Culture – Daily News Egypt Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Fri, 23 Jun 2017 13:32:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Curtain opens in Verona’s Arena Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:26:00 +0000 The post Curtain opens in Verona’s Arena appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The 2017 Arena di Verona Opera Festival will be staged from June 23rd to August 27th. The program consists in 48 evenings with 5 operas and 3 special events.On Friday June 23rd at 9.00 pm Opening night of the 2017 Arena di Verona Opera Festival with the first performance of Nabucco by Giuseppe Verdi, in a new stage design directed by Arnaud Bernard, with sets by Alessandro Camera.

Another opera on the program is Aida, the opera that is a symbol of the Opera Festival, having been performed 650 times from 1913 to the present day.

One of the three special events will be on 15 August with the performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9: a truly emotional gala evening, during which the absolute masterpiece by the genius from Bonn – the first musical composition to become part of UNESCO’s official cultural heritage treasures (in 2001), with the inclusion of its original manuscript in the “Memory of the World Register” – will resound round the amphitheatre, embracing it with the enthusiasm of the renowned Ode to Joy.

At the 95th Arena di Verona Opera Festival, performances will begin as follows: 9:00 pm in June and July and at 8:45 pm in August. The three special evenings will begin at 10:00 pm.

is/ks (dpa,

Cultural highlights on Germany’s unique stages

Summer is the time for festivals even in Germany. There are more than 500 festivals in all – many of them open air shows in spectacular settings.

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Munich Film Festival kicks off with Juliette Binoche Fri, 23 Jun 2017 07:53:00 +0000 The post Munich Film Festival kicks off with Juliette Binoche appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The 35th edition of the Munich film festival has opened with Claire Denis’s “Let the Sunshine In.” An epic new Hitler documentary and Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled” also await.Some French celebrity cinema isn’t a bad start for the festival on the Isar river, which always seeks to combine glamour with artistic aspiration. Director Claire Denis, one of France’s most renowned filmmakers, helms the story of Isabelle (Juliette Binoche), a woman who makes several male acquaintances, including a macho, power-hungry banker, a late-puberty actor, a sensitive philosopher, and finally her ex-husband. Isabelle gives herself to them all, both physically and intellectually, and yet she knows perfectly well that the right one is not among them.

“Critical Resistance”

It’s uncertain whether the opening film of the 35th Munich Film Festival lives up to “Youth on the Move” and “Creative Resistance,” the central themes of this year’s cinema celebration.

“No moral cowardice, but youthful Sturm und Drang will rule on the screen and fuel many of the films we have invited to Munich from around the world in 2017,” said festival director Diana Iljine of the sub-themes driving the 2017 festival.

“Resistance is useless, you might think, in our crisis-torn world. And yet there’s a political will to resist in society, spreading upheaval, especially among the young,” Iljine added about “politically aware Millennials rebelling against the norms and conformities of the adult world.”

New German Cinema

This year’s festival program includes 45 world premieres, most of them German feature and documentary films – including 15 in the New German Cinema section. Unlike film festivals in Berlin and Saarbrücken, a lot of entertaining genre films are coming to the screen in Munich.

“German cinema in 2017 renegotiates the will to get along in happy single/couple/family constellations in exceptional dramas, comedies, tragicomedies [that explore] bizarre dream worlds … pathologies and personality disorders,” states the festival website.

Hard-hitting socio-political cinema is also on show. In the film “Fremde Tochter” (“Foreign Daughter”), for example, a volatile theme is explored: the love between a young non-religious German woman and a slightly older Muslim man. Can it go well? Director Stephan Lacant tackles the difficult subject – especially in an age where terrorism is often linked with Islamic extremism – cautiously and with many nuances.

Monumental Hitler documentary debuts

Among the most anticipated events is the world premiere of the seven-a-half-hour TV documentary “Who Was Hitler.” Director Hermann Pölking has deliberately opted for a cinematic feel – and monumental length – on a subject that has been the focus of many television series in recent years. The film deliberately confines itself to original quotes, speeches and writings by Hitler and his contemporaries – and largely dispenses with commentary of its own.

“Pölking conducted some of the most exhaustive research ever for a documentary film, cataloguing 120 archives in 14 countries, reviewing 850 hours of footage, restoring and digitally scanning more than 100 hours of material,” said the festival.

The world premiere of “Who was Hitler” on June 24 is sure to generate a lot of interest from abroad, where the subject of Nazism remains a staple of the big and small screens.

Honors for Coppola, Cranston and Hauff

Some of the great names of cinema will be specially honored this year in Munich, including the American director Sofia Coppola, whose films are the focus of this year’s festival retrospective. Beyond early works like “The Virgin Suicides” (1999) and “Lost in Translation” (2002), Coppola will also present the German premiere of her latest film, “The Beguiled.” Starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrel, the film is in competition.

Meanwhile, Canadian actor Bryan Cranston, star of the worldwide smash series “Breaking Bad,” will receive the prestigious “CineMerit Award” this year.

The festival is also dedicating an homage to leading New German Cinema director Reinhard Hauff. In the 1970s and ’80s, Hauff was one of several politically-minded German directors – among them Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Alexander Kluge, Volker Schlöndorff, Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders – who changed the face of German film, especially with “Stammheim” (1986), which detailed the trial of the Baader-Meinhof terrorist group.

“Hauff was a seismograph of his times and practiced a radical [film style] with people at the margins of society,” said Diana Iljine. “It’s especially intriguing to see how our perspectives were changing back then, and how our perspective on those days have changed.”

Now 78, Hauff was once one of the young and wild directors to whom this year’s festival motto, “Youth on the Move,” is dedicated.

The Munich Film Festival runs from June 22 to July 1.

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The world in pictures: How photography revolutionized the press Fri, 23 Jun 2017 07:29:00 +0000 The post The world in pictures: How photography revolutionized the press appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Barely a century ago, the invention of photojournalism turned the press landscape upside down. A new exhibition at Berlin’s German Historical Museum reimagines a photographic revolution.A new exhibition at Berlin’s German Historical Museum titled “The Invention of Press Photography: From the Ullstein Collection 1894-1945,” shows how photography first appeared in newspapers and magazines at the turn of the 20th century – and rapidly boosted circulation.

Featuring defining examples of an emerging art form that are held in the image archives of the Ullstein publishing house, the exhibition particularly draws on the weekly news magazine, “Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung,” published by Ullstein from 1894 to 1945.

With a circulation of nearly two million copies at one time, it was Germany’s most successful magazine. This was largely due to the images it displayed from renowned press photographers and picture agencies, photos that drew in readers from across the social spectrum.

More generally, the exhibition shows how press photography represented a historical turning point in the development of the press in Germany and beyond – and was also front and center of documenting the coming turbulent times.

“Photography changed the press landscape and thus our perception of reality,” wrote the German Historical Museum of the exhibition.

The “Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung,” in particular, “stood for the birth of a new medium, the illustrated magazine, and the way it dealt with photography, which influenced people’s viewing habits and engaged the visual longings of its readers.”

Featuring works by noted photographers such as Georg and Otto Haeckel, Philipp Kester, Martin Munkacsi, Yva, Max Ehlert and Regina Relang, “The Invention of Press Photography” runs from June 23 through October 31 in Berlin.

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Knowledge is power: Humboldt’s educational vision resonates on 250th birthday Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:36:00 +0000 The post Knowledge is power: Humboldt’s educational vision resonates on 250th birthday appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Considered the father of the modern university, Wilhelm von Humboldt revolutionized public education in Germany. But on his 250th birthday, how does Humboldt’s legacy live on?A cosmopolitan linguist, philosopher, statesman and writer in one, Wilhelm von Humboldt would today make a good German education minister.

He was fluent in the principal languages ​​of the old and new world, and lived through long periods of his busy life in the most important European cultural centers such as Paris, Rome, London, Vienna and Berlin. Even though he was sometimes in the shadow of his well-traveled brother Alexander, he was equally significant, especially for his pioneering work as an education reformer.

The road to enlightenment

Wilhelm von Humboldt’s whole life was essentially an educational journey. After the early death of his father – who served as chamberlain to Frederick the Great – Humboldt had already received excellent education from private tutors that continued into his youth. His mother, born to prosperous Huguenot merchants, sought the best philosophers, reformist educators and polymaths to not only teach her sons the basics, but explain the world to them.

The boys were quickly instilled with a fascination with research, intellectual curiosity and Prussian discipline – and would go on to achieve excellence in their professions.

Like his brother, Wilhelm had intensive contact with the great minds of his time, among them Schiller, Goethe, Fichte and Schleiermacher. They also closely studied the modern philosophy of Kant. Thanks to his family’s wealth, the Humboldt brothers werefinancially independent and could freely pursue their personal interests.

Read: Berlin’s Humboldt University plans to open Islamic theology institute

Wilhelm von Humboldt entered the Prussian state service in 1790 at the age of 23, but was bored and quickly resigned. He then married Karoline von Dacheröden, who regularly ran salons for poets, philosophers and politicians in the family home as they traveled Europe when Wilhelm later worked as a diplomat.

A highly educated art historian, Karoline was also an emancipated young woman who dared to to wear men’s dress when horse riding because it was more practical. Wilhelm, on the other hand, spent time looking after his children at home, which went against the Prussian military ideal of masculinity at the time.

Early in the marriage, the couple undertook extensive journeys through France and Spain, some of them into inaccessible areas high in the Pyrenees where travelers at the time rarely strayed. They also journeyed with three children – together with their tutors, of course.

From diplomat to education reformer

In 1802, Wilhelm von Humboldt entered the Prussian civil service for the second time. On this occasion he was lucky enough to be sent to Rome as a diplomat. Together with Karoline, then a close friend of Schiller’s wife Charlotte von Lengsfeld, he led a lavish social life in Rome among the liberal intelligentsia. Writers, scholars and famous artists such as the painter Angelika Kauffmann visited the Humboldt home, as did Wilhelm’s brother Alexander.

But after Prussia was invaded by France in 1806, and the country was left bankrupt and its people starving, Wilhelm was summoned to Berlin in 1808 and appointed to the post of director of education.

School education in Prussia was rigid and anachronistic, with no separation between church and state. Curriculum was strict and women were denied access to education. But Humboldt soon ushered in a new age of education. Born of his humanistic educational ideals, in 1810 Humboldt introduced a uniform three-level school system in Prussia from elementary through to high school. He abolished the “disastrous training pedagogy,” as he called it.

Humboldt also invented the modern research university when, in 1811, he founded Berlin University (now Humboldt University). Promoting the latest teaching methodology, the university sees Prussia develop the most advanced educational system in Europe.

Utopian ideals

As he reformed an antiquated curriculum, Humboldt insisted that teachers and university professors should be an “advocate for the education of young people.” Systematic learning and holistic education through art and music were just as important as mathematics to the training of the mind, according to Humboldt.

The ability to think critically would be more important than strict vocational training. “Knowledge is power and education is liberty,” was Humboldt’s credo.

When Wilhelm von Humboldt died in Berlin-Tegel on April 8, 1835, he left behind a powerful new school of thought. His ideal was to nurture educated, confident citizens, independent of their class or family background.

These educational ideals could serve as a model for present-day school and education policy in Germany. But regional political interests and packed curricula – which still have their origin in the strict Prussian administration – stand in the way. Humboldt’s cosmopolitan, liberal-minded educational philosophy remains a utopian ideal in Germany.

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Two Palmyra artworks destroyed by ‘IS’ restored for first time Wed, 21 Jun 2017 11:51:00 +0000 The post Two Palmyra artworks destroyed by ‘IS’ restored for first time appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

For the first time since its destruction by the “IS,” two artworks from Palmyra have been restored. Italian archeologist Maria Laurenti spoke with DW about the political hurdles and challenges of restoration.Since the barbaric destruction of Syria’s Palmyra, the ancient city has become a symbol of the brutality of the terror organization “Islamic State” (IS). Now, the Italian “Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione ed il Restauro” (High Institute for Conservation and Restoration) has carefully reconstructed and restored two tomb figures. The group says it’s the first time artworks destroyed by the “IS” have been restored.

DW: How did this restoration project of the two tomb sculptures from Palmyra come about?

Maria Concetta Laurenti: The two busts had formerly been exhibited at a museum in Palmyra. After the seizure of Palmyra by “IS,” those fighters used hammers and other devices to damage them and throw them to the ground. They were particularly intent on destroying the facial features and the religious symbols. When Syrian authorities regained control of these sites…

…we’re talking about the Assad regime?

Yes, the Assad regime’s troops.

Did Assad contact you then?

No, Assad did not contact us; Syrian museum officials did. But I would like to make something very clear: Our goal is the restoration of World Heritage Sites and artifacts. We are not interested in political labeling.

It was the Directorate-General of Syria’s Antiquity and Museum Administration, which is part of the Syrian government, who contacted us. The sculptures that had been recovered in Palmyra were brought to a museum in Damascus, and that’s when we entered into the picture.

Read: Nations pledge millions to protect cultural heritage

Read: Syrian government retakes ancient city of Palmyra from IS

When was that?

In October 2016, we exhibited the two sculptures and other artworks from Syria that had been recovered in the Colosseum Museum in Rome. We started restoring the two tomb sculptures after that.

What were the some of the greatest challenges in restoration?

With the female bust, we only assembled the pieces we had available to us. The greatest challenge was the male bust. We had to completely reconstruct the face since most of it was missing. We wouldn’t have been able to do that using conventional methods.

How were you able to do it then?

We decided to use 3D technology to reconstruct part of the face and head. Luckily, an older photo of the bust existed. For the 3D technology to work, we had to use the so-called “mirroring” effect. We used the remaining pieces to mirror and divide the face at the axis of symmetry. Then we could use 3D technology to create a virtual model. That was the only way we could complete the face.

Had something like that been done before, or was it a pioneering measure?

We are perhaps the first to use the mirroring method in the area of restoration. But the truly decisive and novel part of our method is its reversibility. That means that our additions can be taken off, since we only attached them to the face with really strong magnets.

The reversibility was also part of the discussion when you spoke with Syrian officials. You said that the Syrians wanted a seamless reconstruction of both of the busts. But your Institute for Conservation and Restoration has a different aim.

I think that we found a compromise. The Syrians received two restored busts, and we were able to remain true to our principles of not completely polishing over the traces of history, including the destruction.

You gave the two restored tomb sculptures back to the museum in Damascus. Wasn’t that a bit premature? After all, the war is not over and they could be destroyed again. And who says that the Assad regime will be around when the war is over?

We don’t see it that way. We gave back these artworks to what we see as their rightful owner, namely the director of the National Museum in Damascus. We did not give them back to Palmyra, but to the museum from which we received them.

We’re quite optimistic, and we know that there is a safe bunker there. And we have a clear conscience. After all, these artworks do not belong to us.

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation in Germany is very active in Palmyra and at other historical sites. Are you cooperating with the foundation?

No, it was a completely bilateral project between us and the Syrian side. And, the way it looks, we were the first ones to do it. We have no plans to cooperate with the foundation, especially because we have no plans to restore other artworks from Palmyra.

Maria Concetta Laurenti is an archeologist at the “Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione ed il Restauro” in Rome, which is one of Italy’s important instruments of cultural diplomacy.

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“Ramadan Kareem”: the diaries of a simple Egyptian district Wed, 21 Jun 2017 11:00:15 +0000 The series documents Ramadan’s cultural rituals that are about to die

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“Ramadan Nostalgia” is one of the common terms that you may often hear during the holy month every year. Many people tend to feel nostalgic about the old religious rituals and traditions of Ramadan, the colorful lanterns in the streets, the night callers or drummers waking people up for “Al Sohor”, Ramadan tents, and the firecrackers that children usually light to celebrate the month.

Away from the drama competition that depends mainly on the comedy and action genres, the “Ramadan Kareem” series decided to warble outside the flock, with the aim of reviving the warmth of the month in the hearts and minds of the audiences and showing the beauty of the old Egyptian character. The series, starring Sayed Ragab, Ruby, Reham Abdel Ghafoor, Mahmoud El Gendy, Mohammed Lotfy, and others, presents the stories of two brothers—Ramadan and Kareem—shedding lights on the individual lives, struggles, and dreams of each one of their family members.

Although the series doesn’t usually provide a big number of incidents and plot twists each episode, it can rather be considered as a visual type of documentation for the life inside a simple Egyptian district where people struggle daily to make a living. The series portrays the strong bond between Muslims and Christians, and it gives some indirect advice for young people who cannot fast or those who cannot stop themselves from watching pornography.

Mahmoud El Gendy, who plays the role of “Al-Haj Kareem”, conveys some hidden messages about the rules of praying in the mosques and the importance of reviving the Arabic language in order to understand more about our religion and preserve our identity and culture. By blending some performed scenes with real scenes of people in the markets buying food and lanterns, director Sameh Abdel Aziz has succeeded in engaging the viewer in a realistic environment that they can easily believe.

Hakim, the leading Egyptian pop singer, presented one of his best songs as the main intro of the series. With the amazing voice and remarkable lyrics, the song manages to remind people of the blessings of fasting, the gatherings at a coffeshop with friends, the remarkable sweets of Ramadan such as “Konafa” and “Qatayef”, and the religious hymns of “Al Sheikh Al-Naqshabandy”, who provided the traditional “ibtehalat” of Ramadan.

Watching “Ramadan Kareem” takes you on an amusing journey into a simple district where people care about each other and provide support for their neighbours and friends. However, the series also tackles some of the eternal mischief of human beings such as betrayal, hypocrisy, cheating, and bribery.

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Ali, the Goat and Ibrahim, the first Arab film to be screened in DIFF’S VOX initiative Wed, 21 Jun 2017 10:30:42 +0000 the independent platform screens independent international-awarded films 

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Following the warm welcoming it has received since its international screening, “Ali, Me’za & Ibrahim” (Ali, the Goat and Ibrahim) is the first Egyptian film to be screened in the VOX cinema initiative organized by the International Dubai Film Festival (DIFF).  The film is also the only Arab movie to be screened in Cinema theaters in France starting from 7 June.

VOX initiative is a platform that allows film fans to watch the best independent films, that present different perspectives. The screened films are usually the most well- received films from international festivals, however they are not screened in theaters for the public.

The film’s world premiere took place last December at the Dubai International Film Festival, in which the film competed within the Muhr Feature competition; actor Ali Sobhi was awarded the Best Actor Award for his role.

The film tells the story of Ali, who was born and raised in a rough a neighbourhood, before he travels across Cairo with Ibrahim based on the recommendation of a psychic. The recommendation comes after she interpretes the voices he hears in his head. Their journey turns into a voyage of friendship and self-discovery.

“Ali, the Goat, and Ibrahim” stars Ali Sobhi and Ahmed Magdy, alongside Salwa Mohamed Aly and Nahed El Sebaie.

Directed by Sherif El Bendary, “Ali, the Goat, and Ibrahim” is written by Ahmed Amer, based on Ibrahim El Batout’s story, and is produced by Mohamed Hefzy’s Film Clinic, Hossam Elouan’s Transit Films, and the French film production company Arizona Productions, with the participation of Egypt, France, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

The film also took part in the Mons International Love Film Festival in Belgium, alongside participation in the 19th Rendez-Vous with French Cinema in Paris (January 12-16). The film won various prizes in the development and post-production phases, including three during its participation in the Final Cut Workshop at the Venice International Film Festival.

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Second of Tutankhamen collection transferred to Grand Egyptian museum Wed, 21 Jun 2017 10:00:46 +0000 The relics includes a collection of dried dates, onions, garlic, wheat and doum.

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Another collection of Tutankhamen’s remains and belongings were transferred from the Egyptian museum to the overlooking Giza Plateau Grand Museum on Monday, in preparation for the soft opening of The Grand Egyptian museum in 2018.

The transferred collection includes dried and mummified seeds and fruits as well as a number of tiny symbolic boats and a chair painted in white plaster, according to Tarek Tawfik, GEM’s Supervisor General in a press release.
The seeds are a collection of dried dates, onions, garlic, wheat and doum.

“The collection was transported safely” Eissa Zidan Director General of the First Aid Restoration assured adding “restorers have used a special scientific methods in packing and transportation as well as organizing a detailed scientific report on the current conditions of all transported items before its transportation.”

Objects are currently under restoration for displaying at the museum’s opening.

Earlier in May, King Tutankhamen’s funeral bed along other belongings were transferred to the museum

The packing process lasted for around eight hours. The process was conducted in collaboration with a Japanese scientific team.

Before packing, the bed was subjected to scientific documentation and first aid restoration in order to guarantee its safe transportation, according to the statement.

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Francis Kéré’s stunning new pavilion opens in London Wed, 21 Jun 2017 08:57:00 +0000 The post Francis Kéré’s stunning new pavilion opens in London appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Berlin-based architect Diébédo Francis Kéré has unveiled his Serpentine Pavilion in London’s Kensington Gardens. He is the first African to be commissioned for the project created annually by renowned architects.Diébédo Francis Kéré’s striking Serpentine Pavilion, unveiled Tuesday, was inspired by the tree that serves as a central meeting point for life in his hometown of Gando in Burkino Faso. In this way, his latticed, indigo blue pavilion seeks to connect its visitors to nature – and each other.

An expansive roof mimics a tree’s canopy, allowing air to circulate freely while offering shelter against London rain and summer heat.

“In my village, during the hot day, everyone is gathering under the tree, you have the mothers, the fathers, the elders then the kids,” Kere told AFP.

“I grew up listening to stories in my village and indigo blue, a natural color, is so important to the culture,” he added.

Kéré is committed to socially engaged architecture and ecological design that is epitomized by his award-winning primary school in Burkina Faso.

Read: Art is part of development, says architect of Burkina Faso opera village

Read: Architect Francis Kéré to build huge mobile theater at Berlin’s Tempelhof airport ramp

“My experience of growing up in a remote desert village has instilled a strong awareness of the social, sustainable, and cultural implications of design,” he said in a statement. “I believe that architecture has the power to surprise, unite, and inspire all while mediating important aspects such as community, ecology and economy.”

The pavilion’s design is a strong statement on architecture’s ability to foster sustainability.

“The roof becomes a funnel channelling water into the heart of the structure,” Kere noted. “This rain collection acts symbolically, highlighting water as a fundamental resource for human survival and prosperity.”

Kéré, who leads the Berlin-based firm Kéré Architecture, is the 17th architect to accept the Serpentine Galleries’ invitation to design a temporary Pavilion in its grounds.

His predecessors include Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, Frank Gehry and the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.

The pavilion can be viewed from June 23 to October 8, 2017 in London.

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Two drinks away from schizophrenia: ‘Axolotl Overkill’ shows what it’s like to be young in Berlin Wed, 21 Jun 2017 08:41:00 +0000 The post Two drinks away from schizophrenia: ‘Axolotl Overkill’ shows what it’s like to be young in Berlin appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Celebrated on the festival circuit, a daring film by director Helena Hegemann, “Axolotl Overkill,” premieres in Germany. It was adapted from her 2010 book, but can it live up to its literary counterpart?It’s difficult to write about the film “Axolotl Overkill” without rehashing the entire backstory. After all, Helene Hegemann’s 2010 novel “Axolotl Roadkill” caused a scandal in the literature world. The author was charged with plagiarism, which she and the publisher admitted to.

Helene Hegemann made a name for herself as a teen

This tumultuous story is not the only thing that could alter the way one sees the film, which premieres in Germany on June 21 and will be released in German theaters on June 29.

There is also Hegemann’s youth – she is just 25 -, and the fact that she had already written plays, produced a short film and won the Max Ophuels Prize before publishing the novel “Axolotl Roadkill.”

Born in 1992, Hegemann has been lauded as an artistic prodigy and praised for her acting skills. There are numerous autobiographical references in her films, which are often incorporated in reviews of her work or articles about her.

Is it possible to look at this feature film, her debut no less, with the distance and openness that is required? An attempt should be made to do so at the very least.

Read: Germany’s youth – stuck in endless adolescence?

Watch: How to get past Berlin’s toughest bouncers

The film isn’t like the book

“The structure of the novel is absolutely incompatible to the way a film must be narrated,” the young director said of “Axolotl Overkill.” In the book, it’s less about “the greater story than the inner life of the main character, and not even that is really tangible.”

Hegemann was sure that she did not want to focus too much on her main character, Mifti, but rather “on the people she met who were briefly in the novel.”

The film also includes some secondary characters: Mifti’s psychologically disturbed sister (Laura Tonke), the brother (Julius Feldmeier) who drifts through life just like his sister, the father (Bernhard Schuetz), and Mifti’s love interest (Arly Jover). Mifti also has a new friend (Mavie Hoerbiger) who is as uncertain as she is daring.

Actress Jasna Fritzi Bauer leaves her mark

The story of the 16-year-old Mifti, of course, takes up the bulk of the film, especially since she is convincingly played by charismatic actress Jasna Fritzi Bauer. She takes the film in a new direction, leaving audiences feeling feverish as they try to keep up.

Mifti is typical of today’s Berlin youth. She has no real desire to go to school, drifts through life and goes alone or accompanied to nightclubs in the German capital.

“Of course she is the main character, as she is in the novel,” says Hegemann. “But here she is shown from a completely different perspective.” In the book, for example, we see her inner self, whereas in the film we are looking at her from situations that are “imposed externally.”

On the verge of madness

The characters in this film seem to be linked by the fact that they are all searching for something: searching for life between expectation and passion, between the pressure to conform and to be free. It’s a risky game.

“The search is shared between characters that are completely different,” the director says of those in her film. “They play with rifles and party unpretentiously and a bit wearily with the complex freedom they have. No one reacts reasonably or predictably to the fact that they are all one or two drinks away from being considered a schizophrenic or committing a murder.”

Although it doesn’t go that far in the film, the experiences Mifti and her friends and relatives have with this psychotic roller coaster ride are anything but easy to digest. This applies of course only to the film characters. The audience, on the other hand, can look forward to seeing a film with interesting content and aesthetic appeal, from a director who is honing yet another of her talents.

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Testing the waters of cultural identity Tue, 20 Jun 2017 19:13:00 +0000 The post Testing the waters of cultural identity appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

What does identity have to do with hairstyle? How can leisure attire open doors? And what does all that have to do with Beethoven? Answers to these questions were offered at a freewheeling panel in Bonn.”Identity is fluid, and there’s no such thing as local anymore,” says a tall man of Sudanese descent born in Romania, who learned his perfect English from American television shows and as a guest worker in Qatar. He also sidelines as a cartoonist. And if that were not enough to complete Khalid Alabaih’s credentials as a citizen of the world, he even ventures into another field: searching out the identities of Qatar’s guest workers. Although they constitute over 90 percent of the populace, these people of mostly southern Asian origin live on the outskirts of urban areas: unseen, anonymous and dressed uniformly during the work week.

But on their days off, Khalid Alabaih will ask them about their attire. At first they’re startled at being so accosted, says Alabaih, but then they begin to open up. Alabaih has been collecting images and stories, posting them on the Instagram project #DohaFashionFridays, demonstrating how cultural background interfaces with fashion statements, and how identity, suppressed at the workplace, suddenly erupts and flourishes when given the slightest chance.

Khalid Alabaih was one of six very different panelists from entirely different cultural backgrounds reflecting on “Culture. Identity. Diversity.” at the Global Media Forum in Bonn on Tuesday. M.C.’d by Susanne Spröer, head of DW’s Culture Online department, it offered a kaleidoscope of how globalization is generating diversity, sometimes in unexpected ways.

Meanwhile, in Southeast Asia

The panel was preceded by a performance from a petite Asian woman with a volcanic voice: Mai Khoi Do Nguyen has been called Vietnam’s Lady Gaga. No one could doubt her energy either on or offstage. After she nominated herself for the national assembly in her one-party state two years ago, police shut down one of her shows. Be it for her political activism, for song titles like “Selfie Orgasm” and “Re-education Camp” or simply for her gleeful flaunting of stereotypes, Vietnamese authorities have effectively banned her from performing in her home country. Performances outside Vietnam – mostly for exiles – and Mai Khoi’s presence on social media flourish, however. And she believes in the transformative power of music.

“There are over 200 political prisoners in Vietnam,” she told DW, “yet after last year’s environmental catastrophe (ed: a water pollution crisis affecting the coasts of four provinces), people still go back to protest every week.” Much has changed in the country in the past 10 years, says the LGBT rights activist, yet some things remain unachieved, including basic rights that are – still – taken for granted in Western societies, like freedom of speech and movement. In this context, Mai Khoi, who was permitted to meet with former US president Barack Obama in a visit to Vietnam that took place in early 2016 but seems eons ago, is cautiously optimistic about her society’s future.

More than just a fashion statement

Whereas stereotypes are beginning to be flaunted in Vietnam, they still determine fates in Africa, says Zodidi Jewel Gaseb. Speaking of society in her native Namibia, she says “Discrimination is based on hairstyle. Children are not allowed to wear dreadlocks or Afros.” Career-oriented women go to considerable expense and inconvenience to straighten their hair, often using toxic chemicals. When sporting her spectacular natural Afro hairstyle, Gaseb has found herself being treated as a drug user or a prostitute.

Not content to accept the social construct, the events management officer at the Namibia Business Innovation Institute shared experiences with other African women on Facebook and became an activist and an entrepreneur. Owner of the initiative African Naturals, Zodidi Jewel Gaseb is seeking the promotion of natural, African-based products for hygiene and fashion – assisting, in particular, women entrepreneurs.

The originality and chutzpah of Zodidi Jewel Gaseb and Mai Khoi are perhaps even outdone by Takwa Barnosa: The 19-year-old established an art foundation in Libya two years ago. In her own artworks, she finds open and uncompromising representation for the chaos, anarchy and the refugee crisis in her homeland. How can art heal a broken society? Barnosa – who is neither supported nor interfered with by governmental or religious authorities – prefers to concentrate on the tiny, single steps taken by individuals: a 10-year-old boy who, seeing the art of Vincent Van Gogh, obsessively occupies himself with the technique in one of the artist’s paintings, seeking to surpass it. Or an isolated artist friend whose contact with Barnosa’s foundation encouraged her to leave her comfort zone and expand her technique and use of color.

Much to be done in Germany too

Individuals, private initiatives, the transformative power of art, music and even fashion: How do these factors figure in Germany, which is proud of – and even flaunts – its culture? Even one of the country’s influential cultural authorities, Andreas Görgen, likes to subvert institutional structures with surprising initiatives. The head of the department of Culture and Communication at the Office of Foreign Affairs once invited a number of dignitaries to an evening of “German folk music” – then proceeded to confound all expectations by presenting performers from the Balkans, Africa and the Middle East. The point was clear: these cultures, too, are Germany.

Görgen finds the millions of euros spent on cultural activity in Germany misplaced, targeting only the top 10 percent of wage earners. And of its 200 theaters, only two are directed by persons with a foreign name or of color. A search for cultural diversity in Germany, said Görgen, must lead to its factory halls. Meanwhile, even an internationally renowned event like the Dokumenta exhibition in Kassel is completely unknown to a large segment of that city’s population.

Finally, cultural identity is embodied by a historical figure like Ludwig van Beethoven, who has long since transcended any initial identification with German or Austrian culture. That is the opinion of Nike Wagner, director of Bonn’s Beethovenfest. And unique among music festivals, says Wagner, is the event’s cooperation with Deutsche Welle in the annual campus project, which showcases classical music traditions from different countries each year in juxtaposition with Beethoven. Although fostered by two institutional identities, this too undercuts traditional cultural thoroughfares of communication – and generates new forms of expression.

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Men in skirts: How fashion is redefining masculinity Tue, 20 Jun 2017 11:41:00 +0000 The post Men in skirts: How fashion is redefining masculinity appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

As haute couture designers take their feminine styles to shops, straight men can now wear pink and man buns. But DW’s Jan Tomes writes that the latest menswear trends are bland – and some verge on cultural appropriation.When it comes to menswear, the past decade has been particularly exciting.

Although the British dandies paved the way for fashion as a modern social phenomenon in the 19th century and couturiers established the industry system just a few decades later, men themselves have often only enjoyed sporadic attention from designers.

But that has recently changed – and so has the meaning of menswear and masculinity.

“There are fashions today that are considered acceptable, at least in urban areas, that would have been dismissed as ‘gay’ earlier this century: the color pink, tight trousers, or the ‘man bun,’ though it’s worth noting that that particular hairstyle has its provenance in samurai warriors and sumo wrestlers, not women,” Anja Aronowsky Cronberg from the London College of Fashion told DW.

And judging from the ongoing Spring/Summer 2018 men’s fashion weeks – which have taken place in London, Florence and Milan so far and will end in Paris on June 25 – this revised definition of masculinity continues to dominate the spectrum.

Bombers and tank tops, no jackets and shirts

Designers are going against all conventions this season, turning the staples of the classic male wardrobe, such as the suit, into a rarity.

Instead, the young British label Tourne de Transmission, which opened the London Fashion Week at the beginning of June, set the tone with alpine windbreakers paired with oversized shorts worn with Velcro sandals and white socks. Sneakers and kimono-inspired coats complemented the cartoonish take on the 1980s proportions at Topman.

Similarly, in Milan, even Ermenegildo Zegna, one of the torchbearers of Italian eleganza, proposed bombers and mesh tank tops as a substitute for jackets and shirts. Versace even did cargo pants.

Read: Trend forecaster Lidewij Edelkoort: ‘Fashion gets political when clothes become uniforms’

Read: Heidi Klum launches fashion line for German discounter Lidl

“I think it’s simply a sign of the times – the majority of men don’t really wear tailored clothing outside of those professional situations that demand it,” the editor-in-chief of “Style Zeitgeist” Eugene Rabkin told DW.

But Cronberg, who also edits the annual fashion journal “Vestoj,” sees another aspect of the recent shift in men’s style: “If you look at fashion history, you’ll notice how clothing in the Western world has become ever more casual. Think of the early 20th century, when women still wore corsets and men starched collars, to the much more relaxed silhouette of the 1920s.”

Thanks to new technology, she added, “we can create fabrics that stretch and shoes that allow us to run to catch the bus; it’s no wonder we prefer leggings, t-shirts, and sneakers to anything that might rub or chafe against our bodies.”

The constricted sophistication of a man’s suit cannot compete with the liberating banality of the activewear that is omnipresent both on catwalks and in stores.

Designers seem to feel no nostalgia toward the three-piece. Rather than honoring it, Francesco Risso at Marni shred it into pieces in his latest collection and sent it down the runway, just like Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga and countless others over the last few years.

Men in skirts kill two birds with one stone

But designers haven’t stopped there while dismantling the traditional symbols of masculinity. Men’s fashion has been adopting a great deal from womenswear – to the point that fashion shows have started to resemble défilés of boy-lolita gangs playing dress-up in their mothers’ garments.

“Obviously, fashion brands need to generate attention, and in a crowded landscape, an unconventional design can get you that,” commented Cronberg. “This way, a designer can see him or herself as more aligned with an artist than a mere rag-trader. Putting men in skirts kills two birds with one stone.”

Yet, as Rabkin points out, such clothes have a very limited life span since they are not commercially viable: “They don’t sell much outside of the clientele that has already been predisposed to wearing feminine clothes. By and large, catwalk fashion speaks to fashion people – the press and the buyers – and they operate in a bit of a bubble that allows for a more risqué approach to dressing.”

The androgynous, gender fluid look is, nonetheless, still very much in as seen in London this season and will be undoubtedly put forward to the masses by global, low-cost clothing brands in subtle reinterpretations.

That trick has, however, penetrated designer collections as well. Last week in Florence, J. W. Anderson, the master of gender bending, who had previously presented male models in hyper-feminine outfits, offered a different, much calmer collection. The verdict was unanimous: “Finally something wearable from J. W.!” recalled Rabkin.

Subcultures are dead

Wearable, toned-down designs, however, are generally less than exquisite, and the showcases in London, Florence, and Milan were bleaker than usual this June.

On paper, men’s fashion weeks sound like socio-cultural battlefields of creative forces, but uncertain expectations, obsolete industry structures, and overwhelming competition are forcing brands and designers to settle on non-offensive yet unexciting summery prints and shorts-and-sandals ensembles.

Even Prada, the Italian surname that singlehandedly reshaped the fashion of the last 25 years, succumbed to insipid, generic pieces embellished with manga imagery to create an ever-so-short moment of fashionable caprice this season.

This week all eyes are on Paris, then, which has established herself again as the source of avant-garde thanks to newcomers that do not shy away from exploiting the street and the underground.

While this approach has generated many trends that have dominated retail – the 1990s post-Soviet look, for instance – Rabkin warns about its cultural effects. Think samurai-warrior-inspired man bun.

“Subcultures are dead,” he claimed, saying, “Appropriation moves at the speed of light. It has become nearly impossible to carve out a space that will not be quickly co-opted by capitalism. The decoupling of visual codes from their cultural roots and the loss of meaning that goes with it is one of the most unfortunate developments in contemporary fashion. Consumption has become the easiest way to acquire meaning.”

‘Real men’ haven’t gone anywhere

And, speaking of consumption, men do love shopping these days. According to the global market research agency Euromonitor, the menswear market is set to outpace womenswear in terms of sales by 2020.

But does it mean that men will put on every quip designers throw their way?

“‘Real men’ have not gone anywhere,” asserted Cronberg. “Though lately there have been cries about masculinity ‘in crisis’ and the emergence of a ‘new man’ – an idea that the fashion industry has been quick to capitalize on -, a skeptic would point out that while men try on pussy-bow blouses and extra-long sleeves, the catalyst for this plethora of new looks might be more closely related to the ever-increasing commodification of everyday life and advances in marketing and advertising than it is to any kind of new man.”

Fashion should always be taken with a grain of salt, added Cronberg. “Change happens for the sake of change: That’s the mantra of fashion.”

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International Literature Award goes to Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s ‘Tram 83’ Tue, 20 Jun 2017 11:14:00 +0000 The post International Literature Award goes to Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s ‘Tram 83’ appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Post-colonialism takes center stage in Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s “Tram 83.” The book and its German translation have grabbed a top German translation prize.Congolese writer Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s novel “Tram 83” is “a radical report on post-colonial African life in a town built over an immense store of very valuable natural resources,” the jury of the International Literature Award said.

“Fiston Mwanza Mujila chants, roars, whispers sentences about everyday life in a male society dominated by violence with a radical furor, almost in passing narrating the tale of a crook and of the unlikely salvation of a doomed poet. The translators Katharina Meyer and Lena Müller have found a stirring language for the text that pushes towards the performative,” the jury wrote about the book they lauded as “rhapsodic” on their website.

Fiston Mwanza Mujila – who lives in Graz, Austria, where he teaches African literature at the university – will receive a prize of 20,000 euros ($22,300). Katharina Meyer and Lena Müller receive a prize of 15,000 euros for translating from the original French into German.

Background music

The novel is set in a fictitious mining town that closely resembles the DR Congo’s Lubumbashi, the capital of a region rich in natural resources including copper and diamonds.

“Tram 83” is the name of the jazz pub in the book, which is its own magnetic cosmos drawing in prostitutes, students, organ dealers and child soldiers. “Nothing special, really, this Tram 83. Everything black, like the caves of Lascaux. Men, women, childen, with cigarettes in their hands. Behind them a band unscrupulously maltreating a piece by Coltrane, probably ‘Summertime,'” writes Mwanza Mujila in his first novel.

Mujila was born in Lubumbashi in 1981, but had to flee when he began publishing. Now in Graz, he writes poetry, prose and plays, which he also translates into German. Much of his work centers around the political instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo since independence. “Tram 83” is his first novel and also grabbed the pan-African Etisalat Prize for Literature. In addition, it was long-listed for the International Man Booker Prize and the Prix du Monde.

Award ceremony

This is the ninth edition of the International Literature Award, given annually by Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the foundation Elementarteilchen, for international prose translated into German for the first time.

The ceremony for this year’s International Literature Award will take place on July 6 in Berlin, honoring author Mwanza Mujila and translators Meyer and Müller.

The other six on the shortlist and their translators will also be celebrated, including Hamed Abboud and Larissa Bender, Alberto Barrera Tyszka and Matthias Strobel, Han Kang and Ki-Hyang Lee, Amanda Lee Koe and Zoe Beck, Ziemowit Szcerek and Thomas Weiler, as well as Fernando Mires and Thomas Böhm.

South Korean author Han Kang, in particular, has a wide audience, having won the International Man Booker Prize in 2016 for her novel “The Vegetarian.”

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Arab Arts Focus presents talents of Middle East in Edinburgh Tue, 20 Jun 2017 11:00:05 +0000 Eight live shows depict Arab struggles through contemporary dancing, storytelling, and visual arts

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The portrayal of Arabs nowadays is always stereotypical: terrorism, ignorance, toughness. The mainstream image is the furthest from spotlighting beauty, tenderness, and art; something that the Arab Arts Focus (AAF) programme at the biggest art festival in the world—the Edinburgh Festival Fringe—aims to change.

The programme comes as a promising result of an intensive collaboration work between Cairo’s finest art production platform—Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF)—with the Tamasi Collective, Orient Productions, and Scotland’s Kenmure Productions.

The groundbreaking programme presents the tremendous beauty of Arab talents by showcasing several art theatre shows at three of the international festival venues. The festival will take place from 4-27 August.

Capturing the hearts of attendees would not be hard to achieve with Syrian refugees as storytellers, who revived their journey back to life from total destruction, either a play portraying the Muslims mainstream image in a funny, light way.

Photo handout to DNE

From contemporary theatre and visual arts to dance performances and spellbinding talks, the programme witnesses the participation of young talents from Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Morocco.

With eight different live performances, the AAF portrays different forms of struggles in the Arab world through heartwarming performances.

The AAF aims to increase awareness on the diversity of Arab art through challenging current stereotypes and encouraging positive discussions on the work of Arabic artists in an effort to create a wider understanding of the region at a time when it is most needed.

“The Arab Arts Focus in Edinburgh will present some of the finest new theatre work from the region,” said Ahmed El-Wattar, artistic director of D-CAF, and Ahmed El Attar. The general manager of Orient Productions, Ahmed El Attar, said, “We hope that this creates room for underrepresented narratives to facilitate the possibility of future exchanges and collaborations between artists and institutions from the Arab world and those from Scotland and the UK.”

“Love, Bombs, and Apples” is one of the showcased plays. The Palestinian show presents the political dilemma in Arab countries in a cheerful way. By portraying Muslims who successfully travelled to the US, yet failed to recover from what they had endured in their hometowns in Palestine and the battlefield of Syria, actor Hassan Abdel Razik, who also wrote the play, highlights the misleading stereotype people have about Islam.

Presenting the long Arab legacy is also another thing that “The Elephant, Your Majesty!” aims to showcase.

The art of storytelling has found its way to light for the first time in the Arab region, an art that was long after abandoned, except for some artists who wouldn’t let go of it.

By telling their stories to the world, teenage Syrian refugees explore elements of identity and tragedy before a global audience at Edinburgh, in the storytelling play “The Elephant, Your Majesty!”

Photo handout to DNE

The issue of refugees is also spotlighted in another show. “Taha” is a live show that examines the real experiences of refugees through presenting the life of a celebrated Palestinian poet in a tale of sorrow, humour, resilience, and tender humanity.

The Syrian Civil War is a connecting line to most of the shows. “Your Love is Fire” takes the audience to the details of the brutality of daily life in a war zone. Through displaying the people’s inner conflicts, fears, and self struggles, the story depicts the life of people who only dream of surviving.

Human struggle is another connecting chain to all of the eight live shows. In the Lebanese performance “Jogging”, the audience is introduced to a Lebanese woman in her fifties pacing through various roles, characters, desires, aspirations, and disappointments while doing her daily jog. The complexity of human emotions will also be tackled in “Jihan’s Smile”, a child performance that tells the story of an ordinary child losing her smile and the arduous road to regain it.

“We hope that the AAF catalyses the participating artists’ careers and contributes to the development of the independent performing arts scene in the Arab region,” said Amany Abou Zeid, the executive director of Tamasi Collective.

“We anticipate that the show acts as a platform where local and international audiences and artists can have meaningful exchanges concerning the interplay of art, geography, identity, and society at this critical historical juncture,” she concluded.

The programme also provides the audience with the dynamics of contemporary dancing in its status quo and its future in the Middle East.

“Mayhkomsh” and “Running Away” are two dance shows to enchant audiences in a Palestinian/Egyptian double bill of modern dancing that focuses on identity, homeland, and societal pressures, all while questioning what it means to be Arab nowadays.

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Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura Tue, 20 Jun 2017 07:53:00 +0000 The post Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

In the Swabian Jura region in southern Germany, there are six caves in which the oldest figurative artworks made by humans were discovered. This year they could be given UNESCO World Heritage status.The World Heritage Committee will assess the nomination of 34 sites for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List during its 41st session in the Ploish city of Krakow from 2 to 12 July.

This year’s nominations for inscription on the World Heritage list number seven natural sites, one mixed (i.e. both natural and cultural) and 27 cultural sites.

The Commitee will also review the state of conservation of 99 World Heritage sites and of 55 sites inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger during the session, which will be webcast.

Five World Heritage sites will be examined with a view to place them on the World Heritage List in Danger:

Historic Centre of Vienna , Austria
Cerrado Protected Areas: Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas National Parks, Brazil
Islands and Protected Areas of the Gulf of California, Mexico
Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore, Pakistan

The state of conservation of Côte d’Ivoire’s Comoe National Park will be examined with a view to removing it from the List in Danger.

Sites nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List this year:

Natural sites:

Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe [extension to “Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Ancient Beech Forests of Germany,” Germany, Slovakia, Ukraine], Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Ukraine
Los Alerces National Park, Argentina
W – Arly – Pendjari Complex [extension to “W National Park of Niger,” Niger], Benin, Burkina Faso
Qinghai Hoh Xil, China
Mole National Park, Ghana
Bhitarkanika Conservation Area, Inde
Landscapes of Dauria, Mongolia, Russian Federation

Cultural sites:

Historical Centre of Mbanza Kongo, Angola
Historic Centre of Sheki with the Khan’s Palace, Azerbaijan
Valongo Wharf Archaeological Site, Brazil
Sambor Prei Kuk Archaeological Site Representing the Cultural Landscape of Ancient Ishanapura, Cambodia
Kulangsu: a historic international settlement, Chine
Venetian Works of Defence between 15th and 17th Centuries, Croatia, Italy, Montenegro
Kujataa – a subarctic farming landscape in Greenland, Denmark
Asmara: Africa’s Modernist City, Eritrea
Taputapuātea (France)
Strasbourg: from Grande-île to Neustadt, a European urban scene [extension to “Strasbourg -Grande île”], France
Gelati Monastery [significant boundary reduction of “Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery”, Georgia
Caves with the oldest Ice Age art, Germany
The Bauhaus and its sites in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau [extension to “Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau”], Germany
Naumburg Cathedral and the High Medieval Cultural Landscape of the Rivers Saale and Unstrut, Germany
Historic City of Ahmadabad, India
Historic City of Yazd, Islamic Republic of Iran
Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region, Japan
As-Salt Eclectic Architecture (1865-1925), Origins and Evolution of an Architectural Language in the Levant, Jordan
Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town, Palestine
Tarnowskie Góry Lead-Silver-Zinc Mine and its Underground Water Management System, Poland
The Assumption Cathedral of the town island of Sviyazhsk, Russian Federation
Khomani Cultural Landscape, South Africa
Talayotic Minorca, Spain
Aphrodisias, Turkey
Khor Dubai, a Traditional Merchants’ Harbour, United Arab Emirates
The English Lake District, United Kingdom

Mixed sites:

Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Valley: originary habitat of Mesoamerica, Mexico

A Forum of young heritage professionals dedicated to the theme of “Memory: Lost and Recovered Heritage”, will be held in Warsaw and Krakow. It will open ahead of the Committee meeting on 25 June and close on 4 July bringing together representatives from 32 countries, including the 21 that are on the World Heritage Committee. Participants will exchange views on the challenges of heritage conservation.


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Documentary on anti-Semitism in Europe to be screened, despite controversy Mon, 19 Jun 2017 13:09:00 +0000 The post Documentary on anti-Semitism in Europe to be screened, despite controversy appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

German-French public broadcaster Arte received criticism for deciding not to show the film. Then, Germany’s largest tabloid made it available online. Now, the documentary will be screened on TV.On Wednesday, the documentary titled “Chosen and Excluded – Jew Hatred in Europe” will be shown on German television. On June 21, the film will be broadcast at 10:15 pm on the public channel ARD.

The documentary about discrimination against Jews in Europe was commissioned by the German-French broadcaster Arte. After an editor accepted the film and the filmmakers Sophie Hafner and Joachim Schroeder received their fee, Arte refused to screen the film. The reason, said the broadcaster, was that the subject matter did not correspond to the project as it was initially described. Instead of focusing on growing anti-Semitism in Europe, the film focused instead on the Middle East. The editorial offices were “deliberately left in the dark” about the changes until immediately before the film was delivered, according to Arte. Additionally, there were “concerns” related to the film’s “craftsmanship.”

Allegations and accusations without confrontation

For this reason, the station WDR, which commissioned the film with Arte, investigated the documentary’s content. In the opinion of the review team, it contains facts which are not sufficiently substantiated with supporting documentation. Furthermore, there were allegations against individuals in the film who were then not given the opportunity to comment. Allowing comment is considered standard journalistic practice. However, the documentary will be screened regardless and viewers will be able to make up their own minds about the content.

In order to allow different positions to be heard, the station has planned a discussion panel, which will air after the documentary is broadcast.

Criticism against public broadcasters

Arte and WDR’s approach to the issue has caused a stir. The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, said in a letter to the stations he was surprised that the documentary would not be screened as planned. Historians such as Michael Wolffsohn and Götz Aly praised the film. Aly even accused the Arte program director of censorship. On June 13, Germany’s largest tabloid “Bild” put the documentary online for 24 hours. According to the publication’s own data, it received around 200,000 clicks.

ld/sh/als (epd, dpa)

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Director Ali Badrakhan wins Nile Award for the Arts Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:13:52 +0000 The director received the award following voting by the Supreme Council of Culture

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Director Ali Badrakhan won Egypt’s annual Nile Award for the Arts on Sunday, after voting by the Supreme Council of Culture, reported state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram.

The Supreme Council of Culture also voted for late critic Al-Taher Mekky for the Nile Award in literature and Sabry Al-Shabrawy for the award for social sciences.

The 71 year old director is the son of late director Ahmed Badrkhan, and former husband of late actress Soaad Hosni.

Badrakhan has worked on 15 films, including Al-Hob Alazi Kan, Al-Karnak, and his divorcée’s last film Al-Ra’i Wal Nisaa.

Among artists who previously won the Nile Awards for the category of the arts are late director Youssef Shahin, actress Samiha Ayoub, late actress Magda Sabahy, cartoonist Ahmed Thabet Toughan, and for the category of literaure are Naguib Mahfouz, Anis Mansour, and Bahaa Taher.

The Nile Awards are granted in the categories of art, literature, social sciences, and technological sciences, and were formally titled the Mubarak awards, until the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak. The awards were renamed in 2011.


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Authorities stop five ancient handwritten Qurans being illegally smuggled to Egypt Mon, 19 Jun 2017 11:00:50 +0000 The copies were found in three parcels coming from Ethiopia

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An illegal attempt to smuggle an ancient rare collection of Ottoman Qurans into Egypt was prevented by the Egyptian authorities on Sunday, according to the Ministry of Antiquities’ official Facebook page.

The Customs Authority stopped three parcels coming from Ethiopia, and after examining them, five hand written copies were found alongside six handles of old swords carved from animal bones.

“The parcels included five Qurans from the Ottoman era, written in large Naskh calligraphy on old papers and covered with leather,” said Hamdi Hamam, director general of the Antiquities Unit at Cairo International Airport.

Head of the Antiquities Unit in Egyptian Ports, Ahmed El Rawi, explained in the press release that the parcels were seized in the Cargo Village at Cairo International Airport, and when the archaeological committee from the Antiquities Unit at the airport inspected the batch, they confirmed their authenticity.

Some of the copies were not organised according to the normal Quran index, but rather a grouping of the Quran’s verses. Hamam asserted that “the five seized Qurans are in a very bad conservation condition, and they are in dire need of restoration.”

A water container made of animal leather was also found with the relics inside the parcels. El Rawi said that all the artifacts are in custody until the completion of investigations.

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Film star and publicity icon Nicole Kidman turns 50 Mon, 19 Jun 2017 10:44:00 +0000 The post Film star and publicity icon Nicole Kidman turns 50 appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Oscar winner Nicole Kidman has lived through dramatic high and low points to become one of the world’s most outstanding film stars. The US-Australian actress celebrates her 50th birthday on June 20.How do you define a superstar? First of all, he or she would have to be present everywhere. Secondly, not only artistic qualities should be the reason for his or her fame and admiration. What would also be required for attaining superstar status would be a public image that goes beyond the artist’s status. Something magical or supernatural. Well, one superstar who fulfills all these requirements is certainly Nicole Kidman.

Kidman got her Oscar for playing Virginia Woolf

Born in Honolulu in 1967 and raised in Australia, the top actress is known for playing a wide range of roles. The Oscar that she received in 2002 for playing Virginia Woolf in “The Hours” gives proof of that. The fact that she got the trophy for a role in which she almost unrecognizably disappeared behind her mask in some scenes cannot be held against her.

Nicole Kidman perfectly matches modern beauty ideals. With her (dyed) blond hair, her soft, almost porcelain-like complexion, her impressive height and her radiant smile, she fulfills the expectations of mass audiences.

That’s why big fashion and cosmetics companies discovered her long time ago, and have used her face for their publicity campaigns. Kidman is undoubtedly one of the world’s most present stars – also outside show business and the film world. In some years, she was clearly at the top of the charts of the best-paid Hollywood divas. Her salary for publicity events was astronomically high.

Nicole Kidman – a red-haired star turned blond

But somehow, her pristine beauty is almost provocative. It hasn’t gone unnoticed that the actress looked quite different at the beginning of her career. Back then, she presented herself with curly red hair, a bit more chubby-cheeked and gaminesque. Her transformation into a soft-skinned porcelain type is probably not only due to age.

It can be assumed that her delicate and gracile appearance is also owed to the amazing skills of modern surgeons and dermatologists. Whether the transformation is due to surgery, botox injections or just skillful make-up remains a mystery.

Eight-point lift for Kidman?

Speculations about beauty operations of the stars tend to abound in the tabloids and on the Internet. Germany’s major tabloid, the daily “Bild,” has been particularly eager to find out more about the Kidman case. The paper asked German plastic surgeon Dr. Nikolaus Raab what could possibly have caused the recent conspicuous changes in Kidman’s looks.

In Dr. Raab’s view, Kidman underwent a so-called “eight-point facelift with higly potent hyaluronic acid that was injected into her skin with different degrees of viscosity and in different depths at different spots on her face.” The beauty doc furthered explained that “this type of lifting spans the face like a tent adding more vitality to very slender faces.” Whether or not those “Bild” revelations are true or not – one should congratulate Kidman on her choice of doctors and beauty staff. After all, there are quite a few Hollywood stars who were less lucky with their desperate beautification efforts.

Kidman received the “Golden Raspberry”

It’s quite likely that the Australian actress, after years of rather moderate success, struggled hard to make a comeback. After all, she got a “Golden Raspberry” as one part of the year’s worst screen couple after starring opposite Will Ferrell in “Bewitched.” Another horrendous Raspberry nomination followed suit in 2017 for her performance in “Just go with it.”

But Kidman is a true artist. It’s hard to top someone who received an Oscar in 2003 only to be punished by a Golden Raspberry two years later. Besides, she also got an Oscar nomination for the film “Rabbit Hole.” Light and shadow seem to be particularly close when it comes to this actress.

Nicole Kidman – “Hot as a volcano, but amiable”

“In her best performances, defensive and offensive streaks seem to balance out, amiability and creepy tremors from inside, the heat of a volcano searching its way out” – that’s how German film critic Thomas Koebner described Kidman a few years ago – and he hit the nail on the head.

Nicole Kidman, back then dubbed “the red bitch” by Koebner, has long distanced herself from her beginnings as a red-haired upcomer in Australian TV series. By now, she seems to have developed a totally different personality – which hasn’t always brought her success, such as her performances as Grace Kelly in “Grace of Monaco” and as an Africa traveler in Werner Herzog’s awkward film “Queen of the Desert” have shown.

Nicole Kidman at the Cannes Film Festival

At the same time, Nicole Kidman delivered brilliant performances in “Birth,” “The Paperboy,” “Stoker” and “Lion.” In these films, she gave proof of her versatility and her charisma. With four new films that she presented at the Cannes Film Festival, the actress that once played Grace Kelly is likely to remain at the top of the world’s best actresses also during the second half of her career.

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La Totfe’ El Shams: a classic-novel-turned-controversial-series Mon, 19 Jun 2017 10:30:19 +0000 In 1960, leading author Ihsan Abdel Quddous released his two-part-novel “La Totfe’ El Shams.” The novel is considered one of the most popular literary works that sheds light on the contradictions between the younger and older generations and the struggles of the youth at that time. In 1961, notable director Salah Abo Seif turned the …

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In 1960, leading author Ihsan Abdel Quddous released his two-part-novel “La Totfe’ El Shams.” The novel is considered one of the most popular literary works that sheds light on the contradictions between the younger and older generations and the struggles of the youth at that time. In 1961, notable director Salah Abo Seif turned the novel into a movie to highlight the political and social transformations in Egyptian society after the 23 July Revolution.

The novel presents the lives of a mother that moves with her two sons and three daughters to a new house after her husband’s death and shows the new love stories that each character engages in and how it influences their lives. The movie stars Faten Hamama, Emad Hamdy, Shokry Sarhan, Ahmed Ramzy, Laila Taher, and other superstars, and has turned into one of the most iconic movies in Egyptian cinema.

A few months ago, the well-known script writer Tamer Habib announced his intentions to turn the novel into a TV series to be broadcast during the holy month of Ramadan. This created a state of anticipation among the audiences that read the original novel or watched the old movie. The series, in which Habib tries to present a modern vision of love stories, has caused waves of criticism and controversy because  controversial content and relationships. Habib has asked people to deal with the series as a separate entity without making any comparisons to the old novel or movie.

The TV series, starring Mervat Amin, Gamila Awad, Mohammed Mamdouh, and Ahmed Malek, portrays a number of complicated relationships, especially with the women’s loves stories with their husbands. Unlike the novel and old movie, the series presents doses of betrayal, alcohol drinking, and socially unacceptable sexual relationships.

The character of Aya, the youngest daughter in the family, engages in a forbidden relationship with her married music teacher and meets him in one of the studios that he uses to record his music. When her family finds out, they decide to punish her, prevent her from pursuing her studies in the music academy, and force her to marry a rich man. Although this is not very different from what was presented in the movie, they presented her new husband, Nader, as a gay man who engages in a forbidden relationship with his best friend. After a number of confrontations with her husband and her music teacher who refuses to leave his wife, Aya decides to regain her old relationship with her friend Shady, who used to love her and had decided to travel with his band to forget her. This is different from the movie, which portrayed the love story between the student and the teacher in a more innocent way that doesn’t go beyond some passionate kissing and hugs.

On the other side, Amina Khalil played the role of Ingy in the series, a girl who dumps her boyfriend when she visits his poor village and sees his difficult living circumstances. After she decides to marry Youssef, a rich man who loves her, she moves with him to Lebanon to finish their work where she meets her husband’s partner Nadeem who falls in love with her. Ingy decides to give Nadeem a chance and feels caught between the two relationships. Although this character was mentioned in both the movie and novel, her role in the series was more pronounced and memorable as Khalil successfully transferred to the audience feelings of loss, indecision, and self-hatred more than both the film and novel did.

Khalil takes audience beyond the stereotype of a woman who betrays her loving husband, whom is always busy with work. She easily transfers to the viewers her silent confusion as she thinks of reasons she can’t love back her husband the same way he loves her, and ends up falling for his partner who is a sweet talker.

Fighting a self-ensuing battle in order to reach a satisfying decision that does not break her beloveds’ hearts, one can not help but sympathise with Ingy’s betrayal.

Walking the same line is Ahmed Malek who played the role of Adam. He is one of the characters that most influenced the audience. In the movie, Ahmed Ramzy presented the character of the rebellious guy who tries to get rid of the strict rules of his family. He has a dream to start a new project that needs a large amount of capital, and when he asks his family to support him financially they refuse, and he dies in a motorcycle accident.

The series portrays the character in a completely different way. Adam, the rebellious guy, gets involved in a strange relationship with his best friend Rasha, a character that was not included in the old movie. In the first episodes of the series, he appears drinking and dancing with his friend without any sense of responsibility until he meets a woman in his faculty that changes his life. He later fakes his death to marry his colleague who comes from a lower social class.

Adam is one of the most heart-touching characters in both the series and film. The charisma of young artist Ahmed Malek replaces the captivating nature of Ramzy, who is known as the Don Juan of Egyptian cinema.

For many episodes the audience fell for the Adam’s honesty, who passionately follows his love and dreams. However, the feelings of respect changed into immaturity when he faked his death.

Rasha presents the character of a woman who freely drinks, has open sexual relationships with men, and does drugs. Despite her character in the series as a person who refuses to get into a serious relationship, in order to be not closely attached to any man, the audience is met with surprise when seeing the life of the woman, who always pretends to be heartless, appears as a caring person whose life stops after the disappearance of Adam.

Many audience members criticised the content of the series on social media since its first screening days accusing it of portraying betrayal and random sexual relationships as a normal thing, as well as the presentation of bars in many scenes. Some people also commented on the confusion between the limits of freedom and responsibility, where the thin line is not presented clearly. However, some people defended the modern treatment of the story and the dramatic needs of each one of the characters, stating that they present real characters and their existing lifestyles, although they cannot be generalised on Egyptian society and its conservative traditions.

Reham Abdel Ghafoor received high praise for her character, whose name changed from Mofeeda in the novel to Afnan in the series.

Afnan is an aggressive and strict teaching assistant in one of the universities who refuses love but accepts to get engaged to her colleague after her younger sister’s engagement.

With her sharp eyes and the clothes that look like men’s formal clothing, Abdel Ghafoor successfully presents a hateful character despite beautiful facial features.

Her sharp character, always motivated by logic not emotions, changes completely after Adam’s disappearance and decides to become closer to her family and learns how to show emotions.

Habib tends to present the good and the bad, the devil and the angel in each character, his writing manages to gain sympathy and compassion even when his characters make mistakes, which is probably one of the secrets of his continuous success that started with “Sahar El Layaly” in 2003.


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Sultan Baybar’s relics displayed in Kazakhstan Sun, 18 Jun 2017 11:30:56 +0000 Hundreds of people lined up in front of Kazakhstan’s National Museum for the first day of the exhibition displaying Mamluk era antiquities

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On Friday the Egyptian temporary antiquities exhibition, “Sultan Baybar and his era,” opened at the National Museum of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Astana. The exhibition was opened by Kazakhstan’s minister of culture and sports, Muhamediuly Arystanbek, and Egypt’s ambassador in Kazakhstan, Haitham Salah, aiming to enrich the cultural cooperation between the two countries.

For two months, visitors will have the opportunity to look at Sultan Baybar’s imperial belongings and historical markers of his achievements, which were also displayed at the Islamic museum in Cairo.

Sultan Baybars, often called “Abu El-Fottohat” (The Father of Islamic Conquests), referring to his tremendous victories, was the fourth sultan of Egypt in the Mamluk Bahri dynasty, ruling from 1260 to 1277.

The choice of Sultan Baybars for the display, out of all Egypt’s Mamluk dynasty, is due to his close ties to Kazakhstan. He was born in Kazakhstan and lived there for part of his life with his family.

The opening was attended by an official delegate from the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities—including the ministry’s head of Islamic relics, Sa’eed Helmy—and the general manager of Islamic Museums in Egypt, Mamdouh Othman.

In the opening speech, Arystanbek expressed his happiness about the exhibition, noting that this collaboration is considered one of the most important cooperation between the two countries.

The exhibition includes 22 relics; some of them belonging to Sultan Baybars, while others are just from the Islamic Mamluk era.

The pieces include a wooden box curved with ivory and ebony for holding the Qur’an, some golden coins with Sultan Baybars’ name curved on them, a maquette model for Al-Hakim Mosque, as well as a pottery glass with the sultan’s most famous emblem: the lion.

The relics also include a cooper food box that dates back to the ninth century and a piece of large white marble with a lion carved on it.

Othman assured that all the legal and protective procedures have been taken in order for the pieces to return home safely after the exhibition is over.

Arystanbek stated that the exhibition has already been met with a mass turnout, saying that hundreds of people lined up in front of the museum as the exhibition tickets were purchased since the first announcement.


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Ramadan drama: A golden opportunity for new artists Sun, 18 Jun 2017 11:00:31 +0000 Over the years, Ramadan has always been the main season for the competitive drama race. Leading actors, producers, and directors prefer to present their new artistic works to guarantee higher rates of viewership. This Ramadan witnessed an outpour of novice artists, who managed to grab the attention of a huge number of people through their …

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Over the years, Ramadan has always been the main season for the competitive drama race. Leading actors, producers, and directors prefer to present their new artistic works to guarantee higher rates of viewership. This Ramadan witnessed an outpour of novice artists, who managed to grab the attention of a huge number of people through their drama series during the holy month.

Actress Salma Abou Deif received waves of praise on social media for her outstanding role in “Halawet El Donya”, the series that shone a light on the treatment, suffering, and struggles of cancer patients.

She successfully grabbed people’s attention with her spontaneous style of acting and childish smile through the character Aliaa Al Shamaa, a woman who supports her sick sister and engages in a relationship with a widower. The series hosts several superstars including Hend Sabry, Zafer Al Abdeen, Anoshka, Ragaa El Gedawy, and Hanan Motawea. Abou Deif’s custom outfits stole the show and drew curiosity about whether or not she had a previous background in modelling and fashion.

With an innocent face, coloured eyes, and strong character in the series “La Totfe’ El Shams”, Mariam El Khost drew attention to her powerful artistic potential with the role of Shahira. The character changes the life of Mohammed Mamdouh and helps him discover his hidden talents and goals. Because El Khost worked in the field of cartoon dubbing, her face wasn’t familiar to the audience before this role. Her new character goes through transitions through the entirety of the show turning from hope, love, and ambition to feelings of betrayal and despair.

Egyptian talent was not the only breakthrough of the season. Jordanian actress Rakeen Saad played an important role in the “Wahet Al Ghoroob” series by presenting Maleeka, the rebellious Bedouin girl whose husband was killed in one of the fierce wars in Siwa Oasis and turns into an ogress. Although this was the first time for her to enter the Egyptian drama industry, as she was nominated by the leading director Kamla Abou Zekry, Saad managed to prove her talent through her spot-on pronunciation of the Egyptian accent and her expressive body language.

Asmaa Abol Yazeed was one of the new faces introduced by director Tamer Mohsen in the Haza El Masaa series. She was able to leave a distinct fingerprint with her natural face, expressive voice, and familiar facial features. Yazeed previously participated in a number of successful plays such as “A Plastic Dream”, “The Secret Recipe of Happiness”, and others, but this Ramadan was her golden chance to introduce herself to a wider audience, through the role of Toqa, a poor girl who has been blackmailed by a man who managed to steal some private photos from her mobile phone.

These actors and actresses are not the first to find their way to the heart of the audience through a Ramadan series. Two years ago, the young actress Gamila Awad managed to dominate the artistic scene with her spontaneous acting skills in the role of Hania, the 17-year-old girl who abandons her mother to live with her unemployed, drug-addict for a boyfriend. The role drew sympathy and compassion on social media and opened the door for the young actress to participate in a number of movies, such as “Hepta”, “Men 30 Sana”, and TV series like “La Totfe’ Al Shams”.




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Berlin 24/7: Berlin cross has city up in arms Sat, 17 Jun 2017 23:13:00 +0000 The post Berlin 24/7: Berlin cross has city up in arms appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

A cross planned for the top of Berlin’s new Humboldt Forum has sparked controversy. DW’s Gero Schliess says the row is not just about religious differences, but gets to the heart of the country’s identity crisis.When politicians fight over a cross, then usually it’s the one on the election ballot. But not this time.

When the Humboldt Forum opens in 2019 as a museum for world cultures housed in the newly renovated Berlin City Palace, it will be crowned with a gold cross atop its dome. And least it should be. So far, there is nothing but Berlin air on top of the building.

Voices against the cross

But that Berlin air has already caused a polarizing debate, particularly in secularized Berlin. A religious conflict is raging – and verging on the absurd.

Since the fundraising association for the City Palace announced that the planned cross had been paid for with patrons’ money, and would be placed on top of the palace dome – visible across Berlin – there has been no stopping the critics.

Berlin’s Culture Senator Klaus Lederer and his Left party have been chanting like a chorus of Pharisees à la Bach’s “St. John’s Passion”: “Away, away with it!” The cross is completely anachronistic, says Lederer, giving Berlin’s few remaining courageous Christians a kick in the shins.

Lederer’s reasoning is that the Humboldt Forum will not house a religious organization. Others, like the Berlin daily “Taz” see reactionary Prussianism being resurrected from the crypts of the House of Hohenzollern. One article reports that one of the Hohenzollern rulers derived his anti-democratic divine right from the cross to keep his rebellious citizens in check.

Neutralizing the cross

There is quite a bit of ideology on the table – and the absurd fear that, with this very important culture project, Germany could define itself as a country with Christian roots. But, in fact, we are – and that’s a good thing!

That’s why I’m surprised at how lenient and unsure the “other” side has reacted. They have not said a bad word about Lederer or the Left party. Brotherly love all around – or is it cowardice in the face of the enemy?

Germany’s Culture Minister Monika Grütters sees goodness and compassion in the cross and doesn’t want to do without it. That led the founders of the Humboldt Forum, Neil McGregor, Hermann Parzinger and Horst Bredekamp to claim that the cross could represent anything but the cross of Christ.

Berlin 24/7: How Berlin could show more compassion

What? So the cross is no longer a cross? Well, it is, say the three from the Humboldt Forum. It was part of the City Palace’s original construction and can’t just be erased, they add. But then the trio of directors make the Babylonian chaos complete with a suggestion that negates that very cross.

The word “Doubt” should be written in large letters adjacent to the cross. “Doubt,” in fact, exists already as an installation by artist Lars O. Ramberg, which was built for the East German Palace of the Republic but packed away after the communist structure was torn down.

Who is Germany?

Excuse me! This amount of absurdity seems to only be possible in Germany. Look at the planned German unity monument, which was intended to remember the peaceful revolution in 1989 and the subsequent reunification of the country but has been met with mockery and scorn.

Let’s be honest. It was crazy to begin with to dig the City Palace out of the bowels of history and reinstate it as an ethnological museum.

Baroque façade on the outside, the cultures of the world on the inside. Who would force these elements together but for cultural experts and museum directors?

Berlin 24/7: Swabians have not conquered Berlin after all

One thing is clear: The battle over the cross is about more. It’s about me, about us, and about who we are and how we in Germany want to live together.

The refugee crisis tore Germany’s unanswered questions of identity wide open. It’s true: Islam is part of Germany. But so is Christianity, as well as Judaism. Above all, though, we are not neutral.

Cross without doubts

There is still time to express a clear opinion before the Humboldt Forum is mutated into a madhouse of crazy ideas. A jester’s hat atop the dome might be more suited than a cross.

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‘Cultural sovereign’ Helmut Kohl built an unlikely legacy Sat, 17 Jun 2017 13:48:00 +0000 The post ‘Cultural sovereign’ Helmut Kohl built an unlikely legacy appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Helmut Kohl initiated a large number of national artistic institutions that changed Germany’s cultural landscape. The government’s art expenditures trebled under Kohl’s 1982-1998 tenure as chancellor.At the start of his chancellorship, Helmut Kohl was the target of much scorn and malice and frequently criticized for his “provincialism.” The appraisal had improved by the time Kohl’s 16-year reign ended in 1998. The Süddeutsche Zeitung, for example, published a piece titled “His Cultural Sovereign, the Chancellor,” which seemed to blend irony with genuine respect for the fact that the government’s art expenditures had trebled under Kohl’s tenure.

Kohl, a historian, had learned during his studies that culture and history are indivisible. This shaped his politics. “For him, culture is the sum of a meaning-oriented and value-oriented lifestyle, the orientation of a people, including its history and its habitat,” Wolfgang Bergsdorf, the political scientist and former Kohl adviser, wrote in an essay for the Konrad Adenauer foundation.

Germany’s constitution delegates cultural policy to the states. As the state premier of Rhineland-Palatinate from 1969 to 1976, however, Kohl initially appeared to have barely skimmed his cultural-political responsibilities.

“Traditionally rooted and determined by the past, Kohl’s image of culture was very simple, but he was always ready to talk,” said the journalist and political scientist Norbert Seitz, whose book “Die Kanzler und die Künste” (The Chancellors and the Arts) explores German leaders’ difficult relationship with questions of culture.

By the end of his time as state premier Kohl’s government had expanded support for artists and promoted the legacies of the painter Max Slevogt and the writer Carl Zuckmayer, who both came from Rhineland-Palatinate. Kohl even hired Marc Chagall to design the windows of the St. Stephen’s Church in Mainz. He also had a hand in the repurposing of the decaying Rolandseck train station in Remagen and its preservation as a compound of artist studios. Hambach Castle, a symbol of the German movement for democracy, was also restored on Kohl’s initiative.

Builders of the nation

After becoming chancellor in 1982, Kohl raised the stakes for culture. He declared the construction of an art and exhibition hall in Bonn as part of his government’s program. He announced the construction of the German Historical Museum (DHM) in Berlin. A museum of contemporary history was to be built in Bonn. Kohl said he did not want to “impose any official aesthetics or historiography.”

“Kohl acknowledged the need for a separate cultural-political role for the federal government,” said Christoph Stölzl, the historian, cultural manager and former director-general of the DHM. In fact, the federal government’s budget for such pursuits rose from 346 million deutschmarks in 1982 to more than 1.3 billion (the equivalent 660 million euros) by 1997. Stölzl’s DHM was originally to be erected at the Berlin Wall, but then, in 1989, that wall fell.

After reunification in 1990, Kohl successfully prevented the abrupt collapse of cultural institutions in the former states of the German Democratic Republic by allocating the equivalent of about 1.5 billion euros to an asset maintenance program, infrastructure and a memorial protection initiative between 1991 and 1993. This “transitional financing of culture” preserved orchestras, theaters and museums. It was the basis for the rescue of countless historical buildings. Kohl personally made a strong contribution to the reconstruction of Dresden’s Frauenkirche. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was conceived under Kohl, as was the new chancellery building on the Spree in Berlin, which opened after his term in 2001. Designed in the 1990s by Axel Schultes and Charlotte Frank, the chancellery was soon known colloquially as the “elefantenklo” (elephant toilet) or “Kohlosseum”.

Despite all his enthusiasm for culture, Kohl could not pretend to like a Reichstag wrapped by the Bulgarian-American artist Christo in the summer of 1995. He considered the work simply “one of the biggest stupidities we Germans can afford.”

A portrait of Helmut Kohl has long hung in the chancellery in Berlin. It was painted by the Leipzig artist Albrecht Gehse, a student of Bernhard Heisig. Kohl paid for it himself. The picture shows, as the former museum man Stölzl once put it, the “head of a craftsman who is at the same time an intellectual.”

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Berlin exhibition showcases US art in time of transatlantic turmoil Fri, 16 Jun 2017 10:41:00 +0000 The post Berlin exhibition showcases US art in time of transatlantic turmoil appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper and other US abstract expressionists are on show at Berlin’s Barberini Museum. Despite current political tensions, the exhibition creates an artistic transatlantic bridge.When Donald Trump was inaugurated in Washington, DC this January, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spent the evening browsing Impressionist paintings at the newly opened Barberini Museum in Potsdam, just outside of Berlin.

The image of the chancellor facing a colorful Monet was lapped up by the press, and seen by many as a willful show of disinterest in the goings-on in Washington.

The museum’s next exhibition will further put the spotlight on the US capital, albeit in a very different manner. Opening on June 17 and on display until October 3, the museum will present 68 works in a show titled “From Hopper to Rothko: America’s Road to Modern Art.” The pieces are on loan from the Phillips Collection, a private museum in Washington DC.

New artists for European visitors

Ranging from Impressionism to abstract expressionism, the works show how America’s early modern art scene came to fruition during the first half of the 20th century. This evolution culminated in the abstract expressionist movement that made New York the center of the western art world in the 1950s.

While the US public may know most of the artists, the museum’s director, Ortrud Westheider, says many of the works on show may be new to European museum-goers.

“The European public is familiar with Georgia O’Keefe, Edward Hopper and Mark Rothko. Other classics from the American Modern like Arthur Dove, Milton Avery or Richard Diebenkorn are included here to be discovered,” she said, adding that this is part of what makes it so attractive.

Collector was a Georgia O’Keeffe patron

The pieces hail from the private collection of Washington-based collector Duncan Phillips. He supported artists like Georgia O’Keeffe and Arthur Dove when they were in the early stages of their careers, a time when few knew their work might someday become part of the canon of American classics.

Born in the late 19th century, Phillips put his family fortune to good use, opening an intimate museum in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington DC in 1921. Housing over 4,000 works in styles and periods ranging from French Impressionism to Color Field paintings, the collector was an especially keen supporter of modern art in the period between the First and Second World Wars.

According to Westheider, he helped pave the way for later collections in museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, which opened in 1929, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, founded in 1931.

Phillips was a patron of a special group of prominent artists including Georgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, John Marin and Arthur Dove, who gathered at the New York City gallery of Alfred Stieglitz.

“Phillips supported them, bought their work for Washington and showed them for the first time at a museum,” said the curator.

Seminal abstract expressionist Mark Rothko had his first room in the Phillips collection. Still known as the Rothko Room, the artist saw it as a realization of his vision of creating an immersive environment for his soft, rectangular forms.

When the room opened to the public in 1960, few would have foreseen that two of his works would sell for a combined $36.5 million in a 2014 New York auction.

Spotlight on Hopper in Berlin

The work of American realist painter Edward Hopper is in the spotlight during the current exhibition. Hopper, who studied in Paris before moving to New York, often painted empty cityscapes like his work “Sunday,” which plays on themes of isolation and loneliness and uses light dramatically.

“Hopper is an artist who expresses the feelings of the modern man, independent of national borders,” says Westheider. Like many of his works that focus on a single individual, “Sunday” depicts a man sitting on the steps of a shop, leaving many questions unanswered.

“It’s not entirely clear what the situation is here. Did the man just get home from work? Is he sitting in front of his store? Why are the displays completely empty?” asks Westheider. “This openness accounts for the modernity of the work. It doesn’t specify what I’m supposed to see, but allows me to decide on my own.”

Hopper was part of a group of artists referred to as the “Ashcan school” because, writes Westheider in an essay accompanying the exhibition, “they expressed the urban reality of the street for the first time.”

‘Art transgresses time and boundaries’

In the Phillips Collection, works by European and American artists are shown side by side. Just as the European public today may gain a greater understanding of American art from this period while visiting the Barberini museum, the Phillips collection in DC was once a “pilgrimage site” for US artists looking to learn more about what their European counterparts were up to.

“During the Second World War, a time of isolation for US artists, painters like Richard Diebenkorn studied European art in the Phillips collection,” explains Westheider.

In an era where transatlantic diplomatic relations seem shakier then they have in decades, such artistic exchanges can perhaps be seen as a means to keep people connected on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Phillips believed that art transgresses time and boundaries to affect people. This is still an inspiration today, and very relevant,” says Westheider.

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100 best posters on show in Berlin Fri, 16 Jun 2017 07:51:00 +0000 The post 100 best posters on show in Berlin appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The 100 best posters produced in German-speaking countries for publicity, commercials and ads are on show at Berlin’s Kulturforum. That’s important as the poster as an art form has come under threat from social media.Since the end of the 19th century, we have encountered posters almost daily at public locations. Most of them have been hung up for promoting exhibitions, concerts, a beverage or a political party. But as digitalization rapidly continues, posters, billboards and placards are coming increasingly under threat as a means of advertizing.

Ads in social networks have proven to be more effective, more long-lived and a lot cheaper – and yet posters continue to be a popular mass medium.

Many are true works of art, some are simple, some extravagant, some abstract and some realistic. The 100 best posters of 2016 from German-speaking countries are now on show from June 16 through July 2 in the foyer of Berlin’s Kulturforum at Potsdamer Platz. In cooperation with the association “100 Beste Plakate e.V.,” the art library of Berlin’s state museums now presents the selection for the eleventh time. It was chosen by an independent jury whose composition changes annually.

Is this art form becoming extinct?

Five jury members picked the 100 winners from more than 2000 works submitted by 632 artists from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In the view of the head of the jury, Alain Le Quernec, all exemplars had an artistic quality. One needs to distinguish between advertizing and graphic design posters, he explained in an interview with the Kettler publishing house: “These are different worlds which have different values and rules.”

The French expert doesn’t rule out the possibility that advertizing, commercials and other means of communication will soon make the poster medium redundant. He refused to make any prediction for the future, however, while underlining: “This medium will continue to be around as long as young artists find it attractive, and as long as the demand continues to be there.”

Competing with tradition

Following its premiere in the German capital, the exhibition will move to the cities of Essen, Nuremberg, Lucerne, Zurich, Vienna and La Chaux-de-Fonds. On the occasion of the exhibition opening, Kettler published an almanac containing reproductions of the 100 winning exemplars. The poster competition was initiated 50 years ago in former East Germany. After reunification in 1989, it was continued across all of Germany, while Austria and Switzerland joined in 2001.

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The unseen sides of Egypt Thu, 15 Jun 2017 12:30:18 +0000 The top 10 pictures posted on Instagram by amateur photographers

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Photography has always been a form of stating reality. It’s the window through which people can look into the lives of others and the portrait that displays their daily life events.

While media portals are filled with pictures taken by famous photographers, many unknown talents use tools as simple as their mobile cameras to develop their passion for photography. Those, who haven’t found any platform on which to publish their photos, seek to establish their own outlet by publishing these pictures on their social media accounts.

In an attempt to support young talents seeking a platform, Daily News Egypt publishes pictures taken by citizens displaying their daily activities.

These pictures are the  best pictures from May posted on Instagram with the hashtag #DailyNewsEgypt. Each one of them reflects a unique side of Egypt—not mentioned in international media outlets—but that can be seen by the people actually living in the country.

Every month, the  best pictures with the hashtag #DailyNewsEgypt, will be reposted on the newspaper’s official account and published in the printed edition.

Daily News Egypt’s editorial team found that the published pictures present extremely talented young photographers. Moreover, they capture moments of pure beauty people rarely stop to enjoy amid the hurry of their daily routine.

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A tour through Luther’s Marburg Thu, 15 Jun 2017 11:32:00 +0000 The post A tour through Luther’s Marburg appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

In 1529 Martin Luther had an important appointment in the Hessian university town. He met his rival Protestant reformer Ulrich Zwingli. Visitors to the sites of the events in Marburg can take a trip into the past.Luther is said to have crossed the River Lahn at Weidenhaus Bridge in a coach, with his entire retinue. In the distance, between two hilltops, a swathe can be discerned that marks what used to be the only way from the east to Marburg.

It was 30 September, 1529. At the urgent request of Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, the reformer was to meet his rival Ulrich Zwingli. Historian and writer Christoph Becker has written a book about the town and the Protestant Reformation, including everyday anecdotes. He has been covering the anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 on behalf of the town. “We know that Luther stepped out of his coach, ” the historian says, “and local people’s eyes popped out of their heads, because Luther was the most famous man in Europe.”

Back to the past

On that September day in 1529, Luther took the steep path up to the town, over the marketplace, to a corner house on which a sign now hangs with the inscription, “Martin Luther stayed here in 1529.” Becker laughs. “You could add the words ‘for four hours’ below that.” The reformer merely changed his clothes at the inn and hurried onwards, up to the palace, where the Landgrave awaited him – as did his rival Zwingli.

Stairs lead up to the palace; half-timbered cottages nestle on the hillside. Tourists sit on the marketplace, drinking coffee in the sunshine. They speak German, English, Dutch.

In 1529 a mere 3,500 people lived in Marburg. There were pigsties in the back yards; excrement was washed into the gutters or fed to the pigs. “We want to set up a ‘stench station’ here,” says Becker, and points to a dark corner behind St. Mary’s, the Lutheran parish church. “We want to bring the 16th century to life and present Marburg as an open history book,” explains Richard Laufner, director of the town’s department of cultural affairs.

The “stench station” is part of a trip to the past to which Marburg is inviting visitors from 15-17 June, 2017, so the “stench station” is meant to convey the smells of Luther’s times. An actor will be declaiming Luther’s dinner table anecdotes, the poor will be fed, a minister will brew beer. All year long exhibitions and conferences are taking place, and a play about Luther is being performed in the state theatre.

Summit of theologians

The reformers remained in Marburg Palace until 4 October, 1529. The theological elite of the times had gathered there: Luther, who had come from Wittenberg with Philip Melanchthon, Zwingli came from Zurich and Martin Bucer from Strasbourg, Justus Jonas from Saxony, other theologians, secular confessors and military men.

Luther and Zwingli differed in a fierce dispute over the interpretation of the Eucharist: for Luther, Christ was actually present in the consecrated bread and wine; for Zwingli, bread and wine merely symbolized the body and blood of Christ. “Luther didn’t even want to come to Marburg,” says the historian Becker. “He feared he might lose.” But Landgrave Philip, a political force behind the Reformation, insisted on the meeting. “Philip was a thoroughgoing power seeker,” says Becker. “He was the second local ruler to introduce the Reformation in his realm.” And, in 1527, he had founded the world’s first Protestant university.

Proceedings at the palace were a very loud affair. Some of the opponents shared a room. The discussions in the princely residence were held in German and Latin, with an order in which speakers were given the floor, one-on-one meetings and a closing discussion. Philip forced the reformers to agree on as many points as possible, but Luther’s ego prevented a complete consensus from being reached. “He refused to give an inch,” Becker says. There was, indeed, a closing agreement with 15 articles, but differences remained on the decisive issue of the Eucharist.

Luther left Marburg on 5 October. The ultimately fruitless colloquy is renowned to this day. “It has an element of folklore about it,” says Christoph Becker. In terms of religious history, it was a decisive step towards the schism between Lutheran and Reformed Protestants.

Stefanie Walter (epd)

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How German actor Lars Eidinger’s new film unleashed a scandal in Russia Wed, 14 Jun 2017 10:33:00 +0000 The post How German actor Lars Eidinger’s new film unleashed a scandal in Russia appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The film “Matilda,” starring Lars Eidinger as the last Russian tsar, does not offend religious feelings in Russia, according to an expert’s report. DW’s Juri Rescheto talks to Eidinger in Moscow about the controversy.The Russian film “Matilda” recounts the affair between Tsar Nicholas II, played by German actor Lars Eidinger, and prima ballerina Mathilde Kschessinska (Michalina Olszanska) from St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater. However, the film’s approach has ruffled the feather’s of the country’s religious community, according to a expert commissioned by the Duma.

DW’s Russia correspondent Juri Rescheto met Lars Eidinger in Moscow to talk about the controversial film.

DW: Mr. Eidinger, “Matilda” will be released in Russian cinemas on October 6. You play the last Russian tsar in the film that has proved to be highly controversial here. What do you make of it all?

Lars Eidinger: I can honestly understand to some extent that the person I portray, Tsar Nicholas II, has been canonized and that people want to defend him. And then comes a film that highlights his affair with a ballet dancer. But I believe that these accusations are invalidated when you see the film, because you notice that the film approximates this character with great respect, and portrays something profoundly human.

Critics of the director Alexei Uchitel accuse him of employing not only a German actor to play the Russian tsar, but – and this is not coming from me but from a member of parliament – a German porn star. This is especially outrageous and offensive. How do you deal with it?

So far I haven’t been forced to deal with it. It didn’t particularly offend me either. I was, however, afraid that the film wouldn’t be released. I currently have no major reservations about the porn industry. But I also have nothing at all to do with it.

Read more: Scrotum-nailing Russian artist Pavlensky opens up about prison and new film

This film has caused a national fuxx. The Orthodox Church says its religion has been offended and, due to protections under a special law in Russia, have put pressure on the authorities. The latter called in experts to adjudicate. What do you think about this response?

I think it has a lot to do with protecting religion. It reminds me to some extent of Pussy Riot. You say, ok, protest, but please not on our altar, which is holy to us. I think this reproach must be taken seriously. I understand these people, but I hope that we can agree so that we can look each other in the eye after the film, because we certainly do not want to provoke a scandal.

Let’s talk about something positive. You are a German actor who plays a Russian tsar. What attracted you to this role?

I think it’s something very special. I knew immediately that it was an honor. Many actors would be reluctant to portray the tsar. I think that was one of the reasons why director Alexei Uchitel cast me. He knew that a German actor doesn’t have so many preconceptions about such a performance and has a freer approach.

On the other hand, I was often very lost on the set as a German who does not have a strong command of Russian, with all the Russians talking to me all the time. But Tsar Nicholas II was also someone who did not feel comfortable in his role and who was lost. I think that was a reason to cast me; you feel that this is someone who is being pushed into the wrong position.

And we made the film at a time when there were many controversies surrounding the politics of Putin and Russia in general, including the war in the Ukraine. I was glad to gather my own impressions.

And what are your impressions?

It is astonishing – perhaps because we approaches it with Western arrogance – how the Russian people, including intellectuals, stand by their president. I always try to be understanding. It’s not easy to only form my opinion based on the media, so I’m glad I had the opportunity to go there and talk with people.

But one thing that’s hard to understand is the ban on homosexuality. I have met a lot of gays and lesbians here and were are not allowed to live openly due. But I feel that Russians are coming to terms with it. They justify certain things, and, with other things, they say, sure, that’s the opinion of the president and the politics of just country, but that their lives look totally different in reality.

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‘Ai Wiewei Drifting’: China’s most famous, displaced artist Wed, 14 Jun 2017 10:02:00 +0000 The post ‘Ai Wiewei Drifting’: China’s most famous, displaced artist appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The new DW documentary accompanies artist Ai Weiwei during work on his own film. It depicts his life between Beijing, New York and Berlin, and is a very personal look at China’s most famous artist living in the West.The DW documentary “Ai Weiwei Drifting” initially aimed to showcase Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s work at Berlin’s University of the Arts, but it ended up focusing on much more. It shows China’s most famous artist in the western world as a filmmaker, architect, concept artist and sculptor, but also as a father.

Drawing on his experiences as a displaced person, and in light of the refugee catastrophe that has also overcome Europe, he himself created his own film entitled “Human Flow,” which is currently in post-production. That movie, which employed film teams in 25 different countries, including Afghanistan, Palestine and Mexico, shows the tragedy of people who flee their native countries, only to drown by the thousands in the Mediterranean Sea.

On the edge

DW filmmakers Eva Mehl and Bettina Kolb followed Ai Weiwei on that journey for 15 months to produce their 56-minute documentary. It offers a glimpse into the artist’s work at the Greek-Macedonian border in December 2015, for instance, when he interviewed, filmed and photographed refugees at a camp near the village of Idomeni.

An oppressive feeling can overcome viewers while they watch Ai take pictures with his cell phone of the refugees walking through the mud in their flip-flops or in their improvised tents, or when he looks through his camera to find the right angle on those he wants to interview.

Does art have no boundaries? This question has accompanied the artist in all of his work.

His fans see him as an agitator who masterfully pours salt on the wound with his work – such as when he drew attention to the serious deficits in the Chinese construction industry with his installation of 9,000 school backpacks representing thousands of pupils who died during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The artist pointed to the poor construction of the schools that were not able to withstand such a high-magnitude quake.

His critics, on the other hand, view him a media-hungry personality who manipulates via his supposed political statements.

Those critical voices grew louder when he re-enacted the 2015 photo of the young Syrian boy Alan Kurdi, whose corpse washed ashore on the Turkish coast. In “Ai Weiwei Drifting,” he takes a clear stance on the outrage unleashed on him, saying that no one is in the position to tell him why that was immoral.

He finds it absurd that people would get upset about his depiction, but not about the children who die on a daily basis in Aleppo. The answer to the question about art’s boundaries thus becomes apparent: “As long as artists are human beings, they must grapple with human crises,” he says.

Intimate view

In addition to the film shots looking at his work about migration and the act of fleeing, Mehl and Kolb also accompanied the artist to visit the stations of his life in Beijing, New York and Berlin. He discusses his famous poet father Ai Qing, who was persecuted during Mao’s cultural revolution.

The film looks at Ai Weiwei’s years in New York from 1981 to 1993, his incarceration in 2011, and his move to Berlin in 2015.

For the first time, the film reveals moments from his personal life: cooking in his Berlin kitchen, or watching television with his son. It shows a Beijing visit to see his mother, who is the only person in the film to talk about Ai. The filmmakers were able to capture these moments in an authentic way, such as when he admits that his son has a stronger relationship to his mother than to him. His son says he is strict and meddles into things that are not his business.

“Weiwei was an enigma to me,” said filmmaker Bettina Kolb. “I never knew what was going on in his head, but one thing was clear: His thinking is super-fast.”

Filmmaker Eva Mehl, on the other hand, was impressed by the way Ai approaches people. “He just sat down with them to spend a little time with them,” she said.

The film “Ai Weiwei Drifting” uses impressive film images to present a very personal profile of one of the world’s currently most famous artists, who says about himself: “I do not have a home country. My native country is the internet.”

“Ai Weiwei Drifting” is a 56-minute documentary film by Deutsche Welle, produced by Eva Mehl and Bettina Kolb. It premiered in Berlin on June 13 and will run on DW’s television program starting on June 24, 2017. Together with the documentary, an online special will present the life of this exceptional artist whose childhood was dominated by flight and exile.

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