Gojko Mitic in Sons of the Great Bear(1966)
Gojko Mitic in Sons of the Great Bear(1966)
The Sons of Great Bear (1966)

The Melbourne Cinémathèque & ACMI present

The Sons of Great Bear

Josef Mach | East Germany | 1966 | Unclassified (15+)

This event has ended and tickets are no longer available.


Wed 13 Dec 2023

An East German “sauerkraut” western directed by a Czech communist, with Serbian actor Gojko Mitić cast in the lead role as a Lakota resistance fighter betrayed by white settlers, this is the first of DEFA’s audaciously revisionist “red westerns”. With the mountains of Montenegro standing in for the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mach turns the cowboys-and-Indians trope on its head to critique the mythology of the West, expose the lie of Manifest Destiny and offer a coded indictment of Cold War-era American imperialism.

35mm print courtesy of DEFA-Filmverleih.

Format: 35mm
Language: German and Mongolian with English subtitles
Source: DEFA Film Library
Runtime: 93 mins

Event duration

93 mins


Unclassified (15+)


Cinema 1, Level 2
ACMI, Fed Square

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Also screening on Wed 13 December

About the program

It may come as a surprise, but that most quintessentially American genre, the western, was enormously popular behind the Iron Curtain. Of course, it was seldom possible for Eastern Bloc audiences to see Hollywood films. No matter; even though socialist states deemed the Hollywood western decadent in propagating foundational frontier myths, they took to the production of westerns with great relish...

Read the full program notes
Ostern Powers- An Introduction To The Eastern European Western

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About Melbourne Cinémathèque

Australia's longest-running film society, Melbourne Cinémathèque screens significant works of international cinema in the medium they were created, the way they would have originally screened.

Melbourne Cinémathèque is self-administered, volunteer-run, not-for-profit and membership-driven. 

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