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09/03/2006

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.

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 09.03.2006

Having visited an exhibition in the Architecture Museum in Frankfurt, Roman Hollenstein commends the Amsterdam architecture office of UN-Studio, whose designs are based on mathematic models such as the Möbius strip. The office recently garnered much praise for its Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart. "The nearly finished building in the post-industrial no-man's land of Untertürkheim looks like a shining metallic, strangely morphed hybrid – half CD player, half car silo or space station. Critics rave about this baroque solution. But it's not that easy to characterise the form and spatial organisation of this sculptural science fiction architecture. Its interior lives from a double room-continuum which serves the function of the building in a spectacular way, providing exhibition space in traditional halls for the oldtimers and a re-built bit of highway for the rakish new cars."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 09.03.2006

Gustav Seibt attended a speech in Berlin by Jean-Noël Jeanneney, president of the Bibliotheque nationale in Paris, who hopes to reinforce all of Europe like a Gaulish village against Google Book Search, to break the back of Anglo-Saxon dominance in the world wide web. "Monsieur Jeanneney gave a harrowing example of what it could lead to if an Anglo-Saxon world-view came to dominate: the French Revolution could widely be seen as a period 'of guillotine and terror,' whereas 'we on the continent' see it as a time of humanity and progress. Parbleu! Terror in the grand revolution? That is new!"

Christoph Schmidt has identified a trendy new sport among the "spiral-block" faction of Germany's professional theatre friends: theatre bashing. (The reference is to the spiral block that an overheated actor snatched from revered critic Gerald Stadelmaier during an experimental performance which lead to the actor's dismissal.) Schmidt finds it particularly strange that "the tone of the faecal-alarmists, which one otherwise would associate with Bild Zeitung (How long do we have to endure this bull? And that with our tax money!), seems to have established itself, combined with the revanchist wish for a compensating theatre cuisine, something positive." Schmidt finds personally that German theatre, fearing for its subsidies, has become too prude, too safe.


Die Zeit, 09.03.2006

Sociologist Necla Kelek sheds light on the situation of Turkish immigrants in Germany: "By laying overdue stress on their country of origin, Germany's faulty integration policy has caused Turkish migrants who have already lived here for decades and who have a German passport to still see themselves as Turks. In fact they belong nowhere. Their country of origin sees them as 'Deutschländer'. And they themselves don't want to be part of the country they live in. This unsettled question of identity leads them to retreat into their own community, into the 'parallel society.' People who, after living in Germany for thirty years, still say to their children that Turkey is their real homeland, people who live according to the maxim 'en büyük türk,' (the Turk is the greatest), discredit their own lives as if they were a mistake."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 09.03.2006

Heike Kühn highly recommends Yilmaz Arslan's film "Fratricide". The movie shows the world of Kurdish and Turkish immigrants in Germany, but it is having problems reaching its target audience: "The film is being shown in the cinemas in Benelux, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Australia, South America and even Turkey. In France it came out with thirty copies. Only in Germany does it have no distributor. There, in the country where the failure of immigrant dreams has nightmares in store for all of us, the director himself has to send five copies around to different cities. Arslan calls this proof of the country's poverty, and doesn't hide either his anger or his desperation. His film is a radical goodbye to the multi-culti flirt with integration, but has it come too late? Arslan wanted to hold up a mirror to young Turks in Germany. But they go to see 'Valley of the Wolves' (more here) and identify unthinkingly with that film's anger which has nothing to do with them. Germans, meanwhile, Arslan conjectures, close their eyes to the marginalisation of the immigrants and the revenge fantasies of their children."


"Brokeback Mountain"

It's rare that German critics are unanimously wowed by anything, but Ang Lee's "Brokeback Mountain" seems to have done it.

Daniel Kothenschulte writes in the Frankfurter Rundschau that the film is "so clear, so natural, it's as though cinema is being made for the first time ever." In Die Zeit, Evelyn Finger writes that she would like to have given "Brokeback Mountain" eight Oscars. "It awakens that old desire for the frontier, beyond the conventions of the built city."

And in die tageszeitung, Christina Nord interviews Ang Lee. "When we think of a Western, we think of heroes with revolvers and shoot-outs," he says. "This has little to do with life in the American West. I work with two exceptional story-tellers, with Annie Proulx and Larry McMurty. They keep to everyday life and that's also what interested me. Of course I borrow elements from the culture of the West – the wind, the landscape, the animals, the cowboys with their machismo. But the love story is universal. For me, this is a great American love story."

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