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11/09/2006

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.

Monday 11 September, 2006

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 11.09.2006


On the occasion of September 11, various America correspondents for German media reflect on the New York they once knew and the changes that have taken place since the terrorist attacks. Gerald Baars from Germany's first channel ARD writes: "Why do they hate us? That's what the people of New York, but not the rest of America, asked after the first shock. The attacks have also changed something in my life. I've been in many war zones, I was in Mogadishu in 1993. There I just watched, as correspondent. In New York it was clear that we, including myself, were the target of the attacks. Suddenly I was in the midst of it all. Before September 11, I was German correspondent. After September 11, I was a German New Yorker."


Süddeutsche Zeitung, 11.09.2006

Andrian Kreye believes it's not the world that has changed since September 11, but rather the pictures of the world. The once unwavering American optimism has been replaced by a new apocalyptic thinking. "The Book of Revelation, religious end of the world pop, natural catastrophes, rapidly rising gas prices, Al Gore's warning of an ecological worst case scenario and the paranoid terror scenarios of the liberal and conservative camps all come together in a cocktail of fear... More radical than the ecological prophets of doom are the members of the so-called 'peak oil' movement (here, for example). They assume that the global economy will collapse due to a lack of resources. And this end will not be provoked when the resources begin running out, but at the highpoint of global production. When it's gone that far, it will be hotly discussed. Conservative estimates are for the year 2025. Members of the 'peak oil' movement fear, however, that this point in time was already reached last fall."

Susan Vahabzadeh was absolutely content with the Film Festival in Venice. "For 12 days it seemed that cinema was at home in Venice, we honoured its future as though it had one, and its past, as though it interested us. Festivals are actually homogeneous events, all devoted to cinema. Actually. But nonetheless, there is always the odd sourpuss. This year there were complaints that the selection was very disappointing. Why, actually? There are no festivals with 22 superb competition films; one with half a dozen worthy prize-winners is rare enough – and such a rarity was Venice this year. What other films would the Venice sceptics have liked to see? Major American commercial cinema? As though we don't have enough of that already."


Frankfurter Rundschau, 11.09.2006

Even if Daniel Kothenschulte isn't happy with how Jia Zhang-ke's winning film "Still Life" was belatedly forced into the competition, he still feels that "a memorable film has won the Golden Lion this year, one that really does serve as a memorial. The film documents a world in the moment of its demise, while providing a way of coming to terms with the loss. It deals with dam construction in China, and the colossal destruction of the countryside and living areas. Director Jia Zhang-Ke is a representative of the 'Sixth Generation' of Chinese filmmakers, founders of a school of cinematic realism long unknown within China. With modest technical means and a special interest in life in the provinces, he has attained a rare level of independence in the strongly regimented cultural life under the dictatorship."


Saturday 9 September, 2006

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 09.09.2006

Gerhard Matzig was extremely impressed by the exhibition "Cities. Architecture and Society" at the Architecture Biennale in Venice. "It's not about particularly successful bannister details, grandiose villa designs or biomorphic debates on form. Rather, it's about crime in Sao Paolo and air pollution in Shanghai. About prostitution in Johannesburg and traffic disasters in Dakar. The suicide rate in Cairo. Poverty and loneliness... This Mostra is the most haunting, sensual and at the same time educational event in the history of the Biennale. It is even successful where it doesn't know the answers. And it is relevant where it remains impossible to grasp. Anyone in the future who wants to be able to talk about the future will not want to miss this show."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 09.09.2006

Thomas Wagner has seen the "sensational" Caravaggio exhibition in the museum kunst palast in Düsseldorf. "He is the ruffian who is repeatedly indicted and jailed, the uncontrollable spirit who killed Ranuccio Tommasoni da Terni on May 28, 1606 on the Campo Marzio after an argument flared up during a game of jeu de paume. The murderer as an artistic genius: how can we separate all the stories of prison, murder and escape, of Bacchanal goings on, homosexuality and models he found in the street from the paintings of almond-eyed boys and limp, fatigued bodies? Caravaggio is and remains the dirty genius."


Die Welt, 09.09.2006

Gao Xingjian, the Chinese writer and Nobel Prize winner, talks with Kirstin Wenk about Mao, the Cultural Revolution and his collaboration with the regime: "Of course I collaborated. I also participated in critique sessions, and pretended I belonged. If I hadn't, I would have instantly been branded an enemy. People behaved like wolves back then. How can an entire people go berserk? Until today this question may not be asked in China. You just hear the explanation: certain people made mistakes. But it wasn't only some people, it was everyone.... I can't discern any ideals that Mao is said to have possessed. He was a power-crazed madman."

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