From the Feuilletons


Berliner Zeitung, 15.03.2006

Michaela Schlagenwerth portrays Berlin director Neco Celik: "He is a committed Muslim and director of a number of offbeat underground films, which landed him the reputation of being the Spike Lee of Kreuzberg." Celik is now directing Turkish writer Feridun Zaimoglu's play "Black Virgins" in the HAU theatre in Berlin, which Zaimoglu collaged from interviews with Muslim women about their religion and also about sex. "Neco Celik finds it 'fantastic' the way the characters have found their own ways of balancing belief and sex. He agreed to direct the play 'just because it was Feridun's' (this is the first time he has tried his hand at theatre directing) before he had even read the script. 'The first reading was a shock.' Because Muslims never normally talk like this about sex, and particularly not girls. 'Feridun has taken on a huge responsibility here.' The characters launch a full-force attack on the clichees that beset them and their positions forcefully undermine all popular images about Muslim women." See our feature by Feridun Zaimoglu "From Turkish boy to German writer".

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 15.03.06

The FAZ literary supplement also celebrates Feridun Zaimoglu and his ambitious novel, 'Leyla'. Through the eyes of a young Turkish girl, it offers the reader a fascinating and horrifying introduction into the world of Turkish women. "To understand the situation of Turks living in Germany, you need to understand where they have come from. Zaimoglu's extensive research, speaking at length with his family, with aunts, relatives and friends in Germany and in Turkey, helped him painstakingly and lovingly to reconstruct this world. He depicts the women's sewing in minute detail and how Leyla, stricken with shame and panic deals with her first period – her older sister Yasmin directing her from behind a closed bathroom door on how to loop and knot the piece of cotton. Zaimoglu effortlessly slips into the skin of a child or bride, who is only told about the rituals by her friends the day before her wedding and feels like she might fall unconscious from her chair, like her sister Selda did."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 15.03.2006

After decades of neglect, Tangier is undergoing thorough renovation, reports Alfred Hackensberger, and this is attracting foreigners to the city. "Among them are also famous names like Bernard-Henri Levy, the French philosopher, who has bought himself an extravagant multi-million villa directly by the sea. Or Francois-Olivier Rousseau, a French writer, who recently arrived from Marrakesh which has lost its 'exotic flair' now that so many foreigners live there. 'It is significant', says Khalid Amine from the university of Tetouan, 'that the more Moroccans strive for modernity, the more Europeans strive for tradition. They live in the old city, and the Moroccans move out to the new part of town.' As a result, property prices in the 'Kasbah' where the old houses afford wonderful views over the Straits of Gibralta, have rocketed in the last two or three years. "

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 15.03.2006

As part of her "Love Project" researching human relationships in 2006, Sonja Zekri trawled through a number of related books and websites. Among them was what she termed an "encyclopaedia of reproduction", a book called "Minimum" by publisher and editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Frank Schirrmacher, which follows up on the successes of his "Methusala Conspiracy" about the problems of an ageing society. "Minimum" describes the "biological worse case scenario" as the consequence of "society's failed breeding programme", which Zekri writes, follows the "fundamentalist ideal of the family idyll" which never truly existed. "And his argument assigns women the role of the devoted seamstress whose selflessness alone can rescue the nation from the brink of the abyss. This makes even the post-war years look rosy by comparison. At least in those days the so-called rubble women could prove themselves with muscle power, organisational talent and a few other skills."

Die Welt, 15,03.06

Matthias Heine applauds Mel Brooks' remake of "The Producers" as "a real encyclopaedia of wicked jokes about all manner of people who are normally easily offended: Jews, gays, lesbians, Germans (and not just Nazis), blondes and sex-obsessed grannies." Heine believes the film has a diplomatic duty. "The film should be shown in as many Islamic countries as possible. It illustrates the American and European sense of humour much better than any number of intercultural dialogues could. He impressively rejects the argument often circulated by Muslims that the western world has a so-called taboo on jokes. Even more than its predecessor in 1968, the remake strives after a utopia, the final variation on the good old American melting pot theme: It's the strength of the wicked humour and greed for money that reconciles the Jews, Nazis, gays and Swedes." - let's talk european