Last week, the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center aired “Drive My Car,” the Japanese film that was dubbed the best film of 2021 by many critics and was the second-best picture of the year.
On Friday, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln cinema will open “Parallel Mothers,” the latest film from Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, which features a performance by Penelope Cruz who is billed as one of the favorites to win the Academy Award. best actress. .
And, playing at the Ross for a second week will be “The Violet Queen”, a documentary about the search for the Tibetan snow leopard which comes from France.
That would be three international films released in two weeks – something rarely offered in cities the size of Lincoln and often unmatched in major metropolitan areas.
This is partly because the university film program has built a strong audience for international films. This was confirmed by the week-long series of “Drive My Car”.
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“It worked well considering it’s three hours long and there’s an ongoing pandemic,” Danny Lee Ladely said. “I only booked it for a week because it was too long. Maybe I should have made it work longer.
That audience, however, has changed in the 55 years Ladely has been involved in college film showings.
“It’s mostly older people,” Ladely said. “Young people are not too attracted to foreign films and documentaries as they were in my youth.”
This would have been in the mid-1960s, when Ladely arrived in Lincoln to attend the University of Nebraska and became a member of the Union Program Council’s Foreign Film Society committee that selected which international films were shown. at the Sheldon Art Gallery.
The society’s weekly screenings, which Ladely says began several years before he arrived, were a precursor to the lineup, first, of the Sheldon Film Theater and, since 2003, of the Ross.
This programming is made up, roughly speaking, of one-third independent American films, one-third foreign language films and one-third documentaries.
“I don’t really have a design,” Ladely said. “I try to pick films that have really good reviews. That’s sort of my main criteria – that they get some kind of critical acclaim.
This criterion almost guarantees that Ross will screen the Academy Award winners for Best Foreign Language Film, now called Best International Film and Best Documentary each year – “and we get a few American films that win Oscars that are not shown at Marcus Cinemas (which exploit all first-run movie screens in Lincoln).
There are no international films on the Ross calendar for February. But three Oscar winners are sure to star there starting Feb. 25 when the “Oscar Nominated Shorts 2022” package screens with all of the nominated films in the Documentary Shorts, Anime Shorts and Feature Films categories.
But most if not all of the internationally nominated films will likely be pitched to Ross after their US release. Some, including most likely “Drive My Car”, will have already had a run at Lincoln.
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