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Phoenix











Phoenix, directed by Christian Petzold (2014)















                  What's New
"Georg Baselitz has spent his life shocking the public, and the opera-lovers of Glyndebourne are his next target."  (The Guardian, 5/19/15) In Germany, W.E.B. Du Bois "became more human." Kwame Anthony Appiah explains how Du Bois's time at the University of Berlin played a formative role in his understanding of racial identity.  (Dissent, 5/7/15) Christian Petzold's "post-Second World War film noir Phoenix is surely in contention to be in any top five list of the best Hitchcockian thrillers ever made."  (The Independent, 5/7/15; The Telegraph, 5/8/15)


                  New investigations of the Nazi concentration camps
In 1945, the British Ministry of Information produced a "German Concentration Camps Factual Survey." The newly restored film "is as unadorned as its title, a document shot in the moment to capture forever evidence of the unimaginable."  (The New York Times, 5/21/15) "In popular memory,' writes Nikolaus Wachsmann, 'the concentration camps, Auschwitz, and the Holocaust have merged into one.' In our confusion, we have narrowed the horror of Nazi practice."  (The New Yorker, 4/6/15; Tablet, 4/16/15; The Wall Street Journal, 4/24/15) Sarah Helm has written a thorough, moving history of the Ravensbrück concentration camp, a center of National Socialist crimes against women.  (The Guardian, 1/18/15; The Economist, 3/14/15; The Guardian, 4/1/15; The New Yorker, 4/6/15; The New York Times, 4/7/15)


                   Music
"Cassettes never really died in Germany, a country that still houses a flourishing tape scene."  (Electronic Beats, 5/14/15) Who will succeed Simon Rattle as chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 2018?  (The New York Times, 5/6/15; The New York Times, 5/11/15; Deutsche Welle, 5/12/15; The New Yorker, 5/13/15) No new concert hall for Munich, Bavarian Minister-President Horst Seehofer has announced, angering Mariss Jansons, Anne-Sophie Mutter, and many more.  (Forbes, 2/4/15; Deutsche Welle, 2/9/15; Forbes, 3/4/15)


                  Art & Design
"Georg Baselitz has spent his life shocking the public, and the opera-lovers of Glyndebourne are his next target."  (The Guardian, 5/19/15) "Berlin, the most provincial of major European capitals, has found its saviour." Neil MacGregor will chair the Humboldt Forum, now under construction on Unter den Linden.  (Standpoint, 5/2015; The Guardian, 5/18/15) Thanks to photographer Heiner Müller-Elsner, here's a new perspective on historic monuments of epic proportions.  (Deutsche Welle, 5/6/15)


                  Books & Ideas
Franz Kafka wrote The Metamorphosis one century ago. "Numerous translations have re-shaped it into English, but which is the most successful?"  (The Guardian, 5/13/15) Leaving Berlin, set in the earliest days of the Cold War, is "an enjoyable thriller, high-class entertainment, one that moves fast enough to allow you to suspend disbelief as Kanon skates elegantly over the improbabilities of his plot."  (The Scotsman, 11/29/14; The Wall Street Journal, 2/27/15; The New York Times, 3/24/15) Ever wonder what it would be like to walk for 600 miles in Werner Herzog's shoes? Of Walking in Ice has been reissued by the University of Minnesota Press. (Slate, 5/5/15)


                  Film
Christian Petzold's "post-Second World War film noir Phoenix is surely in contention to be in any top five list of the best Hitchcockian thrillers ever made."  (The Independent, 5/7/15; The Telegraph, 5/8/15) Der Schuh des Manitu and Traumschiff Surprise: "They're the most popular modern German films within Germany. But are they any good? (Spoiler alert:
no.)"
 (This Week in Germany, 5/10/15)
"No one had the intention to destroy the Wall. After all, it was the life insurance for West Berlin." B-Movie recalls the mid-1980s counterculture of a divided city.  (Dazed, 3/18/15; Deutsche Welle, 5/20/15)


                  Theater
"If there’s one thing about which I feel confidentdespite the radical contingencies that typify our worldit’s that there will be no rioting or disruption whatsoever at the Royal Opera’s production of Mahagonny." Good call, Will Self.  (The Guardian, 3/13/15) The Berliner Staatsoper celebrates Alban Berg, "one of the 20th century’s most innovative composers, a man who is paradoxically also one of its most nostalgic Romantics."  (The Economist, 3/11/15) "The frontcloth to ENO's new production of The Mastersingers of Nuremberg features a collage of 103 of the most famous cultural figures from the German-speaking world. How many can you name?"  (The Guardian, 2/5/15)


                  History
In Germany, W.E.B. Du Bois "became more human." Kwame Anthony Appiah explains how Du Bois's time at the University of Berlin played a formative role in his understanding of racial identity.  (Dissent, 5/7/15) In memoriam: Peter Gay (1923-2015). He escaped from Nazi Germany and became one of the most distinguished American scholars of European intellectual history.  (The New York Times, 5/12/15) On May 8, 1945, Germany's unconditional surrender ended the Second World War within Europe.  (Berliner Morgenpost, 4/30/15; Deutsche Welle, 5/4/15; Open Culture, 5/5/15; Spiegel Online - International)


                  Et Cetera
Ingeborg Rapoport submitted her doctoral thesis at the University of Hamburg in 1938, but for "racial reasons" she wasn't permitted to defend it. This year, after a long and successful medical career, she finally did. Congratulations to the world's oldest doctoral recipient!  (The Wall Street Journal, 5/14/15) Is "soft power" the new Kulturpolitik? (AICGS, 5/11/15) "Allies, take note: with German leadership you get, and we do apologize for this, the deutsche Sprache – not to mention German thinking, which tends to be, well, complicated..."  (Berlin Policy Journal, 4/27/15)