The emergence and cultural development of the United States has long sparked interest and curiosity among Germans, whose conceptions of the country have evolved over time from idealized images of Native Americans as “noble savages” in an earlier era to, more recently, a fascination with its wide, open spaces and the American spirit of enterprise. In its “Picturing America” series, the Goethe-Institut presents three films on this theme, as well as a reading by award-winning German author Felicitas Hoppe, who is currently retracing the steps of Ilf and Petrov, a duo of Russian journalists who traveled around the U.S. in the 1930s filing dispatches for the Communist newspaper Pravda. Featured films include Chingachgook, The Great Snake, a 1967 East German “red Western” based on the fictional chief in James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans; Baghdad Café (Out of Rosenheim), an offbeat 1987 comedy about a German tourist who holes up at a California roadside café/motel after her husband ditches her on their U.S. road trip; and Friendship!, a 2010 buddy film in which two young East Germans visit San Francisco after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Learn how some Germans observe the unique quirks of American life. The series runs from Oct. 5 to Oct. 26 at the Goethe-Institut, 812 7th St. NW. $4–$7. (202) 289-1200. goethe.de/washington.