Germans vs. The Social Network

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The Social Network opened to rave reviews in the U.S. Apparently not so in Germany. The New Yorker's Richard Brody points out that two big German reviews of the movie reveal both a distaste for the movie itself and an impressive "depth of resentment on the part of European intellectuals that the world as they know it has been altered decisively by a young American programmer."

The two reviews are Claudius Seidl's in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and David Hugendick's in Die Zeit. Brody notes that Seidl's "astonishment at the fact of the film's existence, and the fascination it exerts, is matched by his astonishment that Facebook itself exists." He points to a section marveling at the change wrought by a "relationship status" section.

Perhaps even more telling is this bit we dug up from Seidl's review:

For that is the way of Facebook and the basis of its success: that a great big "I" is in the middle; my Facebook existence I myself have invented; I only choose who my friends are, what appears on my page is there because I want it, and when I don't want to see it, then I simply throw it out. That is what I see, when I open my Facebook--an egocentric universe in which a higher entity is simply not included.

Hugendick, on the other hand, starts out by proclaiming The Social Network "neither a film about social networks nor a suspenseful social climbing story. It is nothing but empty." Saying Zuckerberg zips through "corridors like a ghost on Duracell," he proclaims the movie, both the creation story and the lawsuit scenes, "lack[ing] in drama," and the "character study ... one-dimensional." Brody translates Hugendick's summary as "first Zuckerberg gets the dough, then the chicks who pleasure him fast in the bathroom of a bar."

But Brody's not buying it: "The critic sounds, above all, jealous," he says, "and he takes it out on the movie."

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