During fall 2005, Block Cinema, a collaboration of the Northwestern University School of Communication and the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus, will present several series of films.
“Classic Hollywood: Leading Ladies, 1934-1945” will offer a sampling of some of the period’s most beloved and gifted actresses in a variety of stories. Block Cinema has chosen tales of women striking out on their own in a man’s world and of cold-blooded femme fatales who manipulate men like puppets as well as screwball comedies and dramas set in 19th century Paris.
The “American Slapstick” series features films that rely on physical comedy including pratfalls, accidents and sight gags and star Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and the Marx Brothers, among others.
The “Three Pioneering Women Directors” series focuses on films directed by Dorothy Arzner, Maya Deren and Agnès Varda -- all made during a time when men dominated the film industry.
All films are screened in the Block Museum’s James B. Pick and Rosalyn M. Laudati Auditorium.
Admission is $6 for the general public and $4 for Northwestern faculty, staff and students, or as noted below. A fall 2005 season pass is $20.
For more information, call the Block Cinema Hotline at (847) 491-4000 or go to the Block Cinema Web site at http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/block-cinema.
Special: “Clueless,” 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2 (Amy Heckerling, 1995, United States, 97 minutes, 35 mm). The beauty and romance from Jane Austen’s “Emma” meets mall-centered California pop mania is what director Amy Heckerling was aiming for when she directed this 1990’s cultural touchstone. The plot revolves around Cher (Alicia Silverstone) and her designer clothes-wearing circle of friends. In this role, Silverstone symbolizes 1990’s unique decadence -- extraneous language, misguided idealism and adolescent cynicism.
Classic: “The Letter,” 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3 (William Wyler, 1940, United States, 95 minutes, 35 mm). Based on a Somerset Maugham play, the film features one of Hollywood’s original starlets, Bette Davis, as the mysterious Leslie Crosbie. It also is the perfect stage for Davis’ brand of feminine madness: as the prime suspect, she wiggles and seduces her way toward freedom.
Slapstick: “A Shot in the Dark,” 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4 (Blake Edwards, 1964, United Kingdom and United States, 102 minutes, 35 mm). Best known for playing erratic French detective Jacques Clouseau, Peter Sellers teams up with director Blake Edwards once again for the second installment of the “Pink Panther “films. The film finds Clouseau investigating a murder at a country mansion, where he matches wits with its owner and races to prevent a sequence of killings, while exhibiting his signature obliviousness.
Pioneers: “Kung-fu Master,” 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9 (Angès Varda, 1987, France, 80 minutes, 35 mm). This romantic coming-of-age film takes the viewer into the life of a 40-year old divorcée (Jane Birkin) who falls for a teen-ager who is addicted to a kung-fu video game. Her daughters soon catch on to her infatuation.
Classic: “Woman of the Year,” 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10 (George Stevens, 1942, United States, 114 minutes, 35 mm). Katherine Hepburn stars as Tess, a “Woman of the Year” and a New York newspaper political writer, who falls in love with co-worker Sam (Spencer Tracy), a sports columnist. Hepburn and Tracy’s first pairing in this romantic comedy is among their most memorable.
Slapstick: “Take the Money and Run,“ 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11 (Woody Allen, 1968, United States, 85 minutes, 35 mm). This comedy stars Woody Allen as protagonist and as director. It is a “mockumentary” that revolves around lovable crook Virgil Starkwell through fictional interviews and “Dragnet”-like narration.
Pioneers: “Cinévardaphoto,” 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16 (Angès Varda, 2004/ 1982/ 1963, France, 96 minutes, 35 mm). “Cinévardaphoto” consists of three photograph-centered films from Varda’s career. The film includes 1963’s “Salut les Cubains,” a collection of photos Varda shot in Cuba that she animates; 1982’s “Ulysse,” about Varda’s search for a young child she photographed decades before; and “Ydessa, the Bears and etc... ” a 2004 film about a Toronto woman who collects photographs of people clutching teddy bears. Each film is an essay on the nature of the pure image.
Classic: “Double Indemnity,” 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17 (Billy Wilder, 1944, United States, 107 minutes, 35 mm). Barbara Stanwyck portrays femme fatale Phyliss Dietrichson, a woman who finds herself in an unorthodox relationship with insurance agent Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray). Slapstick: “The Jerk,” 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18 (Carl Reiner, 1979, United States, 94 minutes, 35 mm). This is comedian Steve Martin’s first film. It tells the story of the rise and fall of a happy-go-lucky moron who hits it big with an incredibly stupid invention. Opposite Martin’s physical humor stars disco-diva and musical theatre legend Bernadette Peters.
Reeltime: “Lalee’s Kin: The Legacy of Cotton,” 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30 (Susan Froemke, Deborah Dickson and Albert Maysles, 2001, United States, 88 minutes). This Academy Award- nominated documentary, set in the Mississippi Delta, tells the story of an African-American family coping with poverty and illiteracy, the legacies of slavery and sharecropping. Guest speaker to be announced.