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Northwestern Film in Janurary

Block Cinema to screen Howard Hawks’ ‘Scarface’ and Orson Welles’ ‘F for Fake’

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January 10, 2012 | by Judy Moore
Outsider Cinema series, “F for Fake,” 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, Block Cinema (Orson Welles, 1973, France, 35 mm, 89 minutes).

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Block Cinema’s programming continues in mid-January with two new film series that will be screened this winter.

The series “I’m Almost Not Crazy: Outsider Cinema by Hollywood Insiders” celebrates narrative films by Hollywood insiders that bear resemblance to “Art Brut” or the personally invented forms of untrained outsider artists. The series begins Jan. 13 with a special presentation of Crispin Glover’s “It is Fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE.” It will take place off-campus at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave. Special admission prices will apply to the opening event and no Block Cinema passes or vouchers will be accepted that night.

Rare and risque films are part of the “Hot Saturdays: Gems from Pre-Code Hollywood.” This series features films that were made before the summer 1934 crackdown by censors on Hollywood film productions. The series begins Jan. 21 with a matinee screening of Howard Hawks’ “Scarface” and continues through early March.

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 showtime. 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.

JANUARY 2012 FILMS

Outsider Cinema series, Block Cinema and the Music Box Theatre will co-present, “It is Fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE.,” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., Chicago (Crispin Hellion Glover and David Brothers, 2007, United States, 35 mm, 74 minutes). Even measured against his eccentric performances in feature films and on talk shows, Crispin Glover’s work as a director remains certain to surprise and provoke. Directed in collaboration with production designer David Brothers, “It is Fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE.” is a semi-autobiographical, psycho-sexual exploitation film fantasy written by and starring Steven C. Stewart as a man with severe cerebral palsy whose physical condition can’t stop him from being a monstrous lady killer (in every sense.) Ben Kenigsberg of Time Out Chicago called it “as surprising for its visual boldness as it is for its sincerity.”

Outsider Cinema series, “We Can’t Go Home Again,” 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20, Block Cinema (Nicholas Ray, 1973-1979, United States, 35 mm, 93 minutes). The series continues at Block Cinema with a Nicholas Ray double feature, including Ray’s recently restored film, “We Can’t Go Home Again.” Simultaneously documenting and (meta) fictionalizing its own making, “We Can’t Go Home Again” finds Nicholas Ray playing himself, making a feature film with his students at Binghamton University. “We Can’t Go Home Again” will be followed by “Don’t Expect Too Much” (Susan Ray, 2011, United States, video, 70 minutes). Susan Ray’s feature-length documentary is a companion piece to Nicholas Ray’s “We Can’t Go Home Again.” Ray’s widow examines Ray’s and his students’ process in making “We Can’t Go Home Again,” and the personal and artistic troubles that both drove the project and hindered its completion. Revealing the thought processes behind some of Ray’s wildest ideas, the film depicts an artist growing more radical and experimental as he nears the end of his life as well as the human costs of collaborating on a labor of love. 

Pre-Code Hollywood series, “Scarface,” 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, Block Cinema (Howard Hawks, 1932, United States, 35 mm, 93 minutes). Loosely based on the legendary Al Capone, this portrait of a brutal Chicago mobster features Paul Muni in a star-making performance. “Scarface” is a pull-no-punches story of a man who will let nothing get in the way of his unholy obsessions: to rise to the top of the rackets and to prevent any man from getting near his sister, played by Ann Dvorak. Directed by Hawks and featuring a script by Ben Hecht, it remains one of the greatest of all gangster films.

Outsider Cinema series, “F for Fake,” 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, Block Cinema (Orson Welles, 1973, France, 35 mm, 89 minutes). This essay film weaves together notorious art forger Elmyr de Hory, fake Howard Hughes biographer Clifford Irving, the “War of the Worlds” radio hoax and a mythic Picasso heist into a joyful and melancholy rumination on art and human purpose. Welles conjures a film from spare parts, questionable coverage and outright bluff, taking delight in the filmmaking process itself. Welles also forges a self-portrait of an artist commonly thought to be at career-bottom actually reaching the top of his game.

Pre-Code Hollywood series, “Call Her Savage,” 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28 (John Francis Dillon, 1932, United States, 35 mm, 87 minutes). Clara Bow delivers a knock out punch as Nasa “Dynamite” Springer, a Texas socialite incapable of controlling her temper. Showcasing Bow’s trademark feistiness, the film luxuriates in pre-Code provocation, placing the willful Nasa in a panoply of unsavory settings: Chicago speakeasies, New Orleans slums and an anarchist cafe in the East Village complete with gay cabaret (a scene later immortalized in the documentary “The Celluloid Closet.”) Bow turns in a stellar performance as the titular “savage,” a woman whose inborn ferocity stymies all attempts at her domestication.