19/07/2006

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.

Der Tagesspiegel, 19.07.2006

Hizbullah's missile attacks on Israel is a declaration of war, writes Michel Friedman, former vice president of the Council of German Jews. "I think Israel's reaction of destroying infrastructures is a proportionate answer to the aggression. Israel avoids as much as possible inflicting suffering on the civilian population. In contrast to the Hizbullah terrorists, who consciously kill civilians, Israel's behaviour in this respect is irreproachable. That civilians nevertheless are killed is deeply sad and regrettable. But is it not Hizbullah that hides behind the protective shield of women and children? In so doing, it assents to these women and children being wounded, when in fact Hizbullah itself is the real target."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 19.07.2006

Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld finds Israel's current attacks against the Hizbullah in Lebanon "by no means excessive": "Whatever the men and women in Brussels say, the problem in Lebanon is not Israel's 'excessive' use of force. On the contrary, the real problem could be Israel's extreme reluctance to use a sufficiently high measure of force to solve this business once and for all. One reason for this reluctance could lie in the well-founded fear of international condemnation."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 19.07.2006


As a rule the Israeli peace movement has been critical of Israeli military operations, but this time it's different, says Israeli author Amos Oz. "This time, Israel didn't march into Lebanon. Israel wants to annihilate Hizbullah, to protect itself from the daily raids and missile attacks on our cities and villages. The Israeli peace movement should completely support the Israeli measures of defense, as long as the operation is aimed at Hizbullah and Lebansese civilians are being spared, to the extent this is possible (and it's not easy, when Hizbullah often hides behind Lebanese civilians)."

Kerstin Holm went to a Playboy party in Moscow and was impressed by the toughness of the bunnies there and more generally, the aesthetic transformation of Russian women from – in Western eyes - "the epitome of the un-erotic workhorse" to "the last refuge of femininity.... Today, a heart of granite resides in her breast. Conspicuous is the fact that, in Moscow, the people who push their way through supermarket lines with expressions of cement or cut you off on the sidewalk are invariably the most breath-taking beauties. Admirers of the Russian Venuses note quickly rising costs and an increasingly tough economic rationale. Long gone are the days when a romantic evening meant going to a nice restaurant. A beautiful Russian woman measures the seriousness of her partner by letting him know what he might like to sponsor. The men could help with the acquisition of a car or an apartment. Those who don't heed the call are quickly forgotten. It goes without saying that a woman of class never offers to pay her part of the restaurant bill."

"Claude Chabrol shows his teeth to the truth, and Isabelle Huppert bites," writes an enthusiastic Andreas Kilb on Chabrol's new film "Comedy of Power." "Huppert would have preferred to call the film 'The Red Glove.' The subject is power and its accessories: its colours, its poses, its addictions and all that rubs off on the custodians of the law. Because even Jeanne Charmant-Killman (Huppert) is inebriated. In bed at night she dupes her husband (Robin Renucci) and by day she dupes the presiding judge, who seeks to hinder her campaign against the wicked of the world. The truly powerful sit back in their manors and puff on cigars, cutting their losses where they can. Chabrol never entertained the thought that this state of affairs could change. These sinister characters are only to be defeated in the imagination, in images. And here Chabrol and Huppert, the master and his minimalist, work together like no other team in contemporary film."


Die Tageszeitung, 19.07.2006

Susanne Messmer reports on the Chinese film scene, and how people in the business are dealing with the increasingly permissive and pragmatic censorship authorities. Whereas a few years ago people commonly believed that "censorship is a stone in the river and the film is the water that finds its way around it," today the two sides are starting to communicate. "If you ask around in Chinese film circles, you quickly get the impression that no one even gets upset about censorship any more, because it can do very little to curtail the truth or ban violence, sex or criticism from the screen. Today people only get upset about censorship when it hinders the development of the Chinese film industry. When a Western film is banned, people are even amused."

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