Upsala Nya Tidning - Sweden | 23/02/2015

Handbag-wielding woman a role model for Sweden

Eva Johansson, town councillor for culture in the southern Swedish town of Växjö, has rejected plans for a sculpture of a woman swinging a handbag that was to be set up in the town centre. She justified the decision saying that the work sanctioned the use of violence by dissenters because it was based on a famous photo of an older woman hitting a neo-Nazi demonstrator. In protest against the decision handbags have been hung on several other monuments across Sweden. The liberal daily Upsala Nya Tidning also disagrees with Johansson's decision: "Who is favouring violence here? Has anyone ever died after being hit on the head with a handbag? ... Art can be an unexpected, ambiguous and provocative commentary on a reality that is difficult to describe in other ways. And the fact that inventive citizens are now decorating statues with handbags can be seen as an unexpected commentary on a reality that indeed seems absurd. ... Does Eva Johansson really believe that those who hung the handbags on the statues sanction violence against dissenters?" (23/02/2015)

Gazeta Wyborcza - Poland | 23/02/2015

Historic Oscar for Polish film

The film Ida by Polish director Paweł Pawlikowski won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film on Sunday night, the first Polish film to win the award. A historic - and unexpected - event for Poland, Łukasz Dzięcioł of Opus Film, the company that produced the film, writes in delight in the liberal daily Gazeta Wyborcza: "A major chapter in the history of Polish film has been written before our eyes. But could anyone really have expected this? All we knew was that right from the start, Ida was among the favourites. But that group also included five other fantastic flicks. And right up until the end, the [Russian] film Leviathan was the favourite - not the least because it was so successful at the Golden Globe Awards [2014]. But in the end Paweł's extraordinary film impressed the Academy the most. All lovers of Polish cinema have reason to celebrate today." (23/02/2015)

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