From the Feuilletons


Suddeutsche Zeitung 21.12.2006

"I would like to answer the question as to what is German about German literature by talking about the most exemplary German writer. For me this is not Goethe or Schiller, not Thomas Mann or Bert Brecht, but the Prague Jew Franz Kafka," writes German-Iranian writer Navid Kermani on the "language zone I write in." "Kafka had something that people today are keen to save migrant children from: a markedly multiple identity. As a citizen of the state he belonged to the Hapsburg Empire, later to the Czech Republic. For the Czechs, Kafka and the entire German-speaking minority in Prague were simply Germans. Among the Prague Germans however, someone like Kafka was known foremost as a Jew. Not even Kafka himself could have said which collective he belonged to... Am I a German? In the World Cup I have always supported Iran; back in the days when I discovered Kafka, and today, when I'm still reading him. At the same time there is for me no greater undertaking than to belong to the same literature as Kafka, the Jew from Prague. His Germany unites us."

"Why should Israel have to delay a supreme national interest – peace with all its neighbours – in favor of pleasantness or unpleasantness in its relations with a foreign government?" The writer Amoz Oz believes Israel's rejection of Syrian peace overtures for fear of interfering in US Mideast policy could lead to war, as it did in 1973. Read the article in English.

Die Welt 21.12.2006

Hendrik Werner introduces the Polish author Marek Krajewski, whose retro-crime novels (read exerpt) are set in the Breslau of the 1920s. "The night face of the Breslau of those days was defined by speculators and people in search of a quick buck, political intriguers, members of obscure sects – and the gradually burgeoning National Socialism. And let's not forget alcohol, drugs and sexual excess. Half in disgust, half in fascination Mock pays almost nightly visits to the brothels and gin palaces of the increasingly debauched city – and certainly not for research purposes only."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung
, 21.12.2006

Inspired by an exhibition at the Musée des Beaux-Arts of Reims, Marc Zitzmann wanders through the city centre, wondering at its 1920s Art Deco treasures: “Many buildings are derelict or defaced by illuminated billboards and other such additions. Few are under landmark protection, and on their own they aren't worth much. But anyone who appreciates the fleeting impressions that an epoch leaves behind on apparently banal structures will not regret their promenade through the streets of this city."

Die Tageszeitung
, 21.12.2006

Tim Ackermann found the exhibit "Sexwork" in the Berlin NGBK insightful: "In German, there are 567 synonyms for the word 'prostitute.' Gabriele Horndasch has scratched all of them onto 35-mm film. Now the Düsseldorf artist is presenting her collection as a slide show in the 'Sexwork' exhibit. Alphabetically, of course. Seven projectors simultaneously rattle along, and by the time you get to the letter 'F,' you're confronted with a barrage of abusive language: Fotze (cunt), lose Fliege (loose fly), Filzlausverschiebebahnhof (pubic crab transfer station). Other regions of the alphabet are apparently more poetic. Horndasch's installation is a complex overture to the 'Sexwork' show in Berlin."

Aki Kaurismäki's new film "Lights in the Dusk" opens in Germany

Aki Kaurismäki
's film "Lights in the Dusk" is the last part of his "Loser Trilogy," writes Christiane Peitz in Tagesspiegel. In an interview Kaurismäki told her about the loser in his new film, a nightwatchman called Koistinen. "The world of today is hell. For factory workers it was also hell in the 19th century, but the difference is that there's no way to make things better now. At management level there is no one left to correct the mistakes of previous decades. There is nothing left but the automatic movement of money. In the 70s there was still a chance to change things and effect things in parliament oneself. I considered going into politics at the time but I was too egotistical. It would have cost me my soul and this was more important to me than power."

Reluctant at first, Michael Althen of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung eventually succumbs to the melancholy charm emanating from the new film by director Aki Kaurismäki. "Like all 'film noir,' 'Lights in the Dusk' is a deeply sad fairytale, in which the heroes have nothing to gain, and the only comfort might be that, in spite of everything, there is still hope that a cute blonde might appear out of the blue – and perhaps even mean it seriously." - let's talk european