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GoetheInstitute

22/06/2006

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.

Die Zeit, 22.06.2006

Hilal Sezgin paid a visit to Feridun Zaimoglu, who has been accused of plagiarising Emine Özdamar's book ""Life is a caravansarai..." (1992) with his recent novel "Leyla" (more here). After listening to tapes on which his mother talks about her childhood, Sezgin can clear him of all suspicion. "There can no longer be any reasonable doubt that Zaimoglu's mother has related her entire life to her son on tape, in a relatively unfiltered way. And slowly I get the real surprise. 'You and your mother talk about such things?' - 'Oh yeah, and she's told me all kinds of other stuff too. You know, I didn't even have to ask, she knew it: I needed stories. She said, I'll tell you everything. That really shook me up, because what she says goes way beyond the borders of shame that normally exist between mother and son. We both knew it, that's the strangest thing. We were sitting there in the living room in Ankara with the door closed. My father knocked from time to time and asked, do you want some tea? I was smoking, and so as not to fill the room with smoke I opened the window. But she said, no, close it again, the neighbours mustn't hear what I have to say. Mother, I said, later thousands of people are going to read it!'"

There is much talk of a "new patriotism" in Germany these days, where the World Cup is the stage for much flag-waving and calls of "Deutschland! Deutschland!" In face of this, Gunter Hofmann can't understand all the talk about a relaxed, open-minded patriotism among Germans, and asserts that there's no sign of such an attitude. He points to the "peculiar force" with which foreigners alone have been given the responsibility of integrating. "The underlying pattern of thought is that if there is such a thing as xenophobia, it's due to immigrants' reluctance to integrate. Of course there has been a certain reluctance. But this argument also provides a wonderful excuse for avoiding the obvious question of whether there ever was an interest in promoting integration and whether politicians ever tried to make people perceive other ethnic groups and cultures as something positive... At any rate up to now this debate has never been quite as relaxed as the 'relaxed patriots' claim it is, nor quite as appreciative of other cultures. If things continues like this, the good mood World Cup might be a kick in the right direction."


Die Tageszeitung, 22.06.2006


The new patriotism has found an unexpected proponent. "I didn't think this kind of a celebration would be possible," says Gregor Gysi, chairman of Germany's Left Party, in an interview with Jens König and Peter Unfried. "One sees in the faces of the young Germans that they feel neither superior nor inferior to other nations, but rather equally entitled. For the first time, we are seeing a normal, relaxed, sovereign relationship to the nation. This is a real experience for me. And that reassures me."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 22.06.2006

Gottfried Knapp prophesies that in the future, art-hungry visitors to Paris will not be able to say no to a couple of hours at Quai Branly. The new museum of art, culture and civilisations is simply a "world sensation," and its collection of objects from Africa, Asia, Oceania and America is of inconceivable value, Knapp writes. "Already the special exhibition 'African Chimeras,' showing a mere selection from the entire collection, has demonstrated that France's holdings of African works beat the rest of the world hands down. There are the helmet masks of the Bamana Culture from Mali: animal-like figures carved of wood, exquisitely light and elegant. In most of them a slender, S-formed antilope's neck emerges from the body of a crouching mythical creature, with antlers rising up to the heavens. It's easy to imagine how dancers wearing such filigree animal figures could give new expression to effortlessness."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 22.06.2006

The major work of the most important Japanese manga artist is called "Adolf", of all things. Christian Gasser reviews the five-volume comic novel which has now appeared in German, and portrays Osamu Tezuka, the "God of manga," who left 600 stories on 150,000 pages to posterity. "Tezuka, born in 1928, created the manga as we know it in the years after the war. In contrast to his predecessors, he used techniques borrowed from American films. His use of changing points of view, detailed images, speedlines, sound effects and his dynamic page layout, created the pictorial language that defines manga as we know it today. But even more important were Tezuka's innovations in content. Just one year after starting as a comic-strip artist, he published the 200-page book 'The New Treasure Island,' the first epic manga work which sold a sensational 400,000 copies."


Der Tagesspiegel, 22.06.2006


On what would have been Billy Wilder's 100th birthday, the feuilletons are full of homages to the Jewish emigre director, winner of 6 Oscars, who died in Beverly Hills in 2002. Fellow director Volker Schlöndorff, who shot a series of interviews with Wilder in 1987, recalls a visit to the filmmaker's Californian home and reflects on what made him so unique. "Next to film, his great passion is for art – before sports and politics. His house is like a museum. Paintings lie around on the floor, even in the halls and closets. 'But why do you only show the back sides?' I asked him. 'Look,' he said, turning a few pictures around – Egon Schiele nudes at lesbian play – 'What would my Filipino servants think of me?' Is the influence of painting to be found in his films? Definitely not. He saw the world at critical eye level – which is what makes him a classic in his own right. He went about his work with the same economy, ease and relentlessness that the painters he admired did theirs."

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