Ostern

The Ostern (Eastern) or Red Western was the Soviet Union and Iron Curtain countries' take on the Western movie.

It generally took two forms:

  1. Proper Red Westerns, set in America's 'Wild West', such as Czechoslovakia's Lemonade Joe (Limonadovy Joe, 1964), or the East-German The Sons of the Great Mother Bear (Die Söhne der großen Bärin, 1966) or The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians (Pruncul, Petrolul Si Ardelenii, Romania, 1981) involving radically different themes and genres. These were much more common in Eastern Europe, rather than the USSR itself.
  2. Easterns (Osterns), which took place usually on the steppes or Asian parts of the USSR, especially during the Russian Revolution or following Civil War. Examples of these include The Burning Miles (Ognennie Versti/Огненные вёрсты, 1957), The Bodyguard (Telokhranitel/Телохранитель, 1979), At Home among Strangers (1971), and famous Soviet film White Sun of the Desert (Beloye Solntse Pustynt/Белое солнце пустыни', 1970). While some of these are obviously influenced by Westerns, in some cases, the material can be seen as a parallel formation.

Naturally many of these contained political messages, but they can still be watched impartially as action films, comedies etc, and it is certainly true to say that American director John Ford imbued his films with controversial political messages too.

'Red Westerns' in an international context

'Red Westerns' of the first type are often compared to 'Spaghetti Westerns' (although technically these are 'Paella Westerns' being shot in Spain, rather than Italy), in that they use local scenery to double up for the American West. In particular, Yugoslavia, Mongolia and the Southern USSR were used.

'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 war without parallel, the Cold War, 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 transferrable in the way that they create a mythology out of relatively recent history, a malleable idea that translates well to different cultures. In Russia, the Ostern uses the generic calling cards of the American Western to dramatise the civil war in Central Asia in the 1920s and 30s, in which the Red Army fought to maintain their country against Islamic Turkic 'Basmachi' rebels. By substituting, 'red' for 'blue' and 'Turk' for Mexican, there are the same opportunities for a sweeping drama played out against a backdrop of wide-open spaces. The Ural Mountains can be equivalent to Monument Valley, the Volga river for the Rio Grande. Add the gun slinging ethos, horse riding, working the land, pioneers of a sort (ideological often in this case!), the bounty hunter traversing difficult terrain with outlaw in tow, railroading 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 (Pruncul, Petrolul Si Ardelenii, 1981) which dramatises the struggles of Romanian and Hungarian settlers in a new land. The Czech Lemonade Joe and the Soviet A Man from the Boulevard des Capuchines plump for pastiche or satire, making fun of the hard worn conventions of the American films. The German The Sons of the Great Mother Bear (Die Söhne der großen Bärin, 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, with some obvious Cold War overtones... it 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 Mother 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, Bulgaria, Mongolia and Czechoslovakia. The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians was a Romanian film, but featured emigrant Hungarians heavily in the storyline.


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The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians was a Romanian film, but featured emigrant Hungarians heavily in the storyline. When the eggs hatch, the newborn nymphs drop to the ground, where they burrow and start another cycle. The Sons of the Great Mother 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, Bulgaria, Mongolia and Czechoslovakia. She may do so repeatedly, until she has laid several hundred eggs. Interestingly, many of the non-Soviet examples of the genre were international co-productions akin to the Spaghetti Westerns. After mating, the female cuts slits into the bark of a twig and deposits her eggs there. it started a series of "Indian films" by the East German DEFA studios which were quite successful. Only the males have tymbals and "sing" to attract females.

The German The Sons of the Great Mother Bear (Die Söhne der großen Bärin, 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, with some obvious Cold War overtones.. When they molt, they shed their skins, and the abandonded skins can often be found left on trees, still clinging to the bark. The Czech Lemonade Joe and the Soviet A Man from the Boulevard des Capuchines plump for pastiche or satire, making fun of the hard worn conventions of the American films. On a nearby plant, they molt one last time and emerge as an adult. Red Westerns which use the actual American west as a setting include, the Romanian The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians (Pruncul, Petrolul Si Ardelenii, 1981) which dramatises the struggles of Romanian and Hungarian settlers in a new land. In the final nymphal instar, they construct an exit tunnel to the surface and emerge. Add the gun slinging ethos, horse riding, working the land, pioneers of a sort (ideological often in this case!), the bounty hunter traversing difficult terrain with outlaw in tow, railroading and taming the wild frontier and you have a generic mirror image of the American genre. The nymphs feed on root juices and have strong front legs for digging.

The Ural Mountains can be equivalent to Monument Valley, the Volga river for the Rio Grande. Most of this time, the animals spend underground as nymphs at depths ranging from about 30 cm (1 ft) up to 2.5 m (about 8½ ft). By substituting, 'red' for 'blue' and 'Turk' for Mexican, there are the same opportunities for a sweeping drama played out against a backdrop of wide-open spaces. the Magicicada goes through a 13- or even 17-year life cycle. In Russia, the Ostern uses the generic calling cards of the American Western to dramatise the civil war in Central Asia in the 1920s and 30s, in which the Red Army fought to maintain their country against Islamic Turkic 'Basmachi' rebels. Some species have much longer life cycles, e.g. Westerns have proven particularly transferrable in the way that they create a mythology out of relatively recent history, a malleable idea that translates well to different cultures. Most cicadas go through a life cycle that lasts between two to five years.

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. The fact that only males produce the cicadas' distinctive sound prompted Xenophon to remark "Blessed are the cicadas, for they have voiceless wives.". '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 war without parallel, the Cold War, and this is partially why many have never been shown in the west, at least not until after the Cold War ended. (This amazing sound has frequently inspired haiku poets in Japan to write about them.) They modulate their noise by wiggling their abdomens toward and away from the tree that they are on. In particular, Yugoslavia, Mongolia and the Southern USSR were used. Some cicadas produce sounds louder than 100 dB. 'Red Westerns' of the first type are often compared to 'Spaghetti Westerns' (although technically these are 'Paella Westerns' being shot in Spain, rather than Italy), in that they use local scenery to double up for the American West. Their "singing" is actually a kind of stridulation: they vibrate these membranes with strong muscles; their body serves as a resonance body greatly amplifying the sound.

Naturally many of these contained political messages, but they can still be watched impartially as action films, comedies etc, and it is certainly true to say that American director John Ford imbued his films with controversial political messages too. Male cicadas have loud noisemakers called "tymbals" on their sides. It generally took two forms:. Cicadas are also one of the only insects known to cool themselves by sweating. The Ostern (Eastern) or Red Western was the Soviet Union and Iron Curtain countries' take on the Western movie. Cicadas have prominent eyes set wide apart on the sides of the head, short antennae protruding between or in front of the eyes, and membranous front wings. Examples of these include The Burning Miles (Ognennie Versti/Огненные вёрсты, 1957), The Bodyguard (Telokhranitel/Телохранитель, 1979), At Home among Strangers (1971), and famous Soviet film White Sun of the Desert (Beloye Solntse Pustynt/Белое солнце пустыни', 1970). While some of these are obviously influenced by Westerns, in some cases, the material can be seen as a parallel formation. the Pomponia imperatoria from Malaysia.

Easterns (Osterns), which took place usually on the steppes or Asian parts of the USSR, especially during the Russian Revolution or following Civil War. Adult cicadas, sometimes called imagines, are usually between 2 and 5 cm (1 to 2 inches) long, although there are some tropical species that reach 15 cm (6 in), e.g. These were much more common in Eastern Europe, rather than the USSR itself. 38 species from 5 genera populate New Zealand, and all of the species are endemic to New Zealand and the surrounding islands (Norfolk Island, New Caledonia). Proper Red Westerns, set in America's 'Wild West', such as Czechoslovakia's Lemonade Joe (Limonadovy Joe, 1964), or the East-German The Sons of the Great Mother Bear (Die Söhne der großen Bärin, 1966) or The Oil, the Baby and the Transylvanians (Pruncul, Petrolul Si Ardelenii, Romania, 1981) involving radically different themes and genres. Another American species is the Apache Cicada (Diceroprocta apache). These periodical cicadas have an extremely long life cycle of 13 or 17 years and emerge in large numbers.

The best-known North-American genus is Magicicada, however. Most of the North American species are in the genus Tibicen—the annual or dog-day cicadas (named after the "Dog Days" because they emerge in late July and August). There are some 200 species in 38 genera in Australia, about 100 in the Palaearctic and exactly one species in England, the New Forest Cicada (Melampsalta montana), which is widely distributed throughout Europe, where about 2,000 species are known (some 600 in Germany alone). The largest cicadas are in the genera Pomponia and Tacua.

There are many thousands of species of cicadas. . Cicadas live in temperate to tropical climates. A cicada is any of several insects of the order Hemiptera, suborder Homoptera, with small eyes wide apart on the head and transparent well-veined wings.

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