J. S. Marcus’s most recent novel is The Captain’s Fire. He is currently a fellow at the Santa Maddalena Foundation, near Florence. (April 2001)

Shadows on the Danube

Last summer, the European Court of Human Rights convened a special three-man panel led by Martti Ahtisaari, Finland’s former president, and the chief negotiator of the United Nations cease-fire in Kosovo. The panel’s expressed purpose was to travel to Austria and report on the “government’s commitment to the common European …

Apocalypse Now

One of the last German films to win an international following was Wim Wenders’s 1987 fantasy Wings of Desire, about an angel, played by Bruno Ganz, who longs to be mortal; he sees everything but feels nothing. The film is remarkable for its muted black-and-white images of West Berlin, which …

Screentime for Hitler

The scene is almost familiar. The time is the Second World War, and a beautiful singer with a deep voice has come to entertain the troops; she has been quarreling with her boyfriend, a dashing air force pilot away at the front, and during her concert she will try to …