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September/October 2011 Film Calendar

Block Cinema to screen films from Russia, Romania, Poland

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September 30, 2011 | by Judy Moore
New films from Russia and the former Eastern Bloc, some of the latest documentaries, and a lecture and film clips highlighting Iranian films are part of the programming that Block Cinema has scheduled for early fall.

EVANSTON, Ill. --- New films from Russia and the former Eastern Bloc, some of the latest documentaries, and a lecture and film clips highlighting Iranian films are part of the programming that Block Cinema has scheduled for early fall.

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, staff and students, students from other schools with valid IDs, and individuals aged 65 and older. Quarterly passes are $20. Tickets are available one hour before show time. For more information, call the Block Cinema Hotline at (847) 491-4000 or visit the Block Cinema website at www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/block-cinema.

FALL 2011 FILM SERIES

The Tales from the Golden Age: Recent Films from Eastern and Central Europe series highlights a new wave of critically acclaimed narrative films and several documentaries from Russia and the former Eastern Bloc. A number of the films explore the complexities and realities of contemporary life. Others cast an eye to the past, investigating subjects and themes that would have been unthinkable a short time ago under Soviet regimes.

The New Documentaries series focuses on a diverse selection of new films that shed light on entertaining and important topics. The program’s award-winning social issue documentaries include Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz’s much lauded “The Interrupters,” about a group of volunteers dedicated to stopping gang violence in some of Chicago’s most troubled neighborhoods, and Heather Courtney’s “Where Soldiers Come From,” a moving portrait of a group of friends from Northern Michigan who grapple with emotional issues after serving in Afghanistan.

SPECIAL EVENTS

• The public is invited to attend a free lecture Sept. 30 by Northwestern Professor Hamid Naficy on “A Social History of Iranian Cinema,” which will include clips from a variety of pre-revolutionary Iranian films from the silent era through the 1970s.

Reeling: The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival. On Nov. 11, Block Cinema will co-present an evening with “Reeling: The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival” (Nov. 3 to 12). The program will feature a sneak preview of the new independent feature film, “Pariah,” a coming-of-age tale about a young African-American lesbian. Special admission prices will apply, and no Block Cinema passes or vouchers will be accepted. More information on this program and a complete festival lineup can be found online at reelingfilmfestival.org.

SEPTEMBER FILMS

Lecture by Hamid Naficy, “A Social History of Iranian Cinema,” 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30. Hamid Naficy, Northwestern’s John Evans Professor of Communication, and one of the world’s leading authorities on Iranian film, will mark the publication of his monumental four-volume book, “A Social History of Iranian Cinema,” (Duke University Press, 2011) with a lecture and clips from pre-revolutionary Iranian films, from the silent era through the 1970s. A book signing and reception will follow. The event is co-sponsored by the School of Communication’s department of radio/TV/film. Admission is free. 

Recent Films from Eastern and Central Europe series, “Tuesday, After Christmas,” 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30 (Radu Muntean, 2010, Romania, 35 mm, 99 minutes). One of the leading figures in new Romanian cinema, director Radu Muntean crafts a simple yet affecting film about a man who must choose between his wife and his mistress. Muntean’s drama epitomizes the style of the Romanian new wave, particularly the use of long takes that allow for small details and nuanced performances.

OCTOBER FILMS

Recent Films from Eastern and Central Europe series, “Tales from the Golden Age,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6 (Hanno Hofer, Razvan Marculescu, Cristian Mungiu, Constantin Popescu and Ioana Uricaru, 2009, Romania, 35 mm, 155 minutes). Produced and co-directed by acclaimed filmmaker Cristian Mungiu, this film presents six stories from the final years of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s rule. These humorous tales -- contemporary urban legends – are based on true events and focus on the absurdity found even in the most oppressive regimes.

Recent Films from Eastern and Central Europe series, “Hipsters,” 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14 (Valery Todorovsky, 2009, Russia, 35 mm, 125 minutes). With a playful nod to early Soviet musicals, director Todorovsky’s colorful and energetic musical is rooted in 1950s Russia, but its story of young love, changing times and finding community through pop culture transcends borders and eras. “Hipster” won the Russian Academy Award and prizes at several international film festivals.

New Documentaries series, “The Interrupters,” 6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 19 (Steve James, 2011, United States, video, 125 minutes). This highly praised new documentary from director Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) and producer Alex Kotlowitz follows three “interrupters” who work to prevent violence in some of Chicago’s most troubled neighborhoods. Their outreach is a project of the grassroots organization CeaseFire, whose founder believes that solutions must actively incorporate prevention. It is an inspiring and emotional look at the dedicated efforts of those who have rejected their own criminal past to truly make a difference. Kotlowitz will attend the screening. Admission is free. This screening is co-presented by Northwestern’s Center for the Writing Arts, the Center for Civic Engagement and Medill.

Recent Films from Eastern and Central Europe series, “Matchmaking Mayor,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20 (Erika Hnikova, 2010, Czech Republic and Slovak Republic, video, 72 minutes). Czech filmmaker Erika Hnikova’s documentary focuses on the hilarious efforts of a meddling mayor in a small Slovak village. Exasperated by a dwindling population count that threatens the future of his town, the mayor launches a campaign to address the problem by targeting the disinterested single townswomen and the shy men who seem destined for bachelorhood. His mission is to orchestrate the mother of all singles gatherings. It will be preceded by “A Piece of Summer,” (Marta Minorowicz, 2010 Poland, video, 24 minutes). The Grand Pix winner at the Clermont-Ferrand film festival, this charming short documentary focuses on the tight bond between a boy and his grandfather as they enjoy the last days of summer in a remote Polish village.

New Documentaries series, “Where Soldiers Come From,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27 (Heather Courtney, 2011, United States, video, 91 minutes). Northwestern alumna Heather Courtney directed this intimate and powerful portrait of a group of young men from Northern Michigan who are thrust into the harsh reality of the Afghan war. Courtney returned to her hometown to follow the lives of these soldiers as they transformed from small-town teens to 23-year-old combat veterans. Courtney sets aside politics to look at the effect that war has on those who serve and on the friends and family who remain behind. Director Courtney and co-editor Kyle Henry will attend the screening. Admission is free. Co-sponsored by Northwestern University’s departments of history and radio/TV/film and Medill.

Recent Films from Eastern and Central Europe series, “My Joy,” 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28 (Sergei Loznitsa, 2010, Ukraine and Russia, 35 mm, 127 minutes). Documentary filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa’s ironically titled narrative debut is a journey into the dark side of Russia -- past and present. This riveting film tells the story of a truck driver who has literally and figuratively lost his way. It deals with corruption, thievery, prostitution, murder and the loss of identity.