Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Eric Rohmer

Eric Rohmer, an important and influential filmmaker of the French New Wave, died on Monday at the age of 89.

The Guardian reviews Rohmer's life and career.

Monday, January 11, 2010

If only I could speak Swedish ...

The Ingmar Bergman Estate is now hiring its first Artistic Director. We are seeking someone rich on initiative, with sound judgment, cooperative skills, and a thorough knowledge of arts and culture. The Artistic Director will, in collaboration with the Bergman Estate Board, build and develop the organization according to the foundation's statutes and guidelines. The Artistic Director will be responsible
for the daily management of the Estate’s activities and their content. The Artistic Director will also be expected to initiate and develop collaborations with institutions on a national and international level. The position includes budgetary responsibilites.

The position of artistic director entails two main areas of responsibility:

• Planning and realizing the Estate's public events, such as an annual winter festival, activities for children and youth, film screenings, seminars, as well as other cultural activities
– many times in collaboration with the Ingmar Bergman Foundation and the Fårö Bergman Center Foundation.
• Evaluating applications from artists and scholars who apply for residency at the Bergman Estate, and forwarding propositions to the board for final decision. Coordinating the residencies is included in this responsibility.

• You are familiar with Ingmar Bergman’s work and well versed in the realms of film, theater, art, literature, and music.
• You will be the foundation’s public face, and must have the skills to communicate and cooperate on a regional, national, and international level. Strong language skills are an important criterion.
• You are an experienced leader, preferably with extensive work experience within art and culture.
• You have well documented administrative skills, including budgetary responsibilities, as well as capacities for analysis and comparison, and the ability to express yourself in writing.

The Artistic Director must be flexible when it comes to working hours and will be spending a significant amount of time on the beautiful island of Fårö and in the Gotland region. The position entails full-time employment for an initial two-year period, with the prospect of extension It is ready to be filled as soon as possible.
Salary is negotiable.

Send application including CV and references to:
Kerstin Brunnberg, Nordenskiöldsgatan 80,
11521 Stockholm, Sverige.
Tlf + 46 705 985 017

Friday, January 8, 2010

Interview with German Writer Judith Hermann

Over at the Goethe Institut web site there's an interview with writer Judith Hermann.

What do you expect from your next book?

Nothing. I don’t know it yet. Sometimes I ask myself whether it will be easier for me than the other books. And then I know – it won’t be easier. It will be difficult in a completely different way than Alice, than Nothing But Ghosts, than The Summerhouse, Later. It will simply have its own importance. Maybe I expect ... a certain pleasure. I look forward to my next book. I hope it will come off all right.

Read the entire interview here.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010 Best Translated Book Award

The fiction longlist for the 2010 Best Translated Book Award was announced a few days ago and includes 25 great titles, including work by Absinthe authors Ferenc Barnás and Ersi Sotiropoulos. The entire list and other great coverage can be found over at Three Percent.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Greek Poetry Now!

Greek Poetry Now! is a new web site presenting work by over a dozen Greek poets, including Dimitris Leontzakos (who appeared in Absinthe 11):

This site does not favor any particular tendency or movement, but aspires to present some of the most interesting work written in Greek language today, trying to include different and often contradictory points of view.

The poets presented in this site have been born after the year 1965 and most of them have their work published after the year 2000.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Romanian Cinema

Yesterday Monocle magazine's Monocolumn discussed Romania's film industry. Despite recent acclaim for films such as Cristian Mungiu's Four Months, Three Weeks, and Two Days, apparently all is not well:

Cinemas are closing and internet piracy is the norm for Romanian film-watchers. The national film body that disperses tax revenues to filmmakers did not fund a single production in 2009 because it is reworking its procedures following widespread complaints about corruption and nepotism.

Despite these difficulties, Romanian filmmakers continue to produce great films and several (including Corneliu Porumboiu's Police, Adjective) will appear in U.S. theatres in 2010.

Absinthe plans to screen a Romanian film this April at Oakland Community College in Farmington Hills. More on this soon.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Poets & Writers Magazine and Fiction Writers Review

If you're not yet a reader of the Fiction Writers Review there is a good reason to start now: Poets & Writers magazine is offering a special subscription rate for readers. Learn more here.

And don't miss the first installment of Jeremiah Chamberlin's series "Inside Indie Bookstores" about Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi in the current issue of Poets & Writers.

European Morosity

“Americans are so friendly. They talk to you, they smile at you,” Gaby said. It was her third day in New York. Like me she grew up in Moers, a small town on the lower Rhine. Geneva, Switzerland, is her adopted home. “Swiss people, like the Germans are not friendly to strangers. They always seem in a foul mood,” she added.
I’ve also noticed this difference between Europeans and Americans and still remember my astonishment upon my arrival in New York. White Americans physically resembled the Germans, but seemed a different species altogether. They did not walk with slumped shoulders; they did not drag their feet. They walked with a bounce in their step and held their heads high. They smiled at you. They were optimistic. I did not understand why they weren’t affected by history. Where was their Vergangenheitsbewältigung? How did they cope with the past? Why weren’t they burdened by guilt for what they had done to the Native Americans and the Blacks? Why weren’t they mourning their losses in the Vietnam War? Half of the world hated them, but they didn’t care. Unlike the Germans, they didn’t believe in guilt-ridden soul-searching.
Recently Dominique Moïsi’s book The Geopolitics of Emotion deepened my understanding of the differences between Americans and Europeans. Moïsi is the founder of the French Institute of International Affairs and a visiting professor at Harvard University. In his book, he examines the emotions that drive cultural differences and cause the divisions in the post-9/11 world. He shows how fear, humiliation, and hope are reshaping the world. For him both the U. S. and Europe are ruled by fears of the “other.” Both continents fear the loss of their national identity.
In contrast Muslims and Arabs are ruled by humiliation. They feel excluded from the economic benefits of globalization. Historical grievances and conflicts at home extend to the countries they emigrate to. This feeling of humiliation is evolving into a culture of hatred. In another part of the world China and India --with their economic might and focus on a prosperous future-- have created a culture of hope. Moïsi believes that “Chindia” will in the future come to dominate the world and that the U.S.A., with its huge debt and crumbling infrastructure, will no longer be a major player. According to Moïsi, Europe--stuck in the past and resembling a museum--won’t be able to move forward.
He sees more collective hope in the United States than in Europe and cites the election of Obama as an example. He observes that West Europeans experience more collective fear despite little real suffering. What my visitor from Geneva described as the foul mood of her fellow citizens, Moïsi calls the morosity of the continent.
His ideas are a thought-provoking and resonate with many of my own experiences. He is considered a leading authority on international affairs and I highly recommend his book:
Dominique Moïsi: The Geopolitics of Emotion, Doubleday
Price: $25.00
ISBN: 978-0-385-52376-9 (0-385-52376-9)