Monitor: Cultural comment as reported in newspapers from around the world

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The Independent Culture
Museum night fever

IT IS shortly past 8pm, the fourth Lange Nacht der Museen has been on for just one hour and it has already exceeded all expectations. 160,000 visitors will have attended by the time the night is over, more than twice as many as at the third "Long Night" in February, when 75,000 were counted. At the Pergamon Museum only those who waved a ticket were let in. And even they were in their thousands.The lady from the Museum Educational Service with the little silver counting machine at the entrance can barely keep up with the people rushing past her.

- Sofia Kannenberg on the "Long Night at the Museums", Berliner Morgenpost

Day to remember

ST PETERSBURG keeps a whole calendar of memorial days related to the war and Stalin's repression: there's Victory Day, the Day of the Lifting of the Blockade and the Day of the Politically Repressed. But a group of German-Russians believe St Petersburgers need one more day to remember. (A new) exhibit marks (the) day in 1941 (when) the Soviet government signed a decree deporting hundreds of thousands of German civilians and people of other "non-reliable" nationalities to Siberia and Central Asia. Most were never seen again. "Even though Russian government has announced that we are no longer `spies' or `enemies,' we cannot consider ourselves completely rehabilitated," said Larissa Knoll, head of the Center For German Culture.

- Galina Stolyarova on "Reconciliation," a new exhibition marking the Day of Deported Nations (28 August), St Petersburg Post

Artist at work

Fascinating work has been done by a French artist, Hubert Duprat, with the larvae of the caddis fly. These small wormlike life forms are aquatic and live in slender cocoons that they build out of threads, tiny twigs and sand. Since 1983, Duprat has been giving them flecks of gold, pearl and precious stone with which to make their cocoons. In the exhibition, a continuous film shows one worm busily at work in massive close-up. The surprise (is) that they are only one-inch long.

- Alan Riding, on the show Etre Nature ("Being Nature") at The Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art in Paris, New York Times

Screen warriors

OVER the years, many films projecting army life have been made ... (but) both officers and civilians unanimously agree that the portrayal of the armed forces in films has generally been very pathetic. Admiral JG Nadkarni, former chief of Naval staff (explains): "A service officer is portrayed in two extremes. It's either a caricature - a loud-mouthed disciplinarian who whips out a gun at the slightest provocation - or he is the epitome of goodness, a paragon of virtue, who can do no wrong..." Wing Commander MD Palekar (ex-Indian Air Force) - feels that protocol and discipline are shown in poor light. So, invariably a junior officer is seen to be intimate with a senior officer's daughter or sister. (The film) Major Saab has (Ajay Devgan) the cadet showing complete irreverence and disrespect for the Major . "A first termer has no time to breathe - forget about running out to town to meet his girl friend," adds Captain SS Paranjpye, ex-Indian Navy.

- Feature on the portrayal of the armed forces in Hindi films, Express of India

Don't mean a thing

THE MASS appeal of the Swing renaissance (for simplicity's sake, neo- swing) is cresting. Khakis swing. So do legions far too young to have experienced it first-hand, people whose parents didn't listen to swing. Critics have rightly nailed neo-swing bands for sins both musical and aesthetic: historical partiality (most play jump blues; none play Miller or Basie swing, much less Ellington swing), semiotic wandering ('30s musical genre, '40s sound, '50s drinks), and lack of inventiveness . Neo-swingers protest that their music means now what it did in 1938: a return to community, optimism and positivity after grunge's drudgery and atomizing self-hate. This isn't wrong, but it's only half the story of a decade lived under war clouds and fallout.

- Jesse Berrett on the revival of 1940s Swing, Village Voice

Arabs not wanted

(THE WRITER Yaakov Shabtai's) Tel Aviv remains the only city in the West without Arabs. Even Israeli Arabs are not welcome there. Tel Aviv's image of itself as secular and free is totally false. (It) will not be an open-minded, secular city until it opens up to the Arabs, or at least until their lives are no longer disregarded. For this to happen, the debate must burst its narrow confines and go public.

- Amnon Raz-Krakotzin on Tamar Berger's historical novel, Dionysus at Dizengoff Center, which explores Tel Aviv, Ha'aretz

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