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GoetheInstitute

16/02/2006

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, 16.02.2006

The FAZ dedicates three articles to the Turkish film "Valley of the Wolves", a chauvinistic religious work that places the Turks on the cutting edge of Islam in the war against America. The film should not be played down, writes Richard Kämmerlings. "Of course absolute evil is one of the most trivial ingredients of action film: Nazis in Hollywood, Asians in war films or Vietnam films, Russians in Rambo – even the Indians are typical personnel for the genre, and the audiences mourne their deaths as little as Turkish audiences here bemoan the shooting of guileless G.I.s. But there is a lot more hidden under the facade of an exciting action film packed with special effects: 'Valley of the Wolves' wants to be a statement on the clash of civilisations." In a commentary on the front page, Kämmerlings sketches the most scandalous scene in the film: a doctor selects "Iraqi prisoners as live organ donors – the organs are destined for the USA, Britain and Israel."

FAZ editor Eberhard Rathgeb dared to venture to the wildnernesses of Berlin's strongly Turkish Neukölln to watch the film amongst a predominantly Turkish audience: "For a couple of hours I was a stranger in the heart of Berlin, looking at a future in which I no longer had a role, or at best as an integration problem."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 16.02.2006

The cartoon conflict is raging in Turkey too, reports Kai Strittmatter. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has just lost a court case against the satirical magazine Penguen, which portrayed him "sometimes as a cat, sometimes as a horse, sometime as an entire zoo". "In Tayyip Erdogan's opinion, he should not be portrayed as an animal. And he said this as a human being and not as Tayyip Erdogan. After the court's decision against him this week, he sharpened his tone. 'Freedom of opinion and freedom of the press do not include the freedom to insult.' This is interesting because nothing is being more hotly discussed in Turkey this week than the TV clip which shows Erdogan insulting a Turkish farmer. ... The farmer had forced his way up to Erdogan and told him what he thought of his politics. The exchange of words before the running cameras climaxed in an outburst from the prime minister: 'Pack up your mother and piss off, fool'."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 16.02.2006

According to Geneva Islamic scholar Silvia Naef there is no absolute law against portraying Muhammad in Islam. "If you can talk about an 'ban on depictions' in Islam, then it is only relevant in a religious context: houses of prayer, books of the Koran and other religious writings never feature any figurative images. In profane life however, figuration has developed since the earliest times and has kept itself alive over the centuries." More information in Naef's book "Y a-t-il une 'question de l'image' en Islam?"

Paul Jandl talks to Czech author and diplomat Jiri Grusa about the Czech Republic and Europe. If the latter can learn something from the former, then it is a certain relativism, he says: "It is a non-ideological way of seeing the world. We are the first Protestants who were reconverted to Catholicism. We know that the Bible comes in different versions and that God has nuances. And we have recognised that this ambivalence is not a bad thing. The greatest danger is 'bivalence', a fundamental either-or."


Die Zeit, 16.02.2006


Austrian author Robert Menasse is astonished at German chancellor Angela Merkel's admirers: "Some time in the future Angela Merkel will be seen as the most important caesura in German political history after 1945 and 1989. But, to the dismay of those women who see Merkel's career as a feminist landmark independent of her policies, this will not come from her being the first woman chancellor in Germany. Unfortunately it will be because she was the first person to occupy this office who deliberately destroyed the statesman's tasks... By comparison, even Margaret Thatcher's privatisation policies will be viewed as promoting the classical interests of state."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 16.02.2006


Joachim Lange has seen Mozart's "La finta giardiniera" (The Pretended Gardener) which premiered at the Opernhaus Zurich on Sunday. Mozart was only 18 when wrote the opera buffa, which despite its initial success has only been performed three times since. "Conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the La Scintilla Orchestra, which Harnoncourt helped put together at the opera house, make 'La finta giardiniera' a musical event of the first order. They bring the arias to life with an often surprising authenticity, evoking the moods and the feelings that resound like a demonstration of all the tricks the young genius had up his sleeve... But for Harnoncourt it is by no means coquetry when he talks of the genius inherent in every Mozart work (here for example) – because he knows how to bring it to our ears. He performs the work, which was ordered for the 1775 Munich season, with such intoxicating luxuriance that the obvious shortcomings of the libretto by Giuseppe Petrosellini fade into the background."

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