Lecture by Peter Stanković

Red Westerns: Yugoslav Partisan Films of the 1970s

Films about the struggle against the foreign occupation during the WW II (partisan films) have been made throughout the whole period of socialist Yugoslavia (1945–1989). This production has reached its zenith in the 1970s, when Yugoslavian film studios made a series of epic spectacles that have been labelled by critics as 'red westerns' or 'the red wave.' The first film of this kind, Neretva (Stipe Bulajić), has been made in 1969 and the last, Igmanski marš (Zdravko Šotra), in 1983. In the presentation, various formal and narrative elements of these films will be discussed. The argument will be that while 'red westerns' actually employ a series of film conventions taken from the western films, these are not the only ones. The content of the 'red westerns' is for example, almost exclusively expressive of the socialist values of community, solidarity and cooperation. Taking into account both of these sets of components, the conclusion will be made that the 'red westerns' are in spite of their widespread political uses ideologically quite unorthodox cinematography.

Peter Stanković works as professor at the Department of Cultural Studies, University of Ljubljana.

Lecture in English /  Free admission, no reservation possible

This lecture takes place in the framework of the lecture series "Osteuropäischer Partisanenfilm – Widerstand im Rückblick" organized by the University of Vienna and the Austrian Film Museum.