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April 2010 Film Calendar

April 15, 2010 | by Judy Moore
"Alamar," winner of the  Rotterdam International Film Festival's Tiger Award, will show at the Block Cinema on April 22. 

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Block Cinema is screening films in four new series this spring -- Tales of Man and Beast, Haiti on Screen, Contemporary International Cinema and Revivals and Rediscoveries.

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, and senior citizens aged 65 and older. 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 www.blockmuseum.northwestern.edu/block-cinema.

Spring Film Series

The Tales of Man and Beast series features five films that explore the complicated relationship between humans and animals. April screenings include the 1930 animated feature "The Tale of the Fox" and the short "The Cameraman's Revenge" (April 29), both by Russian-born, French master animator Wladislaw Starewicz.

Prompted by the recent Haitian earthquake and dearth of knowledge about Haiti, the Haiti on Screen series presents provocative and enlightening works produced by, for or about Haitians prior to the recent tragedy. All screenings in this series are free and open to the public. Highlights will include "Jacques Roumain: Passion for a Country" (April 24) and the Chicago premiere of "Moloch Tropical" (April 30). It is organized by Northwestern's department of French and Italian in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

The ongoing Contemporary International Cinema series showcases some of the best new films from around the world. With selections ranging from sneak previews to films without U.S. distribution, moviegoers can see some of the most talked-about films on the international film festival circuit. April's programming will feature "Alamar" (April 22), an award-winning Mexican film about a young boy's relationship with his father and his growing connection to his ancestral land. The free screening will be held on Earth Day.

Block Cinema introduces a new ongoing series, Revivals and Rediscoveries, featuring rare classic American and international films worthy of a second look. The series begins in May with "Cobra Woman" (May 14), a campy 1940s Technicolor South Seas melodrama about twin sisters battling for control of a volcano-riddled island.

Reeltime films are free and are jointly sponsored by Northwestern's Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art and the Evanston Arts Council, in partnership with Reeltime co-directors Kathy Berger and Ines Sommer.


Reeltime series, "Typeface," 7 p.m. Thursday, April 15 (Justine Nagan, 2009, United States, video, 58 minutes). Once an industry leader for printing type, Two Rivers, Wisc., has fallen on economic hard times. On weekends, however, carloads of the nation's top design talent still flock to the nearby Hamilton Wood Type Museum, which is itself in danger of falling to the winds of change. In an age of Kindles, iPads and declining newspaper sales, Justine Nagan's documentary "Typeface" dares to explore and celebrate an analog craft that continues to inspire a new generation of artists. Director Nagan will attend the screening. Admission is free.

Contemporary International Cinema series, "Alamar" ("To the Sea"), 7 p.m. Thursday, April 22 (Pedro Gonzalez-Rubio, 2009, Mexico, 35 mm, 73 minutes). Director Gonzalez-Rubio weaves the nature film, family drama, documentary and fiction into a tapestry that defies categorization. Before relocating to Rome with his Italian mother, 5-year-old Natan spends the summer fishing with his father along the richest coral reef in Mexico. As Natan discovers the rural lifestyle of his Mayan ancestors, a meditation on the connection between humans and their environment and the bond between fathers and sons emerges. This screening is the Chicago premiere of "Alamar," winner of the Rotterdam International Film Festival's Tiger Award. Admission is free.

Tales of Man and Beast series, "Sweetgrass," 7 p.m. Friday, April 23 (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash, 2009, United States, color, 35 mm, 101 minutes). "Sweetgrass" chronicles the journey of shepherds guiding their flocks through Montana's rugged Beartooth Mountains with strict narrative austerity and only the barest acknowledgement of the camera's presence.

Haiti on Screen series, "Jacques Roumain: Passion for a Country" (Jacques Roumain, la passiond'un pays") 2 p.m. Saturday, April 24 (Arnold Antonin, 2008, Haiti and Canada, video, 111 minutes). This exploration of Haitian society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries focuses on the tormented life of one of Haiti's most important authors and prominent political figures, Jacques Roumain. In his writings, Roumain raised questions about the future of Haitian youth. Some of his best-known works were translated by legendary African-American poet Langston Hughes. Admission is free.

Tales of Man and Beast series, "The Tale of the Fox" ("Le Roman de Renard"), 7 p.m. Thursday, April 29 (Wladislaw Starewicz, 1930, France, 35 mm, 65 minutes). Adapted by master animator Wladislaw Starewicz from northern European folklore, the film follows the comic adventures of the fox Renard, an anarchic trickster. Starewicz's iconic visual style, fluid stop motion puppetry and strikingly naturalistic menagerie of anthropomorphic misfits, were informed by a lifelong passion for zoology. American film director Wes Anderson cites the film as an inspiration for his own "The Fantastic Mr. Fox." An archival print from the British Film Institute will be shown and will be preceded by Starewicz's short "The Cameraman's Revenge" (Wladislaw Starewicz, 1912, Russia, 16 mm, 13 minutes). Starewicz, who studied entomology, used actual insect specimens to animate his story of a bourgeois beetle couple and their infidelities.

Haiti on Screen series, "Man by the Shore" ("L'Homme sur les quais"), 5 p.m. Friday, April 30 (Raoul Peck, 1993, France and Haiti, 35 mm, 106 minutes). Terror inflicted by the "Tonton Macoute," the private secret police of dictator François "Papa Doc" Duvalier in the 1960s, haunts the small Haitian town where 8-year-old Sarah lives with her family. When the police target Sarah's father, her parents are forced to leave Sarah and her sisters in the care of a convent, and later, their feisty grandmother. This compelling family drama portrays the resilience of ordinary Haitians in the face of state oppression. Admission is free.

Haiti on Screen, "Moloch Tropical," 7 p.m. Friday, April 30 (Raoul Peck, 2009, France and Haiti, video, 107 minutes). Inspired by Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov's "Moloch" (which imagines Hitler and his mistress Eva Braun at their secluded Bavarian hideaway), Peck's story focuses on a Haitian president who cannot face the inevitability of his fall from power. Peck explores the temptations and contradictions of political power, evoking controversial references to contemporary Haiti. Co-written by Haitian playwright Jean-Rene Lemoine, the film strikes notes of Shakespearian tragedy. This screening marks the film's Chicago premiere. Admission is free.

(Nathalie Rayter, a junior in the School of Education and Social Policy, contributed to this story.)


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