Red Westerns

The New Horizons IFF in Wrocław is collaborating with the Rotterdam IFF and together with the Gothenburg IFF, Crossing Europe in Linz and Bratislava IFF it is working on a part of the Signals section at the forthcoming 40th Festival in Rotterdam. The work concerns RED WESTERNS, a review of films from Soviet Russia and the former Eastern Bloc made between 1920 and 1980, which meet the generic definition of a western. The collaboration involves the selection of films and a joint publication devoted to the review and its subject. Fifteen selected westerns will be shown in Rotterdam and at all the aforementioned festivals, including the 11th NH in Wrocław.

Western audiences will have the first opportunity to become acquainted with this branch of the history of Eastern European cinema, as it happens that the western was very popular in the countries of real socialism; it allowed intertwining a sensational plot and ideological hints in a variety of ways. The review will include Neobychainye priklyucheniya mistera Vesta v strane bolshevikov (1924), a silent era film directed by the pioneer of Soviet cinematography, director and film theorist Lev Kuleshov, and also the best film of 1966 in the USRR, Nobody Wanted to Die (Niekas nenorejo mirti) directed by Lithuanian, Vytautas Zalakevicius, and two films from East Germany, produced by DEFA with the landscapes of Mongolia, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria and Czechoslovakia as the Wild West backdrop and the main character played by Gojko Mitic - a Serb by origin: The Sons of Great Bear (Die Söhne des Großen Bärin, 1965) by Josef Mach and Chingachgook, Die Große Schlange (1967) by Richard Groschopp.

Poland will be represented by The Law and the Fist (Prawo i pięść, 1964) by the directing duo Jerzy Hoffman and Edward Skórzewski, famous for the popular "black series" of social documentaries from the 1950s. The main part was played brilliantly by Gustaw Holoubek, the music was composed by Krzysztof Komeda (the well-known ballad Nim wstanie dzień with lyrics by Agnieszka Osiecka), and the screenplay was written by Józef Hen, based on his own novel, Toast. The film is set after WWII on "regained" western lands, awaiting their pioneers and settlers. Andrzej Kenig, a former prisoner of a concentration camp, volunteers to work as the government's representative and is included in a group responsible for securing the assets of a nearby spa resort and launching the sanatorium. Soon, Kenig realises that his colleagues are actually looters, ready to do anything for wealth. He battles against them.

The complete repertoire of the 40th IFF in Rotterdam (26.01-6.02.2010) will be announced on 20 January.

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