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GoetheInstitute

07/08/2006

In Today's Feuilletons

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.

Monday 7 August, 2006

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 07.08.2006

The Swiss writer Thomas Hürlimann whose latest novel "Forty Roses" will be available in Germany soon, tells how he became a writer. It didn't happen overnight, but his breakthrough was connected to his escape from his monastery school. "I wrote my first play at sixteen. Then I shuffled off my cowl, threw a yellow scarf around my neck, clambered over the monastery wall, hitch-hiked to Zurich, where I stormed into the director's office at the theatre and told a speechless secretary that here was the literary talent the house had been waiting for. I asked her to tell me as soon as possible when the premiere would be taking place and it still seems like a small miracle today, that only a few weeks later the dramaturge Dietbert Reich, a man who was swamped by plays sent in by people, asked me to come for an interview."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 07.08.2006

Paris still has 375 cinema screens, largely thanks to local arthouse and experimental cinemas, reports Marc Zitzmann. As opposed to the cheaper chains, these old establishments survive through originality. "The Palm for marketing goes to Jean-Jacques Schpoliansky. In his cinema (Balzac) audiences are plied with little concerts by graduates of the Paris Conservatory and with homemade cakes. The owner gleefully shouts out to his regular audience - the club of friends of 'Balzac' counts more than 1,100 paying members - that they should not forget they are sitting in the best movie house in Paris. Cheap self-congratulation? You won't find a programme like his 'Night of the Omnivore' in a multiplex: From 10 pm to 6 am, you can watch features, documentary films as well as TV broadcasts on the subject of food - while sampling the culinary delights from the newly reinvented 'usher's basket' created by the likes of Jean-Francois Piege, two-star chef of the Hotel Crillon."


Saturday 5 August, 2006

Berliner Zeitung, 05.08.2006


There is no politically correct solution to the current Middle East conflict, writes film director Amos Gitai, who also outlines the dilemma for the Israeli peace movement: "For left-wing Israelis like us, the war we are currently going through is particularly complex, politically. For years now we have used articles, books and films to try to prove that the conflict could be solved by withdrawing from the Occupied Territories. Now Israel has withdrawn from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon and it is precisely here that Hamas and Hizbullah are choosing to strike. In the parts of the Golan Heights that are still occupied, things are peaceful. We know what the Israeli Right would say: withdrawal was not the solution.


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 05.08.2006

Werner Spies writes a wonderful article about his meeting with Hitler's favourite sculptor Arno Breker in Paris in 1975. He also talks about the Classicism which Breker and Picasso (L'hommo au mouton) were both tackling in their vastly different ways. "The path to Breker brings us to history's graveyard. And an exhumation is not something you would describe as beautiful. The Blood-and-Soil doping, the meeting with the hypertrophied biceps, thighs and lovingly embossed sexual organs, compared with which even wishy-washy, seducible apparitions like Cocteau seemed like a shot of life, do not lead us to a radical, dangerous chapter in the history of twentieth century art, but maroon us in the voluptuous magnetic field that today surrounds the corpse-plundering curiosity cabinet of Gunther von Hagens. It is in company like this that self-explanatory art lives on. Here as there it deals with quantities of flesh and muscle, with the plastination of a dead Classicism. Imagine what a success a partnership between the two would be. Is it not gruesome that the idea of the classical canon and of Johann J. Winkelmann now find its gilt covering among forgers and knackers?" (See our feature "The monumental is my sickness", an interwiew with Arno Breker from 1979, as well as a review of his first major retrospective "Hitler's Favourite Sculptor".)

Die Welt, 05.08.2006

In the literature pages, writer Ilija Trojanow continues his introduction to the workings of the Bulgarian Mafia, launched a month ago in the Berlin Tageszeitung (taz). This time, he focuses on how secret service and criminals sustained one another through authority over archives. "When the administration of Iwan Kostow passed a 'law for access to the files of the former State Security' in 1997, which briefly opened a small window of access to the archives, many former informants started to worry that their past could be revealed. In fact, one of the regulations established that the secret service could rehire a spy from the former regime, thus extending the protection of the law over his past. In this way, archival information was turned into operational information. Not only former agents took advantage of this regulation; many old informers also asked their former directing officers to take them back. And thus gangsters, too, were rehired and protected from justice. That is one reason why not a single Mafia boss has been convicted to this day."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 05.08.2006

Cuban dissident Oswaldo Jose Paya Sardinas describes the "Todos Cubanos" initiative (in Spanish here), which the Cuban government persecutes with terror and which Cuban exiles from Miami try to sabotage. "Why? Because this programme created in Cuba recommends a referendum to institutionalize human rights, keep health and education services free of charge, respect the social and economic rights of Cubans; so that Cubans do not remain shut out of their own land, and that laws can be introduced for establishing a constitutional state. And all this without foreign intervention and without sinking into rampant capitalism. 'Todos Cubanos' recommends a process that reflects the wishes of all Cubans."



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Saturday 11 - 17 December, 2010

A clutch of German newspapers launch an appeal against the criminalisation of Wikileaks. Vera Lengsfeld remembers GDR dissident Jürgen Fuchs and how he met death in his cell. All the papers were bowled over Xavier Beauvois' film "Of Gods and Men." The FR enjoys a joke but not a picnic at a staging of Stravinsky's "Rake's Progress" in Berlin. Gustav Seibt provides a lurid description of Napoleonic soap in the SZ. German-Turkish Dogan Akhanli author explains what it feels like to be Josef K.
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Saturday 4 - Friday 10 December

Colombian writer Hector Abad defends Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa against European Latin-America romantics. Wikileaks dissident Daniel Domscheit-Berg criticises the new publication policy of his former employer. The Sprengel Museum has put on a show of child nudes by die Brücke artists. The SZ takes a walk through the Internet woods with FAZ prophet of doom Frank Schirrmacher. The FAZ is troubled by Christian Thielemann's unstable tempo in the Beethoven cycle. And the FR meets China Free Press publisher, Bao Pu.
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Saturday 27 November - Friday 3 December

Danish author Frederik Stjernfelt explains how the Left got its culturist ideas. Slavenka Draculic writes about censoring Angelina Jolie who wanted to make a film in Bosnia. Daniel Cohn-Bendit talks   about his friendship, falling out and reconciliation with Jean-Luc Godard. Wikileaks has caused an embarrassed silence in the Arab world, where not even al-Jazeera reported on the what the sheiks really think. Alan Posener calls for the Hannah Arendt Institute in Dresden to be shut down.
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Saturday 20 - Friday 26 November, 2010

The theatre event of the week came in a twin pack: Roland Schimmelpfennig's new play, a post-colonial "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" opened at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin and the Thalia in Hamburg. The anarchist pamphlet "The Coming Insurrection" has at last been translated into German and has ignited the revolutionary sympathies of at least two leading German broadsheets, the FAZ and the SZ. But the taz, Germany's left-wing daily, says the pamphlet is strongly right-wing. What's left and right anyway? came the reply.
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Saturday 13 - Friday 19 November, 2010

Dieter Schlesak levels grave accusations against his former friend and colleague, Oskar Pastior, who spied on him for the Securitate. Banat-Swabian author and vice chairman of the Oskar Pastior Foundation, Ernest Wichner, turns on Schlesak for spreading malicious rumours. Die Zeit portrays the Berlin rapper Harris, and the moment he knew he was German. Dutch author Cees Nooteboom meditates on the near lust for physical torture in the paintings of Francisco de Zurburan. An exhibition in Mannheim displays the dream house photography of Julius Schulman.
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Saturday 6 - Friday 12 November, 2010

The NZZ asks why banks invest in art. The FAZ gawps at the unnatural stack of stomach muscles in Michelangelo's drawings. The taz witnesses a giant step for the "Yugo palaver". Bernard-Henri Levy describes Sakineh Ashtiani's impending execution as a test for Iran and the west. Journalist Michael Anti talks about the healthy relationship between the net and the Chinese media. Literary academic Helmut Lethen describes how Ernst Jünger stripped the worker of all organic substances.
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Saturday 30 October - Friday 5 November, 2010

Now that German TV has just beatified Pope Pius XII, Rolf Hochmuth tells die Welt where he got the idea for his play "The Deputy". The FR celebrates Elfriede Jelinek's "brilliantly malicious" farce about the collapse of the Cologne City Archive. "Carlos" director Olivier Assayas makes it clear that the revolutionary subject is a figment of the imagination. The SZ returns from the Shanghai Expo with a cloying after-taste of sweet 'n' sour. And historian Wang Hui tells the NZZ that China's intellectuals have plenty of freedom to pose critical questions.
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Saturday 23 - Friday 29 October, 2010

Author Doron Rabinovici protests against the concessions of moderate Austrian politicians to the FPÖ: recently in Vienna, children were sent back to Kosovo at gunpoint. Ian McEwan wonders why major German novelists didn't mention the Wall. The NZZ looks through the Priz Goncourt shortlist and finds plenty of writers with more bite than Houellebecq. The FAZ outs two of Germany's leading journalists who fiercely guarded the German Foreign Ministry's Nazi past. Jens-Martin Eriksen and Frederik Stjernfelt analyse the symptoms of culturalism, left and right. Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht demonstratively yawns at German debate.
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Saturday 16 - Friday 22 October, 2010

A new book chronicles the revolt of revolting "third persons" at Suhrkamp publishers in the wild days of 1968. Necla Kelek is appalled by the speech of the very Christian Christian Wulff, the German president, in Turkey. The taz met a new faction of hardcore Palestinians who are fighting for separate sex hairdressing in Gaza. Sinologist Andreas Schlieker reports on the new Chinese willingness to restructure the heart. And the Cologne band Erdmöbel celebrate the famous halo around the frying pan.
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Saturday 9 - Friday 15 October, 2010

The FR laps up the muscular male bodies and bellies at the Michelangelo exhibition in the Viennese Albertina. The same paper is outraged by the cowardice of the Berlin exhibition "Hitler and the Germans". Mario Vargas-Llosa remembers a bad line from Sweden. Theologist Friedrich Wilhelm Graf makes it very clear that Western values are not Judaeo-Christian values. The Achse des Guten is annoyed by the attempts of the mainstream media to dismiss Mario Vargas-Llosa. The NZZ celebrates the tireless self-demolition of Polish writer and satirist Slawomir Mrozek.
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Saturday 2 - Friday 8 October, 2010

Nigerian writer Niyi Osundare explains why his country has become uninhabitable. German Book Prize winner Melinda Nadj Abonji says Switzerland only pretends to be liberal. German author Monika Maron is not sure that Islam really does belong to Germany. Russian writer Oleg Yuriev explains the disastrous effects of postmodernism on the Petersburg Hermitage. Argentinian author Martin Caparros describes how the Kirchners have co-opted the country's revolutionary history. And publisher Damian Tabarovsky explains why 2001 was such an explosively creative year for Argentina.
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Saturday 25 September - Friday 1 October

Three East German theatre directors talk about the trauma of reunification. In the FAZ, Thilo Sarrazin denies accusations that his book propagates eugenics: "I am interested in the interplay of nature and nurture." Polemics are being drowned out by blaring lullabies, author Thea Dorn despairs. Author Iris Radisch is dismayed by the state of the German novel - too much idle chatter, not enough literary clout. Der Spiegel posts its interview with the German WikiLeaks spokesman, Daniel Schmitt. And Vaclav Havel's appeal to award the Nobel prize to Liu Xiabobo has the Chinese authorities pulling out their hair.
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Saturday 18 - Friday 24 September, 2010

Herta Müller's response to the news that poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant was one of overwhelming grief: "When he returned home from the gulag he was everybody's game." Theatre director Luk Perceval talks about the veiled depression in his theatre. Cartoonist Molly Norris has disappeared after receiving death threats for her "Everybody Draw Mohammed" campaign. The Berliner Zeitung approves of the mellowing in Pierre Boulez' music. And Chinese writer Liao Yiwu, allowed to leave China for the first time, explains why schnapps is his most important writing tool.
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Saturday 10 - Friday 17 September, 2010

The poet Oskar Pastior was a Securitate informant, the historian Stefan Sienerth has discovered. Biologist Veronika Lipphardt dismisses Thilo Sarrazin's incendiary intelligence theories as a load of codswallop. A number of prominent Muslim intellectuals in Germany have written an open letter to President Christian Wulff, calling for him to "make a stand for a democratic culture based on mutual respect." And a Shell study has revealed that Germany's youth aspire to be just like their parents.
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Saturday 4 - Friday 10 September, 2010

Thilo Sarrazin has buckled under the stress of the past two weeks and resigned from the board of the Central Bank. His book, "Germany is abolishing itself", however, continues to keep Germany locked in a debate about education and immigration and intelligence. Also this week, Mohammed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard has been awarded the M100 prize for defending freedom of opinion. Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a speech at the award ceremony: "The secret of freedom is courage". The FAZ interviewed Westergaard, who expressed his disappointment that the only people who had shown him no support were those of his own class.
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