Browsing articles tagged with " Media"

Tatort: the crime scene

Berlin, May 2015

Once a week since 1970, the Germans gather in front of their tv sets to watch a mythical series: Tatort (“The crime scene”). 8.15PM on Sundays is the time to switch on the public station ARD, and enjoy with the performances of police inspectors and murderers, police(wo)men and suspects. To know the meaning of words like Leiche and Obduktion is essential to understand the plot!

Usually very good, sometimes not really, if it is 8.15PM on Sunday… it is Tatort time!

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The Pope’s revenge

Berlin, March 2015

When the sun shines on the Fernsehturm’s tiled stainless steel dome, the reflection usually appears in the form of a cross. This effect was neither predicted nor desired by the planners. Berliners immediately named the luminous cross Rache des Papstes, or “Pope’s Revenge”. For the same reasons, the structure was also called “St. Walter” (from Walter Ulbricht).

U.S. President Ronald Reagan mentioned this phenomenon in his “Tear down this wall” speech on 12 June 1987:

“Years ago, before the East Germans began rebuilding their churches, they erected a secular structure: the television tower at Alexanderplatz. Virtually ever since, the authorities have been working to correct what they view as the tower’s one major flaw: treating the glass sphere at the top with paints and chemicals of every kind. Yet even today when the sun strikes that sphere, that sphere that towers over all Berlin, the light makes the sign of the cross. There in Berlin, like the city itself, symbols of love, symbols of worship, cannot be suppressed.”
Source: Wikipedia

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The critic who survived the nazism, the communism and the capitalism

Berlin, January 14, 2013

Germany is home to names like Sebastian Vettel and Heidi Klum, popular all around the globe thanks to the media, people who do not need be introduced. This article, though, is devoted to a character unfortunatelly little known outside the boundaries of this country. We at intend to chance this circumstance.

Marcel Reich-Ranicki has lived through the hard years of European history in the 20th century. As a jewish, he could not enrol at Humboldt University, which rejected him as a student back in 1938 (in 2007 he was awarded degree of doctor honoris causa by this institution). He would later live in the Warshau Ghetto and survive his parents, who died in the gas chambers of Treblinka, and elder brother Alexander, executed in Poniatowa. Reich-Ranicki’s life, like that of many others, was modelled by the nazi madness.

In the early 1950s, Reich-Ranicki embraced literature as a reader for an important publishing house of Warshau, and started later on his career as a writer. After settling in Germany, he worked as a literary critic for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Between 1988 and 2001, he presented Das literarische Quartett on the public television. This video of the programme was a special edition, devoted to Bertolt Brecht:

At the same time admired and feared, Reich-Ranicki showed his ungovernable character during a ceremony which was being broadcast on television, back in October 2008. He was to be awarded a prize in recognition of a lifetime’s work, a prize which he rejected as soon as he stepped on the stage: he wanted to show his contempt for the bad quality of the programmes on German televisions. Amongs faces of surprise and not few nervous laughs, he was offered to take part in a special programme about this issue, which was indeed broadcast some 10 days later.

Aged 92, Reich-Ranicki is still a reference in Germany, of course in the area of literature but also as a survivor of the nazism, the communism “and the capitalism”, as he was presented a few minutes before his astonishing appearance in the 2008 ceremony. A real character, Mr. Reich-Ranicki!

Listing of authors and books comented at Das literarische Quartett:

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A tourist, yes, but well informed!

Berlin, July 23, 2012

A usual tourist does not need more information about his/her destination than the names of the places he/she considers must be visited, maybe just to take a couple photos. But others, to whom this article is devoted, long for a bit of backround on the place they will soon visit. Flight of capitals, circumcision and the so called fiscal equalization scheme are in the agenda, these days. Also the crisis in Spain, of course.

The regional government of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) did it again: 3.5 million Euros were paid to buy a CD containing information on German citizens having accounts in Swiss banks. Indeed, this is not the first time that such a purchase is done, in order to uncover flight of capitals; it also happened back in March 2010 and late 2011, when thousands of citizens were investigated.

Also a religious practice, which Jews and Muslims share, is these days a top piece of news in Germany: circumcision. According to a court in Cologne, this practice is an attack to the babies to whom it is done, who simply cannot decide by themselves whether they want to be circumcised, or not. The sentence might open the door to a possible ban of this practice in Germany, which led the president of the Conference of European Rabbis speak about “the worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust”. Now, politicians will have to decide whether the practice can continue in Germany or not.

The key of the safe

The Bavarian regional government does not want to keep paying as much money as it has been paying so far, to help the poorest regions in Germany. The so called “fiscal equialization scheme” rules in the country since 1950, and since 1993 is Bavaria the region which pays the most, considering its rate of wealth: 3,700 million Euros in 2011. Also Baden-Württemberg pays, as much as 1,800 million, exactly the same amount that Hessen, while Hamburg contributes with 60 million Euros. On the other side of the scale, Berlin gets the most: 3,000 million in 2011. Now, the government of Bavaria has decided the lay currently in force is unfair, for which reason has filed a suit: the German Constitutional Court will have to make a decision, which in any case will not happen before 2014. Watch this video if you want to know a bit more about the system (in German):

Of course, Spain and its banks are also on the German media, these days. On Thursday 19, the Bundestag decided to give the banks in Spain a maximum of 29,000 million Euros (the total amount contributed by the European Union being 100,000 million). Even now, it is not probable that Spain will disappear from the paper covers, from now on. Unfortunatelly.

Germany on the screen

Berlin, April 9, 2012

If you were asked what German tv series have been broadcast in your country, you could probably give only a few answers. Maybe someone, going through his memory, would think of Heimat (Heimat – Eine deutsche Chronik), a big success in the mid-eighties. Later on, a second and a third part would be filmed (in the nineties and in 2004, respectively). In those years, The Black Forest Clinic (Die Schwarzwaldklinik) was also a pretty popular series.

In the past decade, many more German productions than before have reached international success: series like Berlín, Berlín helped with no doubt make the capital city more popular than it already is. Or Turkish for beginners (Türkisch für Anfänger), that allowed the audience learn more about the cultural conflict between German and Turkish people (in this case, between the members of a very special family). Other popular shows are Alarm for Cobra 11 (Alarm für Cobra 11 – Die Autobahnpolizei), first showed in the private RTL back in 1996, and Medicopter 117 (Medicopter 117 – Jedes Leben zählt), a German production shot in Austria.

The list continues with series like Inspector Wolff (Wolffs Revier), Lasko (Lasko, die Faust Gottes), Notruf Hafenkante and Inspector Brunetti (Donna Leon), yes, German despite being filmed in Venice. And many others, listed in this article on Wikipedia.

Also the children have had their opportunity to watch German products. In the late seventies, early eighties, The adventures of Maya the Bee (Die Biene Maja) caught every kid’s eye, but her success would not be bigger than that of another German production, “Vicky the Viking”, a brave child of Flake who saw himself constantly pushed to saving his dad’s bacon!

Series for all tastes are exported from Germany, especially in these past few years. Click on the following titles if you wish to watch a trailer!Heimat“, “The Black Forest Clinic“, “Berlin, Berlin“, “Turkish for beginners“, “Alarm for Cobra 11“, “Medicopter 117(episode in German),Inspector Wolff“, “Lasko“, “Notruf Hafenkante(episode in German) andInspector Brunetti(episode in German).

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