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CineFest 2011
8th International Festival of German Film Heritage
Hamburg: 12 - 20 November 2011

organized by CineGraph and Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv

Europe's Prairies and Cañons
Westerns between Siberia and the Atlantic

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Per qualche dollaro in più (For A Few Dollars More) (IT/DE/ES, Sergio Leone)
Source: Deutsches Filminstitut - DIF, Frankfurt

Film-Europe takes a look across the ocean and over the horizon: As the "flickers" invaded the penny-arcades, the “Wild West” was coming to an end in America. In cinemas, the myths and legends survived and expanded on the big screen. The “Western” quickly evolved into a popular film genre and found enthusiastic audiences all over the world. Stories about the adventures of cowboys, Indians and settlers inspired European directors to create their own re-interpretations, starting a Wild West stampede into new frontiers of the Old World, fighting and shooting its way from the Ural to the Atlantic and from Finland to Sicily.

Cinefest 2011 looks into European filmmakers’ interest and creativity in many facets of the most American of all genres, the Euro-Western: In the silent era, “Texas-Fred” and “Bull Arizona” were the heroes of Bavarian Westerns, while the French Camargue served as a backdrop for the adventures of “Bornéo Bill” and “Jim Crow”.

Even during the Nazi era, adventurers like Hans Albers  (Wasser für Canitoga) and Hans Söhnker (Gold in New Frisco) marked their claims in the goldrush. The civil unrest following the Russian Revolution was staged as Soviet “Easterns” (Beloe solnce pustyni 1969) while the Mexican Revolution served as a backdrop for the Finish drama Herra ja ylhäisyys (1943).

In the 1960s, Italy and both Germanys corralled the Euro-Western into the popular media. The “Reds” battled the pale-faces in East-German Indian-films that attacked racism and imperialism, while in West-German Karl May adaptations, Pierre Brice and Lex Barker displayed a close harmony between white and Indian nations. Spaghetti-Westerns directed by Sergio Leone, Corbucci und Sollima radically redefined the genre with stars like Clint Eastwood, Franco Nero and Klaus Kinski reeking havoc in bleak landscapes, partnered with Ennio Morricone's innovative musical scores.

New German Cinema directors such as Volker Vogeler, Roland Klick and Hark Bohm use the Western to revitalize the "Heimatfilm" (Jaider – der einsame Jäger), mix in elements of the gangster film (Deadlock) or stage an ethnological youth drama (Tschetan, der Indianerjunge).

The diverse creativity of European directors is exposed through a playful handling of both motifs and conventions of the genre: English comedians as prospectors in Alaska (The Frozen Limits, 1939), Romeo & Juliet on horseback in the Italian parody Il fanciullo del West (1942), and bewildered Frenchmen stumbling through Texas (Fernand cow-boy, 1956). Limonádový Joe aneb Koňská opera (1964) is a satirical Czechoslovak Western-Musical with political undertones, Čelovek s bul'vara Kapucinov (1987) a Soviet postmodern deconstruction of Wild West myths, and the British Straight to Hell (1986/87) combining punks and pistols.Documentaries such as Jan Šikls Sejdeme se v Denveru (2007) expose how the "Western" genre has influenced reality.

(film titles subject to change)

The 24th International Film History Conference will take place during the festival in Hamburg'

Parts of the film programme were also shown in Berlin, Prague, Wiesbaden, Udine/Gorizia, Vienna and Zurich

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CineGraph - Hamburgisches Centrum für Filmforschung e.V.
Schillerstr. 43, 22767 Hamburg
Tel: +49-(0)40-352194 / Fax: +49-(0)40-345864
email: info(at)

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cinefest 2018 flyer (pdf)





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