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Block Cinema March 2009 Film Calendar

February 9, 2009 | 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, Northwestern faculty and staff, senior citizens aged 65 and older, and students with IDs. 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 visit the Block Cinema Web site at http://www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/block-cinema.

This winter, Block Cinema is screening films in two new series -- The Times of Robert Mapplethorpe -- sponsored by the Center for Global Culture and Communication -- and Remake/Remodel: Rock and Roll Movies.

The Times of Robert Mapplethorpe complements the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art's "Polaroids: Mapplethorpe" exhibition on view in the museum's Alsdorf Gallery from Jan. 13 to April 5. Block Cinema has chosen to situate Mapplethorpe within the context of "queer cinema" from Kenneth Anger, who released his first film in 1947, to the New Queer Cinema movement that began in the early 1990s. The series also provides a feel for 1960s New York City from which a young Mapplethorpe emerged. Among the films to be screened are Mapplethorpe's own "Still Moving" (March 6), James Crump's "Black, White + Grey" (March 6) and Vilgot Sjöman's "I am Curious (Yellow)" (March 11).

The Remake/Remodel: Rock and Roll Movies series of films survey how the movies have documented and advertised rock. Featuring artists Chuck Berry, an American guitarist, singer, songwriter and one of the pioneers of rock 'n' roll, to the English alternative rock band Radiohead, the series takes a wide-angle look at rock's expanding universe. Songwriter Bob Dylan's tour in "Don't Look Back" (March 12) is radically different from the Rolling Stones' fateful Altamont Free Rock Concert in "Gimme Shelter" (March 13), but both films capture seminal live moments.

March also features a guest talk by contemporary artist and photographer Dan Graham (March 5).

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


Rock and Roll Series, "Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten," 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 4 (Julian Temple, 2007, United Kingdom, 123 minutes, 35 mm). For his critically acclaimed portrait of Joe Strummer -- The Clash's iconic lead guitarist and singer -- director Julian Temple has put together an amazing array of obscure early footage, including Strummer when he was still John Graham Mellor, the privileged son of a British diplomat. The film captures the vitality of its subject, incorporating interviews from Strummer's old friends and contemporaries and displaying an appreciation of Strummer's cultural significance.

Art Theory and Practice, A Talk by Dan Graham, 7 p.m. Thursday, March 5.
Dan Graham was born in Urbana, Ill. He has been a central figure in contemporary art since the 1960s -- from his early conceptual pieces to his disorienting glass pavilions to his film on the connections between rock 'n' roll and the Shaker religion. Noted for his humor and intelligence, Graham has worked in a wide variety of media: still photography, film and video, architectural models, indoor and outdoor pavilions, conceptual projects for magazine pages, drawings and prints. A major retrospective of his work opens in February 2009 at Los Angeles' MoCA and will travel to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The talk is co-sponsored by Block Cinema and Northwestern's department of art theory and practice.

Double Feature, Mapplethorpe Series, "Still Moving," 8 p.m. Friday, March 6 (Robert Mapplethorpe, 1978, United States, 11 minutes, DVD). One of two films directed by Robert Mapplethorpe and made in collaboration with American singer-songwriter, poet and artist Patti Smith, "Still Moving" is, in the words of its creators, "a homage to William Blake." Following the "Still Moving" screening courtesy of the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, there will be a screening of "Black, White + Grey" (James Crump, 2007, United States, 76 minutes, BetaSP). "Black, White + Gray" is a documentary about Sam Wagstaff, who was a formative influence on Robert Mapplethorpe. A Yale graduate and naval ensign in WWII, Wagstaff went on to work as an advertising man during the heyday of Madison Avenue and then as an art curator and photography collector. Perhaps best known as Mapplethorpe's lover and patron, Wagstaff gave Mapplethorpe his first large format camera. This documentary traces Wagstaff's remarkable life from its conventional beginnings through his career in the arts to his death in 1987 of AIDS. Block Museum of Art Senior Curator Debora Wood introduces both films.

Mapplethorpe Series, "I am Curious (Yellow)," 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 11 (Vilgot Sjöman, 1967, Sweden, 121 minutes, 35 mm).
Filmed in black and white as a mock "cinema verité" -- a form of documentary, "I Am Curious (Yellow)" follows the young sociologist Lena as she surveys Swedish citizens about their political and sexual preferences. Director Vilgot Sjöman emerges intermittently to coach the actors on their lines, and Lena makes love to her boyfriend in various public places, including atop "Europe's oldest tree." The first major film to show completely nude characters, its intimacy is frank, clumsy and funny.

Rock and Roll Series, "Don't Look Back," 8 p.m. Thursday, March 12 (D.A. Pennebaker, 1967, United States, 96 minutes, 35 mm). "Don't Look Back" follows Bob Dylan for three weeks during his 1965 tour of England, a period when the 23-year-old songwriter was already redefining himself by switching from acoustic to electric guitar. "Don't Look Back" may or may not capture Dylan's personality -- Dylan famously said he was acting the whole time -- but it gives a glimpse of Dylan's life and the early 1960s music scene, with Joan Baez and Donovan making appearances, that feels honest and true to life.

Rock and Roll Series, "Gimme Shelter," 8 p.m. Friday, March 13 (Albert and David Maysles, 1970, United States, 91 minutes, 35 mm). Documenting the Altamont Free Rock Concert, which has been called the end of the peace and love era of the 1960s, "Gimme Shelter" is a collage of the music and violence at the infamous concert that the Rolling Stones had originally envisioned as Woodstock West. The Maysles brothers were around for the tour leading up to the Altamont concert and they were able to capture all the shaky planning that led to tragedy, including hiring the Hells Angels to serve as security. Restless and tense, the film anticipates the events of the day and amplifies the anxiety of what is to come. "Gimme Shelter" is a thrilling glimpse into a legendary and terrifying day in rock history.
Topics: Campus Life