We all know what a Western is. We’ve probably seen countless American Westerns, know about the Italian Spaghetti Westerns and might even be familiar with the Gazpacho Westerns from Spain. But Red Westerns, Easterns, or...展开Sauerkraut Westerns are mostly less known – or even unknown. And that’s a pity. This special programme is your chance to see some of the films that officially carry one of these banners. We decided to put them all under one common umbrella: Red Westerns.
If one starts looking in academic literature for these terms, one can find some simple explanations: ‘Red Westerns’ are Westerns made during Soviet times; they form the communist answer to the American Western – a ‘decadent’ genre that was perceived as the embodiment of ruthless capitalism. ‘Easterns’ are Westerns made in Eastern Europe, and ‘Sauerkraut Westerns’ are Westerns made in the former GDR (German Democratic Republic). Needless to say, all of them were politically tinted and their makers were actually forced by the communist authorities to employ the ‘right’ heroes and enemies. Their main goal was to attract and amuse large audiences by using the generic conventions of action and Western films.
The Soviet Red Westerns were enormously popular in their own region and gained millions of viewers, especially in the 1960s and 1970s. But the genre also crossed the Soviet borders and re-emerged in its specific version in the various countries of Eastern Europe.