From the Feuilletons


Die Welt, 12.09.2006

Hanns-Georg Rodeck has seen the film version of Patrick Süskind's "Perfume", which comes out in Germany this week. He smells a good deal more of producer Bernd Eichinger than director Tom Tykwer in the production, and comments that the film is not helped by an odour-free screen. "Tykwer's approach is visual. His cameraman Frank Griebe sets lead actor Ben Whishaw's nose into perpetual motion. It snuffles, quivers and stretches, the eyes are squeezed shut above it, the nose hairs tremble in close-ups, and at one point the camera even rushes right up his nostrils (where it finds the film credits). Tom Tykwer uses all cinematic means known to man to depict the smelling experience, from close-ups to slow motion shots, not omitting his typical high-speed travelling shots. In this way the eye is drawn toward the smell, although as a rule smells generally come to us. Perhaps the contrary nature of this movement is the subliminal reason why the solution fails to satisfy."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 12.09.2006

Andreas Kilb praises Berlin's current International Literature Festival despite its weaknesses: "Six years after its establishment, the Literature Festival still has no programmatic objective, no formula that would make it eligible for funding. It has its special themes (this year it's francophone literature of Africa and the Caribbean), but it has no fixed categories or hierarchies. For critics who want to sort literature not just according to genres but also according to sales figures... this confusion represents a considerable drawback, but in reality it's a blessing.... Between two obligatory engagements you might find yourself listening to a reading by the wonderful Pico Iyer telling stories about encounters at airports, about jetlag and departure lounges, about the strange English spoken by Indians, or a burning house in California. Iyer, born in England to Indian parents, now lives in Japan and America, and his prose is as colourful as his life – a pastiche of places, pictures and perspectives.

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 12.09.2006

Karl-Markus Gauß was intrigued by Martin Pollack's "Sarmatische Landschaften" (Sarmatian Landscapes), an anthology of essays from Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland and Germany: the mythic country of "freedom loving horsemen" between the Black and Baltic Seas, between the Don and the Vistula. "The Polish-Lithuanian nobleman's republic, which formed a multi-national state from 1569 to 1795, in which many languages were spoken and which promoted a form of religious tolerance otherwise unknown in Europe, deemed itself a legacy of Sarmatia. Being neither east not west, but rather the true, unrecognised middle between despotic Russia and the nationally organising West, this 'Sarmartian' self-consciousness had, at the beginning, nothing tragic about it. To the contrary, being turned against the East meant nothing more to the Sarmatians than democracy, while opposing the West meant national diversity. The enlightenment turned the Sarmatian myth into something dark: for them, Sarmatia began where reason and civil principles had not yet reached."

Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 12.09.2006

Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Wiener Philharmoniker's performance of the last three Mozart symphonies at the Lucerne Festival has left a lasting impression on Peter Hagmann. "The slow introduction of the E flat major symphony K. 543 already awakens the ears. The adagio of this movement corresponds not to four quarter notes but two half notes – Harnoncourt is unwilling to compromise here. In comparison, the allegro that follows is very moderate because the pulse remains constant, although now set in 3/4 time. The andante con moto of the second movement is also fresher than usual, because Harnoncourt is thinking in the two quarter notes that Mozart conceived, and not the four eighth notes that have become customary."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 12.09.2006

Christian Geyer comments on the Pope's appearance in his native Bavaria. The "wise light" and "world-embracing popstar" is being granted free access to the time slots "on the state broadcasters normally reserved for prince's weddings and other glamourous events." He's achieved that with a "literary device.... What can be criticised in the church in Germany, he no longer criticises in his own name. Thus when Benedict XVI feels like assigning blame, he leaves his own I aside and introduces an authoritarian I: the voice of the Africans and Asians. With their voices, the Pope leaves all niceties cunningly aside to declare Germany a missionary country."

Die Welt, 12.09.2006

As further-reaching anti-terror laws are being discussed in Germany, Ralf Dahrendorf advises their supporters to remain moderate. "For the first thing, we have to be sure that the decisive anti-terror laws are only provisional. All rules of this kind should be regularly reviewed by parliament. Secondly, those in power should try to reduce the worries of the general public, rather than exploit them. The 'terrorists' against whom we are waging 'war' cannot win because their dark vision will never be granted broad legitimacy."

Berliner Zeitung, 12.09.2006

Author Peter Glaser (bio in German) congratulates Hamburg's Chaos Computer Club of hackers on its 25th birthday. It is this Club that we have to thank for the maxim "All information must be free" and the knowledge that the new NASA and ESA computers are just as easy to hack into as the old BTX system. "Karl Kraus wrote, 'There is only one way to save ourselves from machines. That is to use them.' The longer we deal with technology, the more we discover what it can't do. And from the defective, weak world of computers, the CCC communicates to man the non-machine a buoyant feeling of sovereignty." - let's talk european