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Block Cinema January 2009 Film Calendar

January 1, 2009
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. Films in the "Reeltime" and Louis Family Nature 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 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, founded in 2002 as an interdepartmental forum for bringing together Northwestern University's School of Communication faculty and students to address the importance of globalization in communication studies, with a grant from the Ford Foundation Difficult Dialogues project -- 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. Instead of mirroring his aesthetic, 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 Gus Van Sant's "Midnight Cowboy" (Jan. 16), Kenneth Anger's "The Anger Magick Lantern Cycle" (Jan. 23) and Steven Sebring's "Patti Smith: Dream of Life" (Jan. 30).

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 and roll, to the English alternative rock band Radiohead, the series takes a wide-angle look at rock's expanding universe. The American rock band Talking Heads in "Stop Making Sense" (Jan. 14) are radically different from the persona of James Brown, "The Godfather of Soul" in "The T.A.M.I. Show" (Feb. 27), but both films capture seminal live moments. They also chronicle both the evolution of commercial music and the evolution of documentary film as the essential packaging for any rock star. Another film to be screened in January is Richard Lester's 1964 film "A Hard Day's Night" (Jan. 28) which captures youthful Beatles members John, Paul, George and Ringo.

In a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's post-Selma leadership in Chicago, Block Cinema will screen Seth McClellan's 2008 documentary "King in Chicago" (Jan. 15). The film will be introduced by McClellen and will be followed by a short question-and-answer session with the director. The free screening is co-sponsored by Northwestern University's MLK Planning Committee.

The "free" Reeltime films are jointly sponsored by Northwestern's Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art and the Evanston Public Library's Carlyle and Elizabeth Anderson Endowment Fund, in partnership with Reeltime co-directors Kathy Berger and Inez Sommer.

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


Rock and Roll series, "Stop Making Sense" 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14 (Jonathan Demme, 1984, United States, 88 minutes, 35 mm).
"Stop Making Sense," the Talking Heads' classic concert film, opens with David Byrne alone with his acoustic guitar. As the rest of the band joins in, the stage swells with an energy and excitement that lasts all the way to the film's credits. The film -- shot during three nights in December 1983 -- broke all the rules of conventional concert films, relying on long takes instead of quick cuts and rarely using theatrical lighting or audience reaction shots.

MLK Jr. Event, "King in Chicago" 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15 (Seth McClellan, 2008, United States, 77 minutes, BETA SP).
The candid interviews, period photos and stirring music by Rutha Harris in this 2008 documentary shed light on Martin Luther King Jr.'s struggle for justice. The annual nation-wide celebration of Dr. King's birthday rarely focuses on King's post-Selma leadership in Chicago in confronting northern racism and poverty as part of the Chicago Freedom Movement. This film emphasizes King's understanding of the link between the goals of the Civil Rights Movement and the social injustice of poverty. It features candid interviews with Jesse Jackson, James Bevel, Rev. Michael Pfleger, and others. It also provides historic context for the ongoing conversation about poverty and racism in the United States today. The documentary was screened at numerous festivals in 2008 and has been used in class discussions at universities throughout the country. Film Director Seth McClellan will introduce the film, which will be followed by a short question-and-answer session with the director. The screening is co-sponsored by Northwestern University's MLK Planning Committee. Admission is free.

Mapplethorpe series, "Mala Noche" 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15 (Gus Van Sant, 1985, United States, 78 minutes, 35 mm).
Gus Van Sant's debut feature, shot for less than $25,000, represents the apex of 1980s independent American film making, a decade that saw the rise of iconoclastic voices such as Van Sant, Spike Lee and Jim Jarmusch. It ranks among the most romantic depictions of homosexual desire on film, with the help of dreamy images of Portland, Ore. It tells the story of a handsome liquor store clerk who falls in love with a younger, illegal Mexican immigrant. Michael DeAngelis, associate professor of film and popular culture, DePaul University's School for New Learning, will introduce the film.

Mapplethorpe series, "Midnight Cowboy," 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16 (John Schlesinger, 1969, United States, 113 minutes, 35 mm).
Sexually explicit and achingly sad, John Schlesinger's "Midnight Cowboy" shocked audiences yet still managed to win the "Best Picture" Oscar in 1969. This bleak film is about John Wayne wannabe Joe Buck (John Voight) who travels from a small Texas town to the Big Apple where he tries to find work as a hustler servicing wealthy New York women. In New York, he teams up with the sickly Ratzo Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), who becomes his constant companion. Nicholas K. Davis, assistant professor of English and gender studies, Northwestern University's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, will introduce the film.

Reeltime, "Milking the Rhino," 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 21 (David E. Simpson, 2008, United States, 83 minutes, DVD). The Maasai of Kenya and the Himba in Namibia -- among the world's oldest cattle cultures -- are struggling to preserve their traditional lifestyles in an age of wildlife conservation. This gorgeously shot and intimate new documentary is a portrait of rural Africans who are at the foreground of community-based conservation. Chicago-based film director David E. Simpson will attend the screening. Admission is free.

Rock and Roll Series, "Meeting People is Easy," 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22 (Grant Gee, 1998, United Kingdom, 95 minutes, 35 mm).
Nominated for a Grammy as "Best Long Form Music Video," this film follows the British rock band Radiohead on a world tour to promote their critically acclaimed album "OK Computer." A combination of concert footage, backstage conversations and press interviews, this documentary lets viewers in on the side of rock stardom that's rather dull and unglamorous. Filmmaker Grant Gee chronicles the band's burnout and the near-breakdown of lead singer Thom Yorke.

Mapplethorpe Series, "The Anger Magick Lantern Cycle," 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23 (Kenneth Anger, 1947 to 1980, United States, 160 minutes, 16 mm).
"The Anger Magick Lantern Cycle" includes all of American "underground" filmmaker Kenneth Anger's films, from the early "Fireworks," which imagines a rape by U.S. sailors and got Anger arrested on obscenity charges, to "Lucifier Rising," with its soundtrack recorded in prison by Bobby Beausoliel, a former member of the Manson Family. All of Anger's stories are subsumed by his fantastical style. Anger has been called the true heir of Eisenstein's theories about the cinema. Nicholas K. Davis, assistant professor of English and gender studies, Northwestern University's Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, will introduce the film.

Rock and Roll Series, "A Hard Day's Night," 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28 (Richard Lester, 1964, United States, 87 minutes, 35 mm). Lester's now-classic film is a time capsule from the beginning of "Beatlemania" in the United States. It shows viewers a young John, Paul, George and Ringo, looking alternately innocent and rebellious, and captures rock 'n' roll in the early 1960s.

Mapplethorpe Series, "Poison," 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29 (Todd Haynes, 1991, United States, 85 minutes, 35 mm). The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) was under fire in the late 1980s and early 1990s for the Ohio Contemporary Arts Center's Robert Mapplethorpe retrospective and for the grant they gave Todd Haynes for his film "Poison," which depicts homosexual sex in prison. The controversy launched Haynes' career and positioned "Poison" at the beginning of the New Queer Cinema movement. Adapted from Jean Genet's writings, this dark and visionary film is structured in three parts: a lurid 1950s documentary about a boy who killed his father; a black and white short in which a scientist isolates the essence of human sexuality; and the final and most controversial section, in which a prisoner is sexually attracted to another inmate. Jennifer Brier, assistant professor, in the department of history and the Program in Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will introduce the film.

Mapplethorpe Series, "Patti Smith: Dream of Life," 8 p.m. Jan. 30 (Steven Sebring, 2008, United States, 109 minutes, 35 mm). It took photographer and first-time director Steven Sebring 11 years to make this documentary about American singer-songwriter, musician, poet and artist Patti Smith. The film is a "roving dreamscape" celebration of Smith, who has been called "the only major surviving link from the beat era to the 1970s Manhattan art scene to the birth of punk to the present." She maintained a friendship and artistic collaboration with Robert Mapplethorpe during the years that she moved from underground punk rocker to rock star, only to leave it all behind to raise a family in Michigan. After her husband's death, Smith has returned to the spotlight, as fierce a punk poet and advocate as ever.
Topics: Campus Life