Block Cinema is a collaboration of the Northwestern University School of Communication, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art and the student-run Film and Projection Society.
All films are screened in the Pick-Laudati Auditorium at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, Evanston campus. Free parking is available in the lot directly south of the museum.
Unless noted, general admission to Block Cinema screenings is $6 or $4 for Block Museum members, students with ID’s and senior citizens. Films in the “Korean,” “Nature” and “Reeltime” series are free. Season passes are $20. Tickets are available 30 minutes before show time.
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.
This spring, Block Cinema will screen four new film series.
The “Recent Korean Film – Tales of Revenge and Horror” series will highlight some of the top films made in Korea during the past decade. Few national cinemas have been as vibrant, active and diverse as Korean cinema. South Korea has the most movie screens per capita. In fact, the original dream of the Cineplex lives intact in Korea, where one can see a Korean film, an independent American production and the latest Hong Kong action picture, all at the local complex that houses multi-movie theaters. Because of the great variety of films made in Korea, Block Cinema has focused on a category of Korean cinema: recent tales of revenge and horror -- sometimes called “shock” cinema and not for the faint of heart. This series will feature the first two movies in director Chan-wook Park’s trilogy on revenge, “Oldboy” (8 p.m. May 4) and “Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance” (8 p.m. May 31).
“The Louis Family Nature” series is Block Cinema’s only annual film series. Through collaboration with the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, the cinema will screen the year’s best nature documentaries. This spring’s selection includes a meditation on the harsh realities of nature, a faux documentary, a voyage down the Mississippi River and the bizarre adoption of a baby antelope by a lioness.
The “F. W. Murnau x 4” series will feature four German film productions by F. W. Murnau, a foremost practitioner of German Expressionism. Considered one of cinema’s greatest directors, Murnau shaped the artistic sensibilities of the movies of Alfred Hitchcock, film noir and classic French Cinema. His career, which spanned Germany’s Weimer Republic and the rise of Hollywood, is a fascinating combination of critical appeal and popular success. His untimely death in a car accident in 1931 at the age of 42 was a great loss to moving pictures.
Films in “A Cinema of Physics and Perception” series will focus on human perception which is composed of five senses -- taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing. In a darkened theatre, it is our eyes and ears that are most stimulated. These works are as much about the film medium as they are about the viewer, the human mind and its perception of the physical world. Each of the series 10 programs will concentrate on a different dimension of cinema as it relates to physical construction or perception. These films do not tell stories or entertain in a traditional sense. They demand a high level of attention, one where the viewer absorbs the images and sounds and thinks about them critically. In many ways these films more closely resemble painting, sculpture and music than they do narrative films. They are works of art, audio-visual puzzles and delights for the eyes, the ears and the mind. They are testaments to the creativity afforded by the cinematic medium.
In addition, the Reeltime Independent Film and Video Forum is a presentation of award-winning independent feature, documentary and short-subject films and videos. The series is jointly sponsored by the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art and the Evanston Public Library, in partnership with project directors Kathy Berger and Ines Sommer. Each screening is followed by a discussion with the audience. All Reeltime screenings are free.
Fuji Film Demonstration, 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, free. A Fuji representative will demonstrate Fuji’s motion picture stock line and answer questions about motion picture film technology. Audience members will learn what distinguishes one film stock from another and the effects of stock choice on the visual character of a film.
Reeltime, “Forgiving Dr. Mengele,” 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, free (Bob Hercules and Cheri Pugh, 2005, United States, 80 minutes, video). Co-directed by Evanston filmmakers Bob Hercules and Cheri Pugh, this provocative documentary tells the remarkable story of Eva Mozes Kor, a survivor of Nazi experiments in Auschwitz. Kor decides to free herself of her burdens by forgiving her tormentors, setting off a storm of debate.
Murnau Series, “Tartuffe,” 8 p.m. Thursday, April 6 (F. W. Murnau, 1926, Germany, 74 minutes, 35 mm, silent). Based on Moliere’s classic 17th century play about religious hypocrisy, F. W. Murnau’s “Tartuffe” is a masterful story within a story, in which a traveling film projectionist uses the play to teach his rich grandfather a lesson in hypocrisy. Relying on intense close-ups and a minimal set design, the visually innovative Murnau distinguishes between the two stories by alternating the camera’s focus. David Drazin will provide live piano accompaniment during the screening.
Cinema of Physics and Perception series, Frequencies/Flicker, 8 p.m. Friday, April 7. “The Flicker” (Tony Conrad, 1966, United States, 30 minutes, 16 mm); “Raindance” (Standish Lawder, 1972, United States, 16 minutes, 16 mm); “Ray Gun Virus” (Paul Sharits, 1966, United States, 14 minutes, 16 mm). Focusing on the fixed internal boundaries of a filmstrip, these films highlight the perceived collision of one frame with the next, the frequencies with which these collisions can occur, and their effect on our nervous system. WARNING: The films being shown on April 7 contain flickering and strobe lighting. Those who become dizzy or disoriented from such effects, as well as those suffering from photosensitive epilepsy, may be at risk. There will be a five-minute break between each movie to allow the viewers to rest their eyes. Northwestern University’s Satoru Suzuki, associate professor of psychology, will be the guest speaker.
Nature Matinee, “Dragons – A Fantasy Made Real,” 2 p.m. Saturday, April 8, free (Justin Hardy, 2004, United Kingdom, 96 minutes, video). Patrick Stewart narrates this documentary/fiction hybrid about a team of scientists who discover the corpse of an ancient dragon. As the team reconstructs the dragon’s life -- famed fantasy writer Neil Gaiman consulted on the film’s clever story -- the audience is treated to awe-inspiring CGI (computer graphics imagery) effects courtesy of the same team behind “Walking With Dinosaurs.”
Nature Series, “Grizzly Man,” 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, free (Werner Herzog, 2005 United States, 104 minutes, video). Herzog’s often overlooked documentary work received an unprecedented amount of attention with this masterful look at mop-topped bear lover Timothy Treadwell. Weaving together interviews with those close to Treadwell, footage from Herzog’s visit to Alaska’s Kodiak peninsula and Treadwell’s own video of his intimate encounters with grizzlies, Herzog zeroes in on Treadwell’s contradictions -- mainly how his love for nature would ultimately lead to his death.
Murnau Series, “The Last Laugh,” 8 p.m. Thursday, April 13 (F. W. Murnau, 1924, Germany, 90 minutes, 35 mm, silent). After World War I, the German film industry couldn’t compete with grandiose Hollywood productions. Instead, German directors emphasized mood and feeling. The result was the German Expressionist movement. In “The Last Laugh,” Murnau uses innovative camera techniques -- not a lavish budget -- to tell the tale of an old doorman (Emil Jannings) who’s demoted after his boss catches him resting. Highly symbolic, the film introduced subjective, point-of-view shots and beautiful camerawork. David Drazin will provide live piano accompaniment.
Cinema of Physics and Perception Series, Pure Sonic Information, 8 p.m. Friday, April 14, “Arnulf Rainer” (Peter Kubelka, 1958-1960, Austria, 7 minutes, 16 mm); “Reverberation” (Ernie Gehr, 1969-1986, United States, 23 minutes, 16 mm); “Shift” (Ernie Gehr, 1972-74, United States, 9 minutes, 16 mm); “Prelude” (Michael Snow, 2000, Canada, 3 minutes, 35 mm); “Unsere Afrikareise” (Peter Kubelka, 1961-66, Austria, 12.5 minutes, 16 mm); “Passage a l’acte” (Martin Arnold, 1993, Austria, 12 minutes, 16 mm). Every sound we hear originates from the vibration of an object, which results in waves that are propagated through the particles of a given medium. These waves trigger a chain reaction in our ears, creating electrochemical impulses our brain interprets. These films make this everyday process palpable, while also complicating it. WARNING: “Arnulf Rainer” contains flickering and strobe effects. Those who become dizzy or disoriented from such effects, as well as those suffering from photosensitive epilepsy, may be at risk. Gary Kendall, associate professor of music technology, Northwestern University School of Music, will be the guest speaker.
Nature Matinee Series, “Predators,” 2 p.m. Saturday, April 15, free (Mark Shelley, 2005, United States, 57 minutes, video); “Heart of a Lioness” (Dudu and Saba Douglas-Hamilton, 2005, United Kingdom, 50 minutes, video). The Winner of the People & Animals award at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, “Predators” -- a segment of National Geographic’s “Strange Days on Planet Earth” series -- examines the drastic changes in world ecosystems through the role of the predator, from Yellowstone National Park to the forests of Venezuela. “Heart of the Lioness” is part of the award-winning “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” series that follows naturalist Saba Douglas-Hamilton and a fascinating lioness in her native Kenya that adopts an antelope -- an animal the predatory lioness would otherwise feast upon.
A Conversation with Roger Ebert, 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 19. Roger Ebert’s writing and television appearances have made him one of the nation’s most influential movie critics. His talk about recent Oscar winners, the role of a film critic and the direction of the movie business today will be followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience. Ebert’s talk will precede a screening of “Crash,” this year’s Academy Award Winner for Best Picture.
“Crash,” 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 19 (Paul Haggis, 2004, United States, 113 minutes, 35 mm). Through a series of serendipitous events and racially charged encounters, the lives of an ensemble cast of characters living in Los Angeles become entangled during the course of two days. Winner of Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Editing, “Crash” takes a hard look at racial and socioeconomic tensions in America.
Nature Series, “Dragons -- A Fantasy Made Real,” 8 p.m. Thursday, April 20, free (Justin Hardy, 2004, United Kingdom, 96 minutes, video). Actor Patrick Stewart narrates this documentary/fiction hybrid about a team of scientists who discover the corpse of an ancient dragon. As the team reconstructs the dragon’s life -- famed fantasy writer Neil Gaiman consulted on the film’s clever story -- the audience is treated to awe-inspiring CGI (computer graphic imagery) effects courtesy of the same team behind the film “Walking with Dinosaurs.”
Cinema of Physics and Perception Series, Mathematical Structures, 8 p.m. Friday, April 21, “Powers of Ten” (Charles and Ray Eames, 1977, United States, 9 minutes, video); “2/60: 48 Heads From The Szondi-Test” (Kurt Kren, 1960, Austria, 4.5 minutes, 16 mm, silent); “3/60: Trees During Autumn” (Kurt Kren, 1960, Austria, 5 minutes, 16 mm); “Clocktime Trailer” (Stuart Pound, 1972, United Kingdom, 7 minutes, 16 mm); “Seven Days” (Chris Welsby, 1974, United Kingdom, 20 minutes, 16 mm); “Bleu Shut” (Robert Nelson, 1970, United States,
30 minutes, 16 mm). Mathematics is the universal language. All of nature, from the smallest nautilus shell to the largest galaxy, is constructed according to mathematical patterns. For thousands of years humans have created art reflecting these patterns. The films in this program follow in this tradition, merging art with science. The event is sponsored by the Northwestern Sound Design Program. Mark Kerins, assistant professor of radio/television and film at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, will be the guest speaker.
Experimental Films by Matthias Müller, “The Memo Book,” 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 26 (Matthias Müller, 1989-1994, Germany, 65 minutes, 16 mm). Matthias Müller’s work can be read as the unwritten history of German experimental film. Moving and smart, his lush films and videos draw on the iconography of Hollywood melodrama, Super-8 home movie fragments, brooding Expressionist themes and structuralist rigor to deeply engage viewers with history, media and memory. This program is the first evening of a three-part retrospective of Müller’s work. Part two screens at the Gene Siskel Film Center at 6 p.m. April 27 and part three at the University of Chicago Film Center on April 28. For more information about part two visit <www.siskelfilmcenter.org>. For information about part three visit <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Nature Matinee Series, “Predators,” 8 p.m. Wednesday April 26, free (Mark Shelley, 2005, United States, 57 minutes, video) and “Heart of a Lioness” (Dudu and Saba Douglas-Hamilton, 2005, United Kingdom, 50 minutes, video). The Winner of the People & Animals award at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival, “Predators” -- a segment of National Geographic’s “Strange Days on Planet Earth” series -- examines the drastic changes in world ecosystems through the role of the predator, from Yellowstone National Park to the forests of Venezuela. “Heart of the Lioness” is part of the award-winning “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” series that follows naturalist Saba Douglas-Hamilton and a fascinating lioness in her native Kenya that adopts an antelope -- an animal the predatory lioness would otherwise feast upon.
Chicago Latino Film Festival, “O Casamiento de Romeu & Julieta”/”Romeo and Juliet Get Married,” 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 27, free (Bruno Barreto, 2005, Brazil, 90 minutes, video). Shakespeare meets “Bend It Like Beckham.” Forget family antagonisms in Verona. The question here is whether a couple can overcome the obsessive rivalries of their teams in soccer-crazy Brazil. Julieta (Luana Provani) has been a fan of the Palmeiras since she was a toddler; Romeu (Luis Gustavo) is a no-less committed fan of the Corinthians. Julieta’s father, a respected lawyer, could not dream of such a pairing, and Romeu’s family would certainly oppose it. Romeu’s initial solution -- to pretend to be a Palmeiras fan out of love for Juliet -- creates a series of hilarious and unexpected twists and turns.
Murnau Series, “Faust,” 8 p.m. Thursday, April 27 (F. W. Murnau, 1926, Germany, 116 minutes, 35 mm). The classic German folktale “Faust” -- the story of a man who sells his soul to the devil for one day of youth -- is crowded with classic themes: God vs. Satan, good vs. evil, self-control vs. temptation. For the film, F. W. Murnau relied on his keen sense of lighting to take the audience from the clouds in the heavens to the dark depths of hell. “Faust“ is an extravagant work that showcases Murnau’s sheer power as a director. David Drazin will provide live piano accompaniment.
Cinema of Physics and Perception Series, Color, 8 p.m. Friday, April 28, “Color Separation” (Chris Welsby, 1974, United Kingdon, 2.5 minutes, 16 mm, silent); “Saugus Series” (Pat O’Neill, 1974, United States, 17 minutes, 16 mm); “Lapis” (James Whitney, 1963-1966, United States, 9 minutes, 16 mm, silent); “The Dante Quartet” (Stan Brakhage, 1987, United States, 6 minutes, 35 mm, silent); “N:O:T:H:I:N:G,” (Paul Sharits, 1968, United States, 35 minutes, 16 mm). Color is a perception of an electromagnetic wave vibrating at a particular frequency. Harnessing color for aesthetic purposes, the filmmakers in this program are fully aware of the delicate ways our brain perceives color as well as the ways celluloid articulates it. Brian Price, assistant professor of film, Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, will be the guest speaker.