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Starting today and on every Monday Through January 7th, The Goethe Institut is hosting a series of films featuring Dean Reed “Rock star, cowboy and socialist: American-born singer Dean Reed captivated audiences in communist East Bloc countries”.

For the unitiated, this is why you should make a point of checking it out (ASIDE FROM THE FACT THAT THEY ARE ALL WESTERNS. IN GERMAN. INVOLVING SINGING)
: A fascinating figure all round, Dean Reed (1938-1986) was called an American rebel and a rock ‘n’ roll missionary. He was also called a traitor and a spy. Compared by many to Elvis Presley, is largely unknown in the US, perhaps because he made an unusual decision: early in his career, following a successful South American tour, he decided to stay in Argentina, where he quickly became one of the most famous performers of his time.

His South American experiences there led him to adopt Marxism and speak out against oppression and poverty.
When he was deported from Argentina in 1966, Reed settled in Communist East Germany, where he began to write and perform in films. His fame continued to grow, and in the Soviet Union and East Germany he was regarded as the “singer of the Other America.” Citizens in the Eastern Bloc, where Western music was not easily accessible, were drawn to Reed’s music and charisma, which provided emotional release and a glimpse into the world of the West.
Over the years, he played in 20 films, produced 13 records, and gave concerts in 32 countries.

By the 1980s, Reed had fallen into disfavor with many East Germans for his hypocritical lifestyle, in which he enjoyed all the benefits of being an American. In 1986, as glasnost created cracks in the Berlin Wall, Reed drowned in East Berlin, a death that was variously ascribed to the East German secret police, the KGB and the CIA. He made movies till the very (bitter) end.

This film series provides the chance to explore the endeavors of a man who marched to his own tune, no matter what.

All movies Start at 6.30 pm
and cost 6 dollars

the schedule is as follows:

Monday December 3rd : Blood Brothers
This movie takes after the American genre of Westerns, except that it emphasizes the struggles and suffering of Native Americans, according to the East German style of “Indianerfilme.” A soldier named Harmonika (Dean Reed) joins in the massacre of an Indian village. He is disgusted by the brutality toward defenseless women and children, and deserts from the army. The Indians capture him, but he gradually becomes their friend and unites with a warrior named Harter Felsen (Gojko Mitic) to rise up against the injustices of the white men.

Monday, December 10th: The Red Elvis
This documentary on the life of Dean Reed, which premiered at the 2007 Berlin Film Festival, tackles these questions and others while telling the story of his rise and fall. The film includes interviews with family members, Chilean radio DJ Chucho Fernandez, author Isabel Allende, and actor Armin Müller-Stahl.

Monday, December 17th: Sing, Cowboy, Sing
This film chronicles the story of two cowboys (Dean Reed and Václav Neckár) who earn their keep as a singing duo and with odd jobs. They find themselves constantly entangled in adventure and always fight for the good guys. (I mean, what is not to love about a singing cowboy concept? Not much, I tell you)

Monday, January 7th: Tamara
Although Dean Reed was one of the better-known East German singers, he was certainly not the only one who proved it was possible to live in the GDR as a pop idol. Tamara Danz was an icon to a whole generation of wild young things in the onetime Workers-and-Farmers-State. The female lead singer of the rock group “Silly” was loud and unorthodox – the antithesis of rock bands like the “Pudhys” that were acceptable to the regime.

PROGRAM details here: http://www.goethe.de/ins/us/was/kue/flm/en2465198.htm

In the meantime, Do your homework:

Spiegel’s “Red Suede Shoes”
NPR’s “The Man Who Rocked the Iron Curtain
or just google the man for more fascinating info than you can probably absorb in a day, or a month.