EVANSTON, Ill. --- Block Cinema continues three fall film series -- The American Architect in Focus, Miguel Gomes and Revivals and Rediscoveries – while screening the feature film debut of Iranian-born artist Shirin Neshat and a revealing new documentary about “Playboy” founder Hugh Hefner this November.
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 with Block Museum membership, Northwestern WildCARD and students with IDs. Admission to the American Architect screenings also is $4 for members of the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. 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 www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/block-cinema.
FALL 2010 FILM SERIES
Block Cinema and the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust present The American Architect in Focus, a film series that focuses on America’s architectural heritage and the visionaries who defined it. Screenings in November include “Strangers When We Meet” (Nov. 5), about an ambitious modern architect juggling his career and an affair; “Regular or Super: Views on Mies van der Rohe” (Nov. 6), a portrait of the world-renowned architect; “The Fountainhead” (Nov. 12), based on Ayn Rand’s best-selling novel; “Infinite Space: The Architecture of John Lautner” (Nov. 18), a tour of the architect’s most celebrated projects; and “Building Blocks: Architecture Shorts” (Nov. 20), a matinee showcase of short films and videos.
Block Cinema’s Miguel Gomes series features the works of Portuguese director Gomes, an exciting new voice in international cinema touring the United States for the first time this year. The series includes a screening of two of his short films, “Meanwhile” and “Christmas Inventory” (6 p.m., Nov. 4), and his most recent film, “Our Beloved Month of August” (7 p.m., Nov. 4).
The Revivals and Rediscoveries series features rare classic American and international films worthy of a second look, including Jean-Pierre Gorin’s 1980 documentary “Poto and Cabengo” (Nov. 17), about 6-year old twins who may have developed their own private language.
NOVEMBER 2010 FILMS
“Women without Men,” 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3 (Shirin Neshat, 2009, Germany, France and Austria, 35 mm, 99 minutes). In her debut feature, director Shirin Neshat depicts the lives of four women struggling against the backdrop of the 1953 coup that toppled Iran’s fledgling democracy. Crossing lines of class and ideology, the quartet includes a young woman under the thumb of her fundamentalist brother, a former prostitute seeking a new life, the wife of an emotionally abusive general and an awakening left-wing activist. “Women without Men” garnered Neshat an award for best director at the 2009 Venice Film Festival. In Farsi with English subtitles. Admission is free.
Miguel Gomes series, “Meanwhile” (“Entretanto”) and “Christmas Inventory” (“Inventario de Natal”), 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4. Though distinct from his later shorts and features, “Meanwhile” (Miguel Gomes, 1999, Portugal, 35 mm, 25 minutes) showcases several of the stylistic flourishes that characterize director Gomes’ work: a freewheeling sense of time and space, sudden shifts in plot or tone and the juxtaposition of childhood innocence and adult concerns. “A Christmas Inventory” (Miguel Gomes, 2000, Portugal, 35 mm, 23 minutes) expands his visual vocabulary by using props and environment to tell a story. In Portuguese with English subtitles. Admission is free.
Miguel Gomes series, “Our Beloved Month of August” (“Aquele Querido Mes de Agosto”), 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4 (Miguel Gomes, 2008, Portugal and France, 35 mm, 147 minutes). While on location in rural Portugal (to shoot a Red Riding Hood-themed horror film), Gomes runs afoul of his exasperated producers as he and his crew turn their cameras on a nearby music festival. The film abruptly segues into a fictional tale of incestuous attraction between a young singer and her guitarist cousin. In Portuguese with English subtitles. Admission is free. Note: Gomes’ “The Face You Deserve” and his short film “31” will screen at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, at Cinema Borealis, 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Block Cinema quarterly pass holders will receive free admission on a space-available basis. For more information, visit www.nightingaletheatre.org.
The American Architect in Focus series, “Strangers When We Meet,” 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5 (Richard Quine, 1960, United States, 35 mm, 117 minutes). Larry Coe (Kirk Douglas) is an ambitious modern architect who is building a home for the arrogant, best-selling novelist Roger (Ernie Kovacs). Larry struggles to remain an “experimental” designer while juggling an affair with Margaret (Kim Novak), a sultry and unsatisfied housewife. The film navigates the suburban mores of postwar America and its preoccupation with a subject the characters spell out in the company of children -- S.E.X. “Strangers When We Meet” will be presented in an archival, widescreen, 35 mm print thanks to Sony Pictures and Anne and Kirk Douglas.
The American Architect in Focus series, “Regular or Super: Views on Mies van der Rohe,” 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6 (Joseph Hillel and Patrick Demers, 2005, Canada, video, 57 minutes). “Regular or Super,” an enlightening portrait of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the world’s best-known architects, features interviews with Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, Canadian philanthropist Phyllis Lambert and Mies van der Rohe’s students and colleagues. Europe lost one of its shining talents when the Nazis shut down the Bauhaus, forcing Mies to emigrate to the United States. In Chicago, he melded the ultra-modern “international style” with his bold “less is more” aesthetic and revolutionized modern architecture. The film will be preceded by “A Girl is a Fellow Here: 100 Women Architects in the Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright” (Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, 2009, United States, video, 19 minutes). Frank Lloyd Wright broke new ground by training and employing women as architects and treating them as equals to their male counterparts. “A Girl is a Fellow Here” focuses on six women who worked and studied with Wright, including Lois Gottlieb and Eleanore Pettersen. Admission is free.
The American Architect in Focus series, “The Fountainhead,” 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 12 (King Vidor, 1949, United States, 35 mm, 114 minutes). In adapting her own best-selling novel about an individualistic architect, author Ayn Rand retained the heroic, larger-than-life tone and “objectivist” philosophy that makes the source material as controversial today as it was on publication. When Howard Roark (Gary Cooper) learns that his plans for an ambitious housing project have been altered, he risks his life and freedom rather than see his vision compromised. Patricia Neal co-stars as his steamy love interest -- and also his client’s wife. The screening will feature a 35 mm archival print from the Library of Congress.
Revivals and Rediscoveries series, “Poto and Cabengo,” 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17 (Jean-Pierre Gorin, 1980, United States, HDCam video, 76 minutes). After his 1970s collaborative films with Jean-Luc Godard (“Tout Va Bien,” “Letter to Jane”), filmmaker and intellectual Jean-Pierre Gorin left France to teach at the University of California, San Diego. Primarily a professor and writer, Gorin’s filmmaking has been sparse, but his “Southern California Trilogy” documentaries are recognized as classics in the genre. The remarkable “Poto and Cabengo” interweaves the lives of 6-year-old identical twin girls who may have developed their own private language, with Gorin’s personal reflections on his adopted country. A new digital restoration from Janus Films, this screening is co-presented by White Light Cinema.
The American Architect in Focus series, “Infinite Space: The Architecture of John Lautner,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18 (Murray Grigor, 2009, United States, HDCam video, 90 minutes). A disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright, John Lautner left an indelible mark on contemporary home architecture with his airy, often playful designs and preference for nontraditional building materials. Though largely unknown to the public during his lifetime, Lautner caught the attention of peers, aspiring architects and filmmakers. His work provided eye-popping locations for such films as “Diamonds Are Forever” and “The Big Lebowski.” Director Murray Grigor couples sweeping tours of Lautner’s most celebrated projects with audio recordings of the master assessing his life, works and method.
“Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel,” 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19 (Brigitte Berman, 2009, Canada, HDCam video, 124 minutes). While the prevailing public image of “Playboy” founder and publisher Hugh Hefner is one of smoking jackets and platinum blond playmates, Oscar-winning documentarian Brigitte Berman uncovers a different side of Hefner. A Chicago native and one-time Northwestern graduate student, Hefner made enemies among conservatives for his activism on behalf of First Amendment rights, civil rights and racial integration, sexual freedom and social justice. Berman will attend the screening. Admission is free to Northwestern students with WildCARD IDs.
The American Architect in Focus series, “Building Blocks: Architecture Shorts,” 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20. An eclectic group of short films and videos feature American architecture ranging from Shirley Clarke’s “Skyscraper” (1960) to a 1940s “Popular Science” short about Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin Fellowship. For a complete list of titles, visit www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu in November. Admission is free.