Thursday, 17 February 2011

A German Indian from France?

In his lecture on the portrayal of Native Americans, which I wrote a post about a week ago, Kevin Gover of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian mentioned Winnetou. Winnetou is a character from a series of western novels by the German Karl May. The novels sold millions of copies, making May, who never actually went to America, one of the best selling German authors of all time. Seeing as there already is a post on German weirdness on this blog Winnetou could serve as an update.

Films were made from the 60s onwards (thus preceeding the spaghetti westerns) featuring German actors dressed up as some sort of idealised indian and of course speaking German. The films were shot in Yugoslavia with the protagonist being played by a Frenchman. Granting "the wish of millions", this misguided attempt at multiculturalism with its German speaking French stereotyped Apache is a "monumental film" of cultural awkwardness and German weirdness.


Source: 1, 2

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