Ostern
Overview
 
"Ostern" is also an alternative spelling of Ostara and German for Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...


The Ostern (Eastern) or Red Western (also known as "Borscht Western") was the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 countries' take on the Western
Western (genre)
The Western is a genre of various visual arts, such as film, television, radio, literature, painting and others. Westerns are devoted to telling stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the American Old West, hence the name. Some Westerns are set as early as the Battle of...

.

It generally took two forms:
  1. Proper Red Westerns, set in America's 'Wild West', such as Lemonade Joe
    Lemonade Joe
    Lemonade Joe , is a 1964 Czechoslovak comedy film, directed by Oldřich Lipský and written by Jiří Brdečka, based on his own novel and theatre play. The film, a parody of old-time westerns, became a cult classic in Czechoslovakia, and apparently Henry Fonda was amongst its foreign admirers...

    (Czechoslovakia
    Czechoslovakia
    Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

    , 1964), or the East-German The Sons of the Great Bear (1966) or The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians
    The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians
    The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians is a Romanian Red Western directed by Dan Piţa.It dramatises the struggles of Romanian and Hungarian settlers in a new land, the American frontier. Despite the American setting, including such minor details as use of the phrase "Bad-lands", it was entirely...

    (Romania
    Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

    , 1981), or A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines (USSR, 1987), involving radically different themes and genres.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
"Ostern" is also an alternative spelling of Ostara and German for Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...


The Ostern (Eastern) or Red Western (also known as "Borscht Western") was the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 countries' take on the Western
Western (genre)
The Western is a genre of various visual arts, such as film, television, radio, literature, painting and others. Westerns are devoted to telling stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the American Old West, hence the name. Some Westerns are set as early as the Battle of...

.

It generally took two forms:
  1. Proper Red Westerns, set in America's 'Wild West', such as Lemonade Joe
    Lemonade Joe
    Lemonade Joe , is a 1964 Czechoslovak comedy film, directed by Oldřich Lipský and written by Jiří Brdečka, based on his own novel and theatre play. The film, a parody of old-time westerns, became a cult classic in Czechoslovakia, and apparently Henry Fonda was amongst its foreign admirers...

    (Czechoslovakia
    Czechoslovakia
    Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

    , 1964), or the East-German The Sons of the Great Bear (1966) or The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians
    The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians
    The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians is a Romanian Red Western directed by Dan Piţa.It dramatises the struggles of Romanian and Hungarian settlers in a new land, the American frontier. Despite the American setting, including such minor details as use of the phrase "Bad-lands", it was entirely...

    (Romania
    Romania
    Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

    , 1981), or A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines (USSR, 1987), involving radically different themes and genres. These were much more common in Eastern Europe, rather than the USSR itself.
  2. Easterns (Osterns), set usually on the steppe
    Steppe
    In physical geography, steppe is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes...

    s or Asian parts of the USSR, especially during the Russian Revolution
    Russian Revolution of 1917
    The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

     or the following Civil War
    Russian Civil War
    The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

    . Examples of these include Dauria (1971), The Burning Miles (1957), The Bodyguard (1979), At Home among Strangers
    At Home Among Strangers
    At Home among Strangers is a 1974 Soviet film starring Yuri Bogatyryov and Anatoly Solonitsyn and directed by Nikita Mikhalkov. Some hail it as the most significant of osterns...

    (1971), The Sixth
    The Sixth
    The Sixth is a 1981 Soviet film directed by Samvel Gasparov at Gorky Film Studio.-Plot:The Sixth is a parable about lawlessness and bureaucracy in the aftermath of the Great October Revolution...

    (1981), and the famous Soviet film White Sun of the Desert
    White Sun of the Desert
    White Sun of the Desert , a classic 'Eastern' or Ostern film of the Soviet Union.The film is one of the most popular Russian films of all time. Its blend of action, comedy, music and drama has made it wildly successful and it has since achieved the status of a cult film in Soviet and Russian...

    (1969). While some of these are obviously influenced by Westerns, in some cases, the material can be seen as a parallel formation.


Many of these films contained political messages, but they can still be watched as action films, comedies etc.

Red Westerns in an international context

Red Westerns of the first type are often compared to Spaghetti Western
Spaghetti Western
Spaghetti Western, also known as Italo-Western, is a nickname for a broad sub-genre of Western films that emerged in the mid-1960s in the wake of Sergio Leone's unique and much copied film-making style and international box-office success, so named by American critics because most were produced and...

s, in that they use local scenery to double up for the American West. In particular, Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

, Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

 and the Southern USSR were used. Some of the East German made films were called Sauerkraut Westerns.

'Red Westerns' provide a counterpoint to familiar mythologies and conventions of the original genre, particularly as the makers were on the other side of a propaganda
Propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 war without parallel, the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, and this is partially why many have never been shown in the west, at least not until after the Cold War ended. In a war in which many fabrications were made on both sides, there was often a lingering fascination with the cultural developments in enemy countries.
Westerns have proven particularly transferable in the way that they create a mythology out of relatively recent history, a malleable idea that translates well to different cultures. In Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, the Ostern uses the generic calling cards of the American Western to dramatise the Civil War in Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 in the 1920s and 30s, in which the Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

 fought against Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 'Basmachi' rebels. By substituting, 'red' for 'blue' and 'Turk' for Mexican
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 or Indian
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

, there are the same opportunities for a sweeping drama played out against a backdrop of wide-open spaces. The Ural Mountains
Ural Mountains
The Ural Mountains , or simply the Urals, are a mountain range that runs approximately from north to south through western Russia, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and northwestern Kazakhstan. Their eastern side is usually considered the natural boundary between Europe and Asia...

 can be equivalent to Monument Valley
Monument Valley
Monument Valley is a region of the Colorado Plateau characterized by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes, the largest reaching above the valley floor. It is located on the northern border of Arizona with southern Utah , near the Four Corners area...

, the Volga River
Volga River
The Volga is the largest river in Europe in terms of length, discharge, and watershed. It flows through central Russia, and is widely viewed as the national river of Russia. Out of the twenty largest cities of Russia, eleven, including the capital Moscow, are situated in the Volga's drainage...

 for the Rio Grande
Rio Grande
The Rio Grande is a river that flows from southwestern Colorado in the United States to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way it forms part of the Mexico – United States border. Its length varies as its course changes...

. Add the gun slinging ethos, horse riding, working the land, pioneers of a sort (ideological often in this case), the bounty hunter
Bounty hunter
A bounty hunter captures fugitives for a monetary reward . Other names, mainly used in the United States, include bail enforcement agent and fugitive recovery agent.-Laws in the U.S.:...

 traversing difficult terrain with outlaw
Outlaw
In historical legal systems, an outlaw is declared as outside the protection of the law. In pre-modern societies, this takes the burden of active prosecution of a criminal from the authorities. Instead, the criminal is withdrawn all legal protection, so that anyone is legally empowered to persecute...

 in tow, railroading
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

 and taming the wild frontier and you have a generic mirror image of the American genre.

Red Westerns which use the actual American west as a setting include, the Romanian The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians
The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians
The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians is a Romanian Red Western directed by Dan Piţa.It dramatises the struggles of Romanian and Hungarian settlers in a new land, the American frontier. Despite the American setting, including such minor details as use of the phrase "Bad-lands", it was entirely...

(1981) which dramatises the struggles of Romanian and Hungarian settlers in a new land
American Old West
The American Old West, or the Wild West, comprises the history, geography, people, lore, and cultural expression of life in the Western United States, most often referring to the latter half of the 19th century, between the American Civil War and the end of the century...

. The Czech Lemonade Joe
Lemonade Joe
Lemonade Joe , is a 1964 Czechoslovak comedy film, directed by Oldřich Lipský and written by Jiří Brdečka, based on his own novel and theatre play. The film, a parody of old-time westerns, became a cult classic in Czechoslovakia, and apparently Henry Fonda was amongst its foreign admirers...

and the Soviet A Man from the Boulevard des Capucines plump for pastiche or satire
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

, making fun of the hard worn conventions of the American films. The German The Sons of the Great Bear (1966) turned the traditional American "Cowboy and Indian" conventions on their head, casting the Native Americans as the heroes and the American Army as the villains - this was well within the established tradition of Karl May
Karl May
Karl Friedrich May was a popular German writer, noted mainly for adventure novels set in the American Old West, and similar books set in the Orient and Middle East . In addition, he wrote stories set in his native Germany, in China and in South America...

's highly successful German Western novels, but had some obvious Cold War overtones. The film started a series of "Indian films" by the East German DEFA studios which were quite successful.

Interestingly, many of the non-Soviet examples of the genre were international co-productions akin to the Spaghetti Westerns. The Sons of the Great Bear for example was a co-production between East Germany and Czechoslovakia, starring a Yugoslav, scripted in German, and shot in a number of different Eastern Bloc countries and used a variety of locations including Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

, Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

 and Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

. The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians
The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians
The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians is a Romanian Red Western directed by Dan Piţa.It dramatises the struggles of Romanian and Hungarian settlers in a new land, the American frontier. Despite the American setting, including such minor details as use of the phrase "Bad-lands", it was entirely...

was a Romanian film, but featured emigrant Hungarians heavily in the storyline.

The Ostern and the Revisionist Western

There is some divergence between the true Red Western and the true Eastern in their portrayal of certain subject matter.

Proper Red Westerns share some features in common with the general Revisionist Western
Revisionist Western
The Revisionist Western, Modern Western or Anti-Western traces to the mid 1960s and early 1970s as a sub-genre of the Western movie....

, notably, a more sympathetic portrayal of working people, native Americans, and Mexicans. In the true Red Western more focus was put on the lawlessness of the time period, favoring realism
Realism (arts)
Realism in the visual arts and literature refers to the general attempt to depict subjects "in accordance with secular, empirical rules", as they are considered to exist in third person objective reality, without embellishment or interpretation...

 over romanticism
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

.

With the true "Ostern" ("Eastern"), some of these tendencies may be reversed, particularly in reference to Soviet history and particularly in the context of the Russian Civil War and Basmachi rebellion. Sympathy for the working class is obviously paramount, but it is also common to romanticise and stereotype non-Russian characters. Thus, Osterns often cast Russian or Jewish actors in prominent "ethnic" parts. Spartak Mishulin
Spartak Mishulin
Spartak Vasilyevich Mishulin was a Soviet actor and People's Artist of USSR. He was best known for his role as Sayid in White Sun of the Desert .-External links:...

, who plays Sayid in White Sun of the Desert
White Sun of the Desert
White Sun of the Desert , a classic 'Eastern' or Ostern film of the Soviet Union.The film is one of the most popular Russian films of all time. Its blend of action, comedy, music and drama has made it wildly successful and it has since achieved the status of a cult film in Soviet and Russian...

, and Konstantin Raikin
Konstantin Raikin
Konstantin Arkadyevich Raikin is a Russian film and theater actor, director of the Moscow Satyricon theater...

, who plays Kayum in At Home among Strangers
At Home Among Strangers
At Home among Strangers is a 1974 Soviet film starring Yuri Bogatyryov and Anatoly Solonitsyn and directed by Nikita Mikhalkov. Some hail it as the most significant of osterns...

, are just some examples of this (compare Eli Wallach
Eli Wallach
Eli Herschel Wallach is an American film, television and stage actor, who gained fame in the late 1950s. For his performance in Baby Doll he won a BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer and a Golden Globe nomination. One of his most famous roles is that of Tuco in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly...

 in The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly). At Home among Strangers, for example, whilst critically acclaimed, has a very one-sided view of its period, which was partly due to political pressure.

What they both share with the revisionist Western, includes a disdain for the business class (cf Once Upon a Time in the West
Once Upon a Time in the West
Once Upon a Time in the West is a 1968 Italian epic spaghetti western film directed by Sergio Leone for Paramount Pictures. It stars Henry Fonda cast against type as the villain, Charles Bronson as his nemesis, Jason Robards as a bandit, and Claudia Cardinale as a newly widowed homesteader with a...

and its critique of the rail builders), organised religion and Christianity and the so called "American Dream
American Dream
The American Dream is a national ethos of the United States in which freedom includes a promise of the possibility of prosperity and success. In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each...

" and its related ethic.

There is also some common ground with the Zapata Western genre, which is often related to the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

, notably A Fistful of Dynamite
A Fistful of Dynamite
Duck, You Sucker! , also known as A Fistful of Dynamite and Once Upon a Time… the Revolution, is a 1971 Zapata Western film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Rod Steiger and James Coburn....

which is a serious, non-romanticized look at revolution.

In Dauria (1971), Siberian Cossacks
Siberian Cossacks
Siberian Cossacks were Cossacks who settled in the Siberian region of Russia from the end of the 16th century, following the Yermak Timofeyevich's conquest of Siberia. In early Siberia practically the whole Russian population, especially the serving-men were called Cossacks, but only in the loose...

 are acting like American cowboys: horseriding, fighting, shooting, and even robbing a bank.

Influence

A number of films from the former Eastern bloc, while not falling neatly into the genre, are partly influenced by it. Siberiade
Siberiade
Siberiade is a 1979 epic Soviet film in four parts, spanning much of the 20th century. The leading roles were played by the celebrated Soviet actors Nikita Mikhalkov and Lyudmila Gurchenko...

by Andrei Konchalovsky
Andrei Konchalovsky
Andrei Mikhalkov-Konchalovsky is a Soviet-American and Russian film director, film producer and screenwriter....

, the isolated Siberian frontier town, which becomes irrevocably changed thanks to the discovery of oil, bears a resemblance to Western family epics.

Gibanica westerns

"Gibanica western" was a short-lived term for the Yugoslav equivalent of the Ostern, more commonly known as partisan film and, sometimes, the Partisan western. They were made in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, and were about the partisans in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. At that point, Yugoslavia had broken away from the Soviets.

Goulash Westerns

The Goulash Westerns are the Easterns of Hungarian director György Szomjas
György Szomjas
György Szomjas is a Hungarian film director and screenwriter. He has directed over 25 films since 1965. His 1983 film Tight Quarters was entered into the 34th Berlin International Film Festival...

. He directed two films (The Wind Blows Under Your Feet and Wrong-Doers) in the 1970s
1970s
File:1970s decade montage.png|From left, clockwise: US President Richard Nixon doing the V for Victory sign after his resignation from office after the Watergate scandal in 1974; Refugees aboard a US naval boat after the Fall of Saigon, leading to the end of the Vietnam War in 1975; The 1973 oil...

.

See also

  • Zapata Westerns
    Zapata Westerns
    Zapata Westerns is a nickname given to a subgenre of Italian "Spaghetti Westerns", dating largely from the mid 1960s to early 1970s, which were set in and around Mexico and dealt with overtly political themes. They were named after Emiliano Zapata, the famous Mexican revolutionary from the Mexican...

    , a political subgenre of "spaghetti"
  • Dean Reed
    Dean Reed
    Dean Cyril Reed was an American actor, singer and songwriter who lived a great part of his adult life in South America and then in communist East Germany.-Life and career:...

  • Vsevolod Ivanov
    Vsevolod Ivanov
    Vsevolod Vyacheslavovich Ivanov was a notable Soviet writer praised for the colourful adventure tales set in the Asiatic part of Russia during the Civil War.-Biography:...

    , Soviet writer who was a formative influence on the Ostern.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK