampling, won the gold metal in the 400 Meter relay at the 1936 Olympics here. Documentary evidence can be found in Leni Riefenstahl's film "Olympia". "Today he's 98 years old and fragile but he still remembers. The first runner Frederick Wolff was sick, but ran nonetheless with his stomach flu and lagged pretty far behind. So my father, who had already been at L.A. In 1932 had to recover an entire field. He never ran that well again. But that victory was truly romantic and beautiful, as you can see in the Olympia film."


Der Tagesspiegel, 08.02.2006


"What's Malick after?" asks an indignant Klaus Theweleit, after seeing the long-anticipated epic "The New World", about the young Indian girl Pocahontas and the English explorer John Smith. "What this film does to the 14 year old Kilcher (who plays Pocahontas) strikes me as something like child abuse. It happens in the shameless touching of her face, in scenes where a white man, John or John, puts his hand on her hips, standing in reeds or flowery fields, Malick puts on his Mozart record and the camera travels up from the hand to the hip and gropes, after a brief pause on the breast, at her exposed face for several minutes. The 'untainted' face of the half-breed is transformed into that of a high class Mexican whore. Malick's film mutates into a colonial soft-porn."


Die Welt, 08.02.2006

With all the fuss about the Danish caricatures, the bizarre pamphlet by 60 migration researchers published in Die Zeit (more here) against Necla Kelek and her book "Die fremde Braut" (the foreign bride) which deals with forced marriages, has been somewhat out of the public eye. Mariam Lau writes that with this frontal attack the researchers, among them Kelek's doctoral supervisor Ursula Neumann, hope to hide their own shortcomings. "Neumann had to pass when she was asked where the evidence was that showed that Kelek exaggerates on the topic of honour killings, commenting 'you can't research everything'. She herself has recently been doing research on young African refugees, and concludes that the Federal Republic has committed many errors here. Her reasons for signing the declaration? 'It annoys me when pseudo-scientific theses become the basis of decision-making'."

On the media page, Christiane Buck interviews Wadah Khanfar, head of Aljazeera television station, on the Danish caricature controversy and why he thinks the cartoons cannot be put under the heading of freedom of opinion: "We have a profound respect for the freedom to express your opinion. It is extremely important, especially in the Arab world. But these drawings contain no information, they express no opinion."


Die Tageszeitung, 08.02.2006

Marcia Pally
asks, irritated, whether the imams and the Danish People's Party (DF) really have such different notions of who "the evil ones are and who needs to be silenced" and offers to undertake the latter. "Both the imams and the DF are telling us that morals have gone to hell since everyone has to right to say what he wants. No wonder. We publish 'Madame Bovary' and wonder why the divorce rate goes up. We teach 'Lady Chatterly's Lover' in schools and then ask why young people are having sex."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 08.02.2006

Navid Kermani, an Iranian-born author based in Cologne, sees in the controversy over the Danish Mohammed caricatures a scandal in which both sides are at fault. "The Mohammed caricatures are not a second Salman Rushdie affair. It was Rushdie's inalienable right to defame his own religion… Rushdie stands in a long line of Islamic men of letters who have picked a quarrel with Islam. Many of them paid for it with bans, imprisonment or even their lives (even if the Middle East has seen far fewer heretics than Europe). The motives of the Danish paper were entirely different however. Here a minority was being provoked to react in such a way that they would justify their own further marginalisation."
See our feature "I can't live without Europe" by Navid Kermani.

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