Chingachgook: The Great Snake / Chingachgook: die grosse Schlange
Richard Groschopp, GDR, 1967.
Directed by: Richard Groschopp
Script: Wolfgang Ebeling, Richard Groschopp
Production company: DEFA-Studio für Spielfilme
Cinematography: Otto Hanisch
Editing: Helga Krause
Music: Wilhelm Neef
Cast: Gojko Mitic, Rolf Römer, Lilo Grahn, Helmut Schreiber, Jürgen Frohriep
Running time: 90'
'Chingachgook: The Great Snake', a film based on the ‘politically acceptable’ novel The Deerslayer by James Fennimore Cooper, like the best Red Westerns, is in essence politically correct, or to be more precise, balanced. Situated in the period of discovery (read: conquest) of the Wild West, it depicts redskins struggling against transcontinental conquerors. In that sense, the local white folks are not such bad guys and the natives are still lofty, pristine folk in pristine land. They are innocent but not naïve and they suffer at the hands of the English and the French, but also from intertribal strife. Director Richard Groschopp dramatically points out that survival against an overbearing enemy requires firm unity and an ability to act in concert. Actually, Chingachgook: The Great Snake can be seen as a ‘manifesto’ made by the Eastern Bloc about the necessity of forming a bloc. Gojko Mitic, an athlete from Southern Serbia, enchants in this film with his freshness, elegance, steady vocal capacity, populating the dreams of both marriage-ready girls and boys facing the question, ‘Quo Vadis?’
Richard Groschopp (1906-1996, Germany) started his career as a baker and made films in his spare time. But he soon switched to cinema. During WWII, he made instruction films for manrines. After the war he was one of the first film makers at the DDR state studio DEFA. In 1967 he broke through with 'Chingachgook: The Great Snake'.
Location and screening schedule: ZAGREB DANCE CENTER, Thursday, October 20th at 18.00