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March 2008 Film Calendar

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February 19, 2008 | by Judy Moore
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Block Cinema, a collaboration of the Northwestern University School of Communication and the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, screens classic and contemporary films. Block Cinema is dedicated to providing the Northwestern campus, the North Shore and the Chicago area with a quality venue for repertory cinema.

All films are screened in the James B. Pick and Rosalyn M. 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 otherwise noted, general admission to Block Cinema screenings is $6 for the general public or $4 for Block Museum members, students with IDs and senior citizens. Films in the "Reeltime" series are free. Special events are $10. 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 winter, Block Cinema is screening more than 30 films from South Korea, Japan and China -- films directed by Akira Kurosawa, Zhang Ke Jia, Kim Ki-Duk, Kenji Mizoguchi, Jooh-ho Bong and Im Kwon-Taek.

In March, a Soviet "new wave" film that followed Joseph Stalin's death and was directed by Mikhail Kalatozov, the former head of film production under Stalin, will be shown. Kalatozov and cinematographer Sergei Urusevsky (whose work is featured in three of these films) used athletic hand-held camerawork to convey the emotions of the characters -- a technique Kalatozov referred to as the "emotional camera."

Block Cinema also will screen a number of short films about early computer animation that relate to the Block Museum's two Winter 2008 exhibitions -- "Imaging by Numbers: A Historical View of the Computer Print" in the museum's Main Gallery and "Space, Color and Motion" in the Alsdorf Gallery. Both are open to the public through April 6.

The following is a listing of Block Cinema films that will be screened in March.

MARCH 2008 FILMS

Reeltime Film Series, "The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo," 7:30 Wednesday, March 5 
(Lisa F. Jackson, 2007, United States, 76 minutes, DVD)
. Fresh from the Sundance Film Festival comes this harrowing documentary about women who have been victimized in war-torn Congo, where mass rape of epidemic proportions is unfolding today. A rape survivor herself, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Lisa Jackson videotaped rape victims, peace keepers, physicians and the indifferent rapists who are soldiers of the Congolese Army. Admission to the screening is free. Co-presented with Amnesty International Group 50, Evanston/Rogers Park.

South Korean Series, "The President's Last Bang," 8 p.m. Thursday, March 6 
(Im Sang-Soo, 2005, South Korea, 102 minutes, 35 mm). 
A hit on the international festival circuit, "The President's Last Bang" explores Korean history and politics with bleak, sometimes grotesque satire. An agitated director of Korean intelligence plots to kill the president, but his carefully designed scheme completely unravels. From a jammed gun to an escalating body count, Im Sang-Soo turns farce into an outrageous indictment of Korean politicians. In 2005, a South Korean court ruled that four minutes of documentary footage of the assassination of a former Korean president had to be removed from "The President's Last Bang." Im Sang-Soo replaced the footage with a silent black screen.

Akira Kurosawa Series, "Throne of Blood," 7 p.m. Friday, March 7 (Akira Kurosawa, 1957, Japan, 110 minutes, 35 mm). A black and white adaptation of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" set in feudal Japan, "Throne of Blood" has more ambition, avarice and prophetic mysticism than a political convention. Toshiro Mifune is Washizu, a man corrupted by his wife's ruthless pursuit of power and spurred by the enigmatic predictions of an old woman. The film's interpretation of Shakespeare is very loose, but Kurosawa translates the Bard's verse into powerfully moving images.

Akira Kurosawa Series, "Yojimbo," 9 p.m. Friday, March 7 (Akira Kurosawa, 1961, Japan, 110 minutes, 35 mm)
. Kurosawa's attempt to confound critics who had reductively called his films westerns, "Yojimbo" is also his funniest and perhaps his most influential film. Stumbling into a civil war, bodyguard Sanjuro (Toshiru Mifune) rents out his samurai skills to both sides. When this toothpick chewing samurai-for-hire plays the groups off each other, blood covers everything. "Yojimbo" masterfully melds the western and gangster genres into a samurai movie that in turn became the inspiration for Sergio Leone's "Fistful of Dollars."

The Emotional Camera, Mikhail Kalatozov Series, "The Red Tent," 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 12 (Mikhail Kalatozov, 1969, Italy and Soviet Union, 121 minutes, 35 mm). 
Kalatozov's final film is an Italian-Soviet co-production about an actual 1928 expedition to the North Pole in a dirigible, which crashed, stranding the entire crew. The story is told years after the incident by the Italian General who led the expedition; he sees the ghosts of those who lost their lives because of his decisions. A meditation on hubris and leadership, "The Red Tent" has breathtaking cinematography, a brilliant score by Ennio Morricone and Sean Connery as the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.

South Korean Series, "Woman on the Beach," 8 p.m. Thursday, March 13 
(Hong Sang-Soo, 2006, South Korea, 100 minutes, 35 mm)
. Film director Joong-Rae travels to the seaside town of Shinduri with his production designer, Chang-Wook, in order to finish his overdue screenplay. When Chang-Wook brings his beautiful date, aspiring composer Moon-Sook, she and Joong-Rae hit it off -- maybe. Reminiscent of Eric Rohmer's work, Hong Sang-Soo's wittiest film yet is about the clumsy indecisions of new romance.

Akira Kurosawa Series, "Red Beard," 8 p.m. Friday, March 14 (Akira Kurosawa, 1965, Japan, 199 minutes, 35 mm). A transition in Kurosawa's career, "Red Beard" was his last black and white film and his final collaboration with actor Toshiro Mifune. Yasumoto, an arrogant and sheltered young doctor, chafes under the direction of the dedicated but brusque Dr. Niide (Mifune). Practicing medicine in a poor rural welfare clinic, Yasumoto witnesses life's brutality for the first time. Chastened by his own impotence, Yasumoto must learn humility from Niide.