From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

Neue Zürcher Zeitung 10.05.2010

Christina Kleineidam describes the renaissance of religion in Albania after the collapse of the Hoxha dictatorship in 1991. "After Easter, the Sigurimi (secret police) would always go through people's rubbish and if they found coloured egg shells, there would be trouble' – recalls 41-year old Andon Merdani, a bishop of the Albanian Autocephalous Orthodox church. The walls of his office in Tirana are decorated with a crucifix, the photo of the archbishop and a selection of icons, as if the days in which images of saints could survive only in secret, in which candles burned hidden inside the wardrobes of elderly women, in which one risked one's life to christen a child, had never existed. These were times when belief and superstition, decadence and corruption of the state were held in equal contempt and punished by an unforgiving secret police - all on the orders of the communist dictator Enver Hoxha who ruled with an iron fist until his death in 1985."

Die Tageszeitung

At the Theatertreffen festival, Katrin Bettina Müller watched a conceptual art opera by the New York independent theatre group Nature Theater of Oklahoma: "For the Theatertreffen in Berlin, which selects ten productions of note every year, the Nature Theater of Oklahoma is an alien thing, not just because it is in English (with German subtitles) but because it feels very different. Here is something that reaches for the means of the theatre without feeling at home there. It is something from a time saturated in entertainment formats, that grabs hold of the theatre as if to cool down the working temperature of our culture, in order to dissect and analyse it, as in a laboratory. Its ability to instrumentalise theatre as an analytical device is what makes Nature Theater so fascinating."

Die Welt

Filmmaker Eva Munz, who lived in Thailand for many years, describes a night in Bangkok on the verge of civil war. She's certainly not an uncritical supporter of Thaksin Shinawatra: "In 2003, he declared war on the drug so popular with truck drivers, YaaBaa or 'crazy medicine'. Within three months the police would supposedly put an end to production, supply and use of this stimulant. Thaksin gave the police a 'license to kill'. Fantasy targets were imposed on provincial police departments for imprisoning or killing drug criminals, black lists were cobbled together, neighbours denounced. People disappeared and were executed without trial. After three months, 2,500 Thais were dead, but truck drivers, prostitutes and slum dwellers were still high."

Die Welt 11.05.2010

Andreas Rosenfelder talks to the city planner Albert Speer of AS&P who genuinely believes that modern architecture can bring democracy to China. He is deeply critical, however, of the cult of spectacular UFO buildings. "Take Zaha Hadid, who is also involved in urban planning in Istanbul and Singapore. Her buildings have nothing to do with their locations. They are just cloud ideas which can be deposited anywhere in the world like volcano ash, quite at random. And the terrible thing is that the people who make the decisions fall for all this. Only later do they realise that it can't work and it doesn't fit their city."

From the blogs

Stefan Frank interviews the writer and politician Fiamma Nirenstein (homepage) about left-wing anti-Semitism which, she believes, started during the 7 Day War. "The people saw that the Jews were no longer the Jews as they imagined them: a poor minority despised by society who hid themselves away in their houses and synagogues, praying, and who needed permission from non-Jews to do everything. Suddenly the Jews were strong enough to defend themselves against Egypt, Syria and Jordan and even to conquer territory – in a war which should have sealed their fate."

Die Tageszeitung 12.05.2010

Kirsten Riesselmann watched Özcan Alper's film "Sonbahar – Autumn" (trailer).With a deep sigh she turns to Turkish cinema with a series of questions: "Dear young Turkish cinema, why are you so often the way you are? Why is so little said in your films, why is so much emphasis placed on vast landscape shots, on snow-covered mountains, on choppy seas; why do raindrops always trickle down panes of glass, why are autumn leaves always falling to the ground outside the windows, and why do your protagonists always stare through them melancholy-eyed, unmoving, for 30 seconds at a stretch? Why do your stories always take place in the countryside and in traditional settings when your filmmakers are mostly in their early thirties, belong in the inverted commas of the 'Istanbul School' and almost certainly live in the city?..."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 14.05.2010

Gerhard Stadelmaier is beside himself after a breathless evening watching Robert Lepage's "Lipsynch" – "an enterprise which begins with the death of a mother aboard a Lufhansa flight in the clouds and ends with a video deposition from the cross" at the Viennese Festwochen. "Lepage weaves a carpet, or rather a web, in which all the strands, stitches, people, voices and destinies come together although - or perhaps because - they have nothing to do with one another. And they are woven in such a way that thousands of others fit between them and they can never come to an end or even a momentary hiatus at once. Perhaps 'Lipsynch', which (also) deals with the possibility of whether one person can voice the words of another, is something like the first great surface-drama of the internet age: a comedy of entanglements brought on by madness or coincidence, a tragedy of lost souls and, of course, a slapstick soap opera of fate-deciding clicks." - let's talk european