From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 16.05.2009

Marco Schmidt visited the crime film festival in Beaune, Burgundy. The highlight for him was the moment when the second jury, which consisted solely of policemen, announced their winner. "On stage you had four strong men and one diminutive but imposing woman announcing their decision to award their prize to the Danish thriller 'Terribly Happy'. In the film a policeman from Copenhagen is sent into the countryside where he falls into the clutches of a mysterious woman. The president of the jury, Danielle Thierry, the police director of Dijon, explained with a smile that spoke volumes. 'We were seduced by the film's amorality!'"

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 16.05.2009

Novelist David Lodge talks in an interview about contemporary British literature and the hazards of writing bestsellers. "If you become a bestselling writer your ego stirs – you have to stay on the ball. And the literary bestseller is not such a rare specimen as it was before the last world war. Which is why I always say that you must approach the work as an artist and turn into a businessman as soon as the novel is published. Of course we get paid much better than writers of earlier generations. Think of Virginia Woolf, George Orwell: compared with Rushdie and his ilk, they earned peanuts, a trifle."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Barbara Villiger Heilig returned exhausted but contented from the premiere of poet and playwright Albert Ostermaier's "Blue Mirror" at the Berliner Ensemble. The director was Andrea Breth. The text that these two collaborated on is "as easy to grasp as it is hard to digest", Villerger Heilig explains. "It's all subtext. If they talk, they talk in their dreams (...) Corinna Kirchhoff and Wolfgang Michael are a couple who are going through was one calls a crisis. In the few 'normal everyday scenes' they battle it out on the treacherous search for mutual understanding and there is even a flash of humour a la Yasmina Reza: Corinna Kirchhoff is trying to convince Wolfgang Michael to enter into a therapeutic role play with her – 'Just do it!' - but he's had enough of this sort of provocative 'self awareness' with his partner, who goes at him like a bulldozer despite the screeching protestations about being 'soooo fragile'."

Die Welt

Despite all arguments to the contrary, author Rolf Schneider is in favour of the trial of the 89 year old Ukrainian alleged SS murderer John Demjanjuk – for one thing it would shed light on previously little-known aspects of the Holocaust. "Few people know about the vast numbers of Ukrainian personnel in the Nazi death camp Sobibor, or about the army of Andrey Andreyevich Vlasov, who was first Stalin's then Hitler's general and in both roles, ruled over countless Ukrainians, but whose existence in WWII history is little more than shadowy. Perhaps the congruence of Stalinism and Hitler fascism that Vlasov embodied was just too oppressive?"

Die Tageszeitung

Historian Tom Segev talks in an interview about how much Israel has changed in recent years. Hatred of the Arabs has become "legitimate and socially-acceptable." And it is "also accepted when a company hires only Jewish workers and no Arab Israelis. Many street signs are trilingual in Israel: Hebrew, Russian and Arabic. The Arabic is often blacked out. In the past the local authorities would remove the offending graffiti. But at some point they just stopped. (...) Then you have the Russians who can't stand the Ethiopians and vice versa. I have an adopted son who is Ethiopian. When his friends want to wind him up they call him Boris. There are lots of clubs in Tel Aviv which don't admit Ethiopians. Israeli society is becoming more fragmented all the time."

Frankfurter Rundschau 22.05.2009

Peter Michalzik brought together two of Germany's leading theatre directors Claus Peymann and Rene Pollesch. The two men, who had never met before, engaged in a conversation that started respectfully and ended with sparks flying. Halfway through they discovered they had very different ideas about literature. Peymann says. "I hold onto immanent values like in Truffaut's 'Farenheit 541', where you see people who are permanently chanting great literary works under their breath to prevent their disappearance."To which Pollesch replies: "They are only preserving an order to respect literature." Later he says: "I think literature is a pose which is now obsolete."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 18.05.2009

Verena Lueken reports back positively from the first few days in Cannes. She singled out the competition entry "Kinatay" by Filipino director Brillante Mendoza - not exactly cheering fare but worthy of respect nevertheless. "After the prologue in the chaos of downtown Manila, all that happens in the film is that a woman is dragged, kicked and beaten into a car and driven in what feels like an endless journey by night to a house where she is raped, murdered, chopped into bits and put into bags. Then comes the return journey where the various bits of her are thrown out of the car in different places... There is no way to like this film. But the director's energy and seriousness certainly deserve respect."

Die Tageszeitung 19.05.2009

"A catalogue of shocks" writes Christina Nord in her Cannes column on Lars von Trier's "Antichrist". And she divulges more specifics than most of her colleages: "The prologue, which is filmed in a slo-mo black-and-white coffee table aesthetic is punctuated by a split-second hardcore penetration shot. Later we see an erect penis spurting blood instead of sperm, and later still, a close up of a woman cutting off her clitoris with a blunt pair of scissors."

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Tobias Kniebe watched Quentin Taratino's film "Inglourious Basterds" and found it not lacking in profundity in spite of initial appearances. But it was also lots of fun. Tarantino "just wants to create glorious set-ups and take his sweet time about it. And as a devoted cinemaniac, he just wants to watch actors at word. And this is exactly what he does. In 'Inglourious Basterds' he has created a feel-good movie, as born out by the friendly applause at the end and the absence of political reaction. Is this possible with Nazis? Obviously it is." - let's talk european