ALTERNATIVE WESTERNS

   The Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement, the American Indian movement, and other historical events of the 1960s and 1970s brought paradigmatic changes in American culture that affected every form of art and certainly every facet of the U.S. film industry. Westerns changed as well, first with the appearance of antimyth Westerns such as those of Sergio Leone and then with the development of alternative Westerns, sometimes called postmodern Westerns or revisionist Westerns, which reflect end-of-century cultural changes. Three types of alternative Westerns, according to Richard Slotkin, have appeared since the 1970s: formalist Westerns, neorealist Westerns, and cult-of-the-Indian Westerns (also called counterculture Westerns). Alternative Westerns, reflecting the postmodern consciousness, are substantial departures both stylistically and ideologically from Westerns earlier in the century. They tend to reflect end-of-century gender and race concerns and usually mix dark, grimy reality with elements of fantasy. The Quick and the Dead(1995) tells the story of a quickdraw contest, with the fastest gunfighter being a woman (Sharon Stone). The Ballad of Little Jo (1993), with close attention to historical authenticity, tells the story of a frontier woman forced to conceal her gender for decades merely to survive. Dead Man (1995), filmed in black and white, uses techniques of surrealism to tell its story. Recent Westerns are still considered “alternative” rather than mainstream because they are countering a tremendous body of cinema and a powerful cultural force of the previous century.

Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Cinema. . 2012.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • MYTHOLOGICAL HISTORICISM AND ALTERNATIVE WESTERNS —    No matter how much a director of alternative Westernsmay want to counter images, themes, and even cliches of classic Westerns, the cultural accoutrements of a century long film tradition remains. Armando Pratt refers to this fact as… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • Westerns spaghetti — Western spaghetti Le western spaghetti est un sous genre de western qui doit son nom à un sarcasme du cinéma américain quant à ses origines italiennes. Malgré cette ironie, le genre sera largement reconnu et plébiscité grâce à quelques films… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Westerns spaghettis — Western spaghetti Le western spaghetti est un sous genre de western qui doit son nom à un sarcasme du cinéma américain quant à ses origines italiennes. Malgré cette ironie, le genre sera largement reconnu et plébiscité grâce à quelques films… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • ANTIMYTH WESTERNS —    Concurrent with the 1960s’revolution of cultural values, cinema Westerns began to challenge assumptions upon which classic Westerns were based. Perhaps the most obvious result was the deterritorialization of the classic Western by Italian… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • POST-WESTERNS —    This term is often used synonymously with antimyth Westerns to refer to the films that came out in a short period of time from the 1960s and 1970s, including spaghetti Westerns. Post Westerns were clearly influenced by the popular ideas of… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • FEMINIST WESTERNS —    This term is often used loosely to refer to any Western in which women dominate, but it applies most directly to Westerns in which gender roles are reversed and the female characters play male roles and the male characters are subservient to… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • POSTMODERN WESTERNS —    This term is often used so loosely that it is not very helpful, but there are certain Westerns released since the 1990s for which the term is appropriate. Usually, postmodernism refers to the utter rejection of the grand meta narratives upon… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • FORMALIST WESTERNS —    Formalist Westerns, a type of alternative Western that began appearing after the 1970s, ultimately derive from the spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone and others. The term originates from Richard Slotkin, who identifies Clint Eastwood’s Joe… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • NEOREALIST WESTERNS —    Neorealist Westerns are a kind of alternative Westernthat began appearing after the 1970s. While paying extreme fidelity to historical reality, neorealist Westerns develop from revisionist interpretations of Western history and, thus, expose… …   Westerns in Cinema

  • MODERN WESTERNS —    These are Westerns set in the time period of the film’s production and refer back to the Western moment. Films of the classic Western period such as Giant (1956) and The Misfits (1961) exemplify the genre well. Brokeback Mountain (2005) is a… …   Westerns in Cinema

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