MEPHISTO AND FRENCH SHORTS 2020 OPEN FRIDAY

“What do they want from me now? After all, I am just an actor.” This is a line from Mephisto, the Academy Award winning film about an actor in Nazi Germany who makes a demonic deal to ensure his success on the stage. It also echoes a line often heard around the Ryder offices: “What do they want from me now? After all, I’m just a film programmer.” That said, we’ve entered no such Satanic arrangements. At least not yet. Mephisto opens on Friday. READ MORE

We’re also bringing in a delightful, funny, charming, provocative collection of festival-favorite Gallic shorts. READ MORE

HELD OVER

Capital in the 21st Century is based on the international bestseller by rock-star economist Thomas Piketty (which sold over three million copies worldwide and landed Piketty on Time Magazine‘s list of most influential people), this entertaining documentary is an accessible journey through wealth and power, a film that breaks the popular assumption that the accumulation of capital runs hand in hand with social progress. Picketty’s book has been acclaimed as “the most important economics book of the year — and maybe the decade.” – Paul Krugman, The New York Times READ MORE

Independent booksellers are not usually reaping the rewards of capitalism in the 21st century. But their love of books is rewarding in and of itself and besides, they lead rich, interior lives. The Booksellers is also on the virtual screen this week. And there’s a special offer from Caveat Emptor for those who see the film… READ MORE

A White, White Day was Iceland’s nominee for an Academy Award for Best International Feature Film. A psychological thriller from Iceland, A White, White Day will surprise you at every turn. READ MORE

Also on the screen this week – The Wild Goose Lake and Slay The Dragon

Bloomington’s Charlotte Zietlow has some good ideas on how to make city and county government work better. And she writes about them in the current issue of The Ryder magazine. If you haven’t picked up a copy of the April/May Ryder yet, you’re missing out: here it is

We’re still accepting submissions for our upcoming fiction issue. READ MORE

Ever wonder how rich people get rich?

Capital in the 21st Century, currently playing in our virtual theater, answers that question and more. Based on the international bestseller by rock-star economist Thomas Piketty (which sold over three million copies worldwide and landed Piketty on Time Magazine‘s list of most influential people), this entertaining documentary is an accessible journey through wealth and power, a film that breaks the popular assumption that the accumulation of capital runs hand in hand with social progress. Picketty’s book has been acclaimed as “the most important economics book of the year — and maybe the decade.” – Paul Krugman, The New York Times READ MORE

Do you know who doesn’t get rich…? Independent booksellers. But their love of books is rewarding in and of itself and besides, they lead rich, interior lives. And a few of them actually make some money.  The Booksellers is also on the virtual screen this week. And there’s a special offer from Caveat Emptor for those who see the film… READ MORE

A White, White Day was Iceland’s nominee for an Academy Award for Best International Feature Film and it is screening now in our virtual theater. A psychological thriller from Iceland, A White, White Day will surprise you at every turn. READ MORE

Also on the screen this week – The Wild Goose Lake and Slay The Dragon

Linda Poteat worked at the Irish Lion the the 1990s. Today she’s a United Nations director fighting pandemics around the world. If you haven’t picked up a copy of the April/May Ryder magazine yet, you’re missing out: here it is

We’re still accepting submissions for our upcoming fiction issue. There are very few certainties in life but one of them is you’ll never get rich writing short stories. That said, if you still want to submit . . . READ MORE

A WHITE, WHITE DAY: one of two films opening at ryder

A White, White Day was shortlisted for an Academy Award for Best International Feature Film and it is opening Friday in our virtual theater. A psychological thriller from Iceland, A White, White Day will surprise you at every turn.

READ MORE

We are also opening the non-fiction film, Capital in the 21st Century. Based on the international bestseller by rock-star economist Thomas Piketty (which sold over three million copies worldwide and landed Piketty on Time Magazine‘s list of most influential people), this entertaining documentary is an accessible journey through wealth and power, a film that breaks the popular assumption that the accumulation of capital runs hand in hand with social progress. Picketty’s book has been acclaimed as “the most important economics book of the year — and maybe the decade.” – Paul Krugman, The New York Times

READ MORE

Don’t forget: We are also screening The Booksellers, The Wild Goose Lake and Slay The Dragon.

Now might be as good a time as any to dust off that short story that you started when you were an undergrad and get back to work on it. Here’s a way to fill those endless, empty hours with an activity that is might be a bit more rewarding than those reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond that you’ve been watching. It costs nothing to enter and if your story is selected, you’ll be showered in riches beyond your wildest dreams. READ MORE

The April/May issue is on the virtual newsstand. Read The Ryder Thanks , as always, for supporting local journalism.

An offer you can’t refuse from caveat emptor

Antiquarian booksellers have personalities and knowledge bases that are as broad and deep as the material they handle. ​ Their job requires the disparate skills of a scholar, a detective, and a businessperson. (The same can be said about the skills of the film programmers at The Ryder, minus the “businessperson” part.) D.W. Young’s new film burrows deep inside the fascinating world of booksellers, a community populated by an lovable assortment of obsessives, intellects, oddballs and dreamers. The Booksellers opens in The Ryder’s virtual theater on Friday. READ MORE ABOUT THE BOOKSELLERS

Our amazing local bookstore, Caveat Emptor, is offering Ryder filmgoers a deal that’s hard to pass up. They will match any purchase dollar-for-dollar with store credit. So if you buy $20 worth of books, you will get $20 in store credit towards a future purchase. Just show them your receipt from your ticket to The Booksellers.

And while we’re on the subject of books and bookstores, we’re accepting submissions for our annual short story issue.

Now might be as good a time as any to dust off that short story that you started when you were an undergrad and get back to work on it. Here’s a way to fill those endless, empty hours with an activity that is might be a bit more rewarding than those reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond that you’ve been watching. It costs nothing to enter and if your story is selected, you’ll be showered in riches beyond your wildest dreams. READ MORE

Do you like books? ‘The Booksellers’ opens on friday

Antiquarian booksellers have personalities and knowledge bases that are as broad and deep as the material they handle. ​ Their job requires the disparate skills of a scholar, a detective, and a businessperson. The same can be said about the skills of the film programmers at The Ryder, minus the “businessperson” part. D.W. Young’s new film burrows deep inside the fascinating world of booksellers, a community populated by an lovable assortment of obsessives, intellects, oddballs and dreamers. The Booksellers opens in The Ryder’s virtual theater on Friday. READ MORE ABOUT THE BOOKSELLERS

And while we’re on the subject of books, we’re accepting submissions for our annual short story issue.

Think about it . Dust off that short story that you started when you were an undergrad and get back to work on it. Here’s a way to fill those endless, empty hours with an activity that is might be a bit more rewarding than those reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond that you’ve been watching. It costs nothing to enter and if your story is selected, you’ll be showered in riches beyond your wildest dreams. READ MORE

cELEBRATING eARTH dAY: nICHOLAS Geyrhalter’s ‘eARTH’

Nicholas Geyrhalter’s acclaimed documentary, Earth, opens on Wednesday for a one week run. Earth was filmed at seven places where humans are transforming the planet on a grand scale: Entire mountains being moved in California, a tunnel being sliced through rock at the Brenner Pass, an open-cast mine in Hungary, the world-famous Carrara marble quarry in Italy, a copper mine in Spain, the salt mine used to store radioactive waste in Wolfenbüttel and a Northern Canadian tar sands site where the destruction of indigenous lands threatens local communities.

Filmmaker Nicholas Geyrhalter contrasts these large scale projects with interviews with the individuals helping to realize them to highlight our fraught struggles for and against the planet.

 FILM OF THE WEEK! “Spectacular, even awe-inspiring.”
—Jonathan Romney, Film Comment

READ MORE

Don’t forget: there’s more to see in our virtual theater: THE WILD GOOSE LAKE, SLAY THE DRAGON, ONCE WERE BROTHERS , THE WHISTLERS. CORPUS CHRISTI and THE WOMAN WHO LOVES GIRAFFES

let’s write a short story!

Now might be as good a time as any to dust off that short story you started when you were an undergrad. We are reading submissions from Bloomington writers for our annual summer fiction issue. What do we mean by “Bloomington writers”? We’re not really sure. A Bloomington address would help. But if you attended IU and no longer live here, that would be fine as well. Maybe you passed through town on your way to Evansville? Any connection will do, no matter how tangential.

Please put “Fiction Submission” in the subject line and send your story to editor@theryder.com

A few guidelines….

1 – Double-spaced in Word. Do not indent to indicate a new paragraph; a hard return will suffice.

2 – Word limit: 5,000 words. This is not negotiable. The 5001st word will not be considered, no matter how amazing it may be.

3 – Wear a mask and wash your hands for 20 seconds under hot water.

Send your story right away. He who hesitates is … how does that expression go? No matter. We look forward to reading your work!

Never quarantine the Past

Two new podcasts – Unspooled and 80s All Over – revisit classic American films

By Brian Stout

Rather than trafficking in nostalgia, these podcasts are taking a fresh look at the AFI Top 100 Films list and 1980s cinema.

Is Citizen Kane still the best movie ever made? The current AFI Top 100 Movies List has it in the top slot. One exciting recent podcast series is taking a critical view of the somewhat sacred ranking, and another is taking a comprehensive look at the 1980s.

On Unspooled, film critic Amy Nicholson and comedian/actor Paul Scheer take on the list one film at a time. The pairing works. Nicholson is a highly respected writer and critic with extensive film history knowledge and a modern approach, which Scheer is a successful comedian/actor and lifelong film fan who has admittedly not seen several films on the list. They provide a potent combination of historical context, production notes, bad reviews, and 21st century insights, culminating in a decision about whether or not the film should remain on the list. The podcast has also spawned a lively Facebook group.

Starting with Citizen Kane and randomly roaming from film to film after that, Nicholson and Scheer have discussed half of the list at this point, and their spirited conversations are available through the usual podcast outlets.

A cursory look at the list reveals a collection of mostly white, mostly male, mostly great films. It’s also very heavy on 1970s films. And white guys fighting The System. And westerns. And yes, that makes sense to a degree. It was a remarkable decade and sheer numbers suggests a male-heavy list. Also, what’s more American than a western?

But where are the women? Where are the directors of color? Horror movies? Science fiction? LGBTQ films? It’s easy to be highly critical of the selections and to point to their lack of diversity, and to say the list is an outcome of a number of factors, and that only adds relevance to the argument for re-evaluation. The list has already been updated once, and the past 30 years in particular have been marked by an increase in the diversity of voices, so it’s ripe for revision again. This century has produced many formidable potential additions, such as There Will Be Blood, Moonlight, Children of Men, Brokeback Mountain, Zero Dark Thirty, and Mad Max Fury Road to name only a few. And I’d still like to see A League of Their Own make the cut. And that there are zero films directed by women and that Spike Lee and M. Night Shyamalan are the only directors of color on the list simply must be addressed.

That’s where Amy and Paul come in.

Here are notes on three of the most intriguing episodes.

Taxi Driver. The pair discuss the film’s similarities to The Searchers and whether or not Travis is a poser. The characters Robert DeNiro and John Wayne play in their respective films are driven to save young girls who may or may not want saving. They also both harbor tenuous feelings about minorities. Scorsese is an avowed fan of John Ford’s classic, so the connection makes sense on the surface. Even more interestingly, though, is the argument about Travis’ background. On the surface, the film suggests that Travis is a veteran whose psychopathy is likely a result of the war. He wears Army gear, but never mentions a specific branch of service. His knowledge of weapons appears to suggest a civilian. He goes for the .44 Magnum, same as Dirty Harry. But his mental illness may be the most important piece to unraveling his motivation. Nicholson has made no bones about her dislike for Scorsese’s work, and she provides some interesting insights and counterpoints on the master filmmaker and one of his most widely heralded films.

A cursory look at the AFI Top 100 list reveals a collection of mostly white, mostly male, mostly great films.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The most intriguing aspect of this film is that both Nicholson’s and Scheer’s sympathies were with Nurse Ratched, who is ranked number five on the AFI Best Villains list. One of the high points of the “fight the system” movies of the 1970s, the film focuses on Jack Nicholson’s character’s efforts to disrupt the treatment within an inpatient mental health facility. A closer look shows Nicholson’s R.P. McMurphy’s supposedly heroic efforts to help the other patients undermining some sincere attempts to treat and care for people who need care. The movie goes out of its way to show that fighting the system results in a person being silenced. They decided that the film belongs on the list, but this is a great example of how even great films have problematic elements.

A Clockwork Orange. Stanley Kubrick’s controversial classic launched a spirited debate about how the horrific actions of the lead character are framed in the film and how their portrayal makes the audience complicit and may be a way of Kubrick freeing himself from judgement for making his despicable lead character look cool. One of the most intriguing points that is made is that much of the violence Alex commits is seen at a distance, but the violence inflicted upon him is seen up close and personal, manipulating the audience to feel empathy for a criminal. The first blood drawn in the film is Alex’s. He calls himself the humble narrator throughout, and the voices of the victims are silenced throughout the film. It is an intriguing set of observations on a film that’s held court as an esteemed cult classic for decades. 

The 80s All Over podcast is an even more ambitious undertaking: revisiting all the major releases of the 1980s month by month. As children of the 1980s and noted film writers, Drew McWeeny and Scott Weinberg bring a combination of personal experience and spirited banter to all of it, covering the hidden gems, the blockbusters, and the schlock and trash that graced the screens throughout the decade. It’s a good idea to listen with a notes app open, regardless of preferences, because no one has seen all of these films except McWeeny and Weinberg, and you’ll wind up with a list of titles to track down, and likely have an itch to revisit some of your own favorites from the era.

The best place to start is the summer of 1984 episodes, where they reminisce about watching The Karate Kid, Ghostbusters, Gremlins, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Sixteen Candles, among others. They dive into their stories of how these movies affected them then and now, and analyze and they’re not afraid to call out some of the gauche characterizations of marginalized groups and the casual attitude about victimization of women in these films that are often remembered as essentially harmless.

Both McWeeny and Weinberg praise The Karate Kid for its ending, in light of how many contemporary films draw out endings and run times. Ghostbusters is canon for virtually every child of the 1980s, and they relay some very interesting details about the movie’s troubled production. They also talk about how Temple of Doom and Gremlins pushed the limits of the PG rating and provided a flashpoint for creating the PG-13 rating.

Sixteen Candles is a classic in many ways, but it also features an appalling characterization of a foreign exchange student and a plot point where the popular, cool crush object provides the geeky boy with keys to a Rolls Royce and his drunk girlfriend. These unsettling elements are at odds with an essentially sweet story about a teenage girl coming of age. 

Lists are easy targets. They rarely satisfy and mostly spark conversations about what’s missing. Rather than just nitpicking choices, Unspooled remains fixed upon evaluating the somewhat sacred AFI Top 100 List, attempting to address the redundancies to make room for more modern choices. 80s All Over is a more personal account, a decade-long slice of two lifetimes of moviegoing. Both offer dynamic, challenging, and entertaining evaluations of American film, which really is best understood through the convergence of personal taste and cinema history.

Two new films open

We are screening 6 first-run feature films this weekend in our new virtual cinema. Keep an eye on us — don’t let us turn into a virtual multiplex. This is the final week for ONCE WERE BROTHERS and THE WHISTLERS. CORPUS CHRISTI and THE WOMAN WHO LOVES GIRAFFES are both on our calendar for another week. And then there are two new films . . .

The Wild Goose Lake

A gangster on the run — and seeking redemption — meets a woman who’ll risk everything to gain her own freedom, in this noir crime thriller set in the nooks and crannies of densely populated Wuhan in Central China. READ MORE

SLAY THE DRAGON

Every ten years, new county lines are drawn across the USA that determine the fate of the country for the next decade. The rousing Slay the Dragon convincingly makes the argument that this practice has been used for partisan, and possibly illegal, gains since nearly its inception. “The most important political film of the year, and it may prove to be one of the key political films of the decade.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety READ MORE

50% of the ticket proceeds will eventually make their way back to us. Thanks, as always, for supporting independent film and local cinemas.

Stay safe and be smart.

Ryder magazine: april 2020

The Ryder <peter@theryder.com>AttachmentsThu, Apr 9, 12:31 AM (1 day ago)

The new issue of The Ryder is on the stands–well, not literally. This is our first issue to be published electronically. We considered publishing a print edition, but where would we distribute it?  Our April issue contains a number of entertaining and informative stories, but before we tell you about them, we have to talk about something else, something that makes us cringe when we think about it.
The Ryder has always been distributed free, with our expenses covered (hopefully) by advertising. There is no paid advertising in this issue.  Yes, when you flip through the magazine you will see ads, for not-for-profits hosting virtual fundraisers and local restaurants offering curbside service. Those ads are published at no cost to the advertiser, for all of the obvious reasons. Our biggest expense each month is our printing bill. But while there is no printing bill this month, we do have other expenses.
And so if you discover one or two articles that you like and if you are  in a position to make a donation, it will be gratefully appreciated. If you are not so inclined, you might instead consider purchasing a Ryder Film Series gift card. With either, you’ll be helping to support local, independent journalism.

MAKE A DONATION PURCHASE A GIFT CARD

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about the good stuff….In the 1990s, Linda Poteat was a waitress at the Irish Lion. Today, she is a policy director at the United Nations, battling pandemics around the world. Contributing editor Jason Vest conducts an enlightening interview. “If you’re a right-wing person in a state like South Carolina,” Linda explains, “seeing an elite Hollywood liberal telling people to stay at home and wash their hands isn’t going to work.”

For three years in the early 90s, Bart Everson was one half of J&B on the Rocks, a weekly television show broadcast on BCAT that was years ahead of its time. Bart explains, “We began production with no expectation of success, with hardly a thought for the future. We slapped a camera on a tripod and sat under a bare bulb in a rough-hewn basement, our rambling dialog punctuated by liberal doses of liquor. Each week we recorded a new installment; each week our faces and voices appeared in living rooms around the city, through the miracle (or curse) of cable television. We quickly found the limits of legality, and soon after that we found an audience. The camera came off the tripod, and we escaped from the basement, as the scope of our production and our circle of friends expanded. The streets of Bloomington became our set, and the people of the city became our cast. There was no script, and no budget either.”  Twenty-five years ago, on April 18th, 1995, Rox became the first television show anywhere, to be broadcast on the internet. Time magazine was all set to do a cover story and then…well, you’ll have to read the article.

The first Earth Day took place 50 years ago, on April 22nd, 1970 and Ryder contributing editor Pennfield Jensen was there. Not only was he there, but he helped to organize it. “Earth Day has become an icon for earth awareness,” Penn writes. “But Earth Day 2020 shows only too well how miserably we, as environmentalists, have failed.”
There’s more in this issue. Mason Cassady writes about Beekeeping in Poland, Charlotte Zietlow discusses the challenges of County Government, WFIU introduces a podcast about Ernie Pyle and West Coast Bureau Chief Jason Vest writes about quarantine-life in a coastal town in northern California. “I am not one to romanticize small-town life,” Jason writes. He does not. 

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