Volume 92, Issue 90

Thursday, March 18, 1999


Second banana takes the stand

Reefer Madness infects Post-New Yorker Series

MacPherson digs deep for inspiration

His name is Eminem - isn't it?

Reefer Madness infects Post-New Yorker Series

By Mark Lewandowski
Gazette Staff

The New Yorker repertory theatre closed indefinitely at the end of December 1998 and the city of London was left without an alternative cinema house to screen peripheral film. Darkness shrouded the London cinematic community, as they were forced to satiate their appetites with mainstream movies and rentals.

This vacuum chilled many film lovers in the Western community such as staff members Hoi Cheu and Michael Zryd as well as technical guru Charlie Eggleston. The group has put together a Post-New Yorker Film Series which has been airing weekly in University College Room 84.

"We had a screening before slack week and then we got ourselves organized after that," comments Michael Zryd, a driving force behind the series. The first few screenings brought out a handful of fans throughout the UC theatre, but the series has been picking up over the last few weeks. Tonight the group will be presenting the 1936 classic Reefer Madness.

"Reefer Madness is a great example of a cult film which is ostensibly anti-marijuana," Zryd says. "It's a low budget film that takes issues in the news and presents a cautionary take – it is so exaggerated it entertains." The 65-minute marijuana-hysteria film also known as Dope Addict, Doped Youth, Love Madness and various other suggestive titles corresponds with recent issues in the local media.

"The legalization debate is in the news right now. Just recently a medicinal marijuana place closed," Zryd explains. While he is not an activist in the cause, he is interested in the political issues surrounding it. "Reefer Madness is concerned with the issues but it is just a lot of fun, it almost teaches you how to be a juvenile delinquent," Zryd chuckles.

The group received a shot in the arm with a very successful screening of the documentary Brakhage last Friday. Tonight's free screening at 4 p.m. promises to be another popular one. "We only got 10 people out for King Kong but it was our first one," Zryd remembers. "I've received some very encouraging informal responses from people by email." Zryd suggests if things continue to go well the series should proceed into the summer and possibly next year.

"We were very happy to see so much support last week," Zryd says thankfully and relates a story from the film. "It's like Brakhage said, people in London are hungry for this, hungry for alternative film." Zryd hopes his group can find the right recipe to fill this artistic void.

"It's absurd in a city the size of London, to not have a repertory theatre," Zryd exclaims incredulously. Hopefully if the Post-New Yorker Film Series continues its successful run than London will once again have an alternative to big budget cinema.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999