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November 2012 Film Calendar

Block Cinema hosts panel on media mogul Tyler Perry & screens classic/contemporary films


EVANSTON, Ill. --- “Madea’s Big Scholarly Roundtable: Perspectives on the Media of Tyler Perry,” a free Nov. 28 panel discussion hosted and co-sponsored by Northwestern University’s Block Cinema, will examine the world of African-American media mogul Tyler Perry. Panelists will include some of the most esteemed scholars of African-American, cultural, gender and performance studies from around the country.

Two of Perry’s films -- “Madea’s Family Reunion” and “The Family That Preys” -- will be screened Nov. 28 at Annie May Swift Auditorium, 1920 Campus Drive, prior to the 5 p.m. Madea roundtable that will take place at the Block Museum.

The Tyler Perry roundtable and related screenings and November screenings of a selection of top new international films, recent documentaries about noteworthy art and artists and pertinent social issues, as well as revived and re-discovered archival films, are part of Block Cinema’s Fall 2012 programming schedule.

Events are open to the public and will take place in the James B. Pick and Rosalyn M. Laudati Auditorium at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, or as noted, on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus.


A long-term construction project on Northwestern’s south campus has closed access to the Block Museum and Arts Circle Drive. Free parking is available in the lot directly south of the museum. For directions and parking information, visit


“Passport to Global Cinema: Contemporary International Films” series showcases some of the best new films from around the world. Part of the “Global Languages Initiative” at Northwestern, “Passport” emphasizes the need for global fluency in the 21st century. The three November films are “Sister” (“L’enfant d’en haut”), French-Swiss director Ursula Meier’s tale of youthful indiscretion and recklessness; “Shun Li and the Poet” (“Io Sono Li”), Italian director Andrea Segre’s poignant reflection on immigration; and “Barbara,” German director Christian Petzold’s film about a doctor in 1980s East Germany plotting her escape to the West.  

• “Art on Screen,” an ongoing series, includes new documentaries about the art world, including “The Photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher” about the acclaimed German photographers, and “Portrait of Wally,” about an infamous court case involving Nazi-stolen art and some of the world’s most well-known museums.

The “New Documentaries” series will feature an encore screening of “Somewhere Between,” which follows four teenage girls who were adopted from China, and ”The Light in Her Eyes,” a film that provides an unprecedented look inside a religious girls’ school that was filmed shortly before the current political turmoil in Syria.

• Revivals and Rediscoveries series will feature two newly-restored 1940s films from 20th Century Fox: Otto Preminger’s noir masterwork “Laura,” and Busby Berkeley’s legendary Technicolor musical, “The Gang’s All Here.”

Unless otherwise noted, general admission to Block Cinema 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



New Documentaries series, “Somewhere Between,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, Block Cinema (Linda Goldstein Knowlton, 2011, United States, video, 94 minutes). After filmmaker Linda Goldstein Knowlton traveled to China to adopt a baby girl, she felt compelled to understand the experiences of Chinese adoptees in America. To that end, she found and filmed four teenage girls who were adopted and brought to various parts of the U.S. “Somewhere Between” follows them as they attempt to define themselves as both Chinese and American.


Passport to Global Cinema series, ‘”Sister” (“L’enfant d’en haut”), 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, Block Cinema (Ursula Meier, 2012, France and Switzerland, 35mm, 100 minutes). “Sister”

focuses on 12-year-old Simon and his older sister Louise who live in poverty near a ski resort. Simon steals what he can from the resort to support himself and his directionless sibling. Meier’s tale of youthful indiscretion and recklessness takes a more serious turn when a secret threatens Simon and Louise’s relationship. Advance screening courtesy of Adopt Films. (EDITOR’S NOTE: HOLD REVIEW -- NO FULL REVIEWS OR CAPSULE REVIEWS ALLOWED. LISTINGS PAGES ONLY.)

New Documentaries series, “The Light in Her Eyes,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, Free, Block Cinema (Julia Meltzer and Laura Nix, 2011, United States and Syria, video, 85 minutes). “The Light in Her Eyes” provides a rare inside look at a religious school of girls in Damascus, which was filmed shortly before the political turmoil in Syria. Founded by female Muslim preacher Houda al-Habash, the school hews to a conservative religious line while simultaneously trying to instill a passion for learning and a sense of empowerment in the young students. Co-sponsored by Northwestern’s Muslim Students Association. Co-director Laura Nix will attend the screening.


Revivals and Rediscoveries series, “Laura,” 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, Block Cinema (Otto Preminger, 1944, United States, 35mm, 88 minutes). In Otto Preminger’s noir masterwork, a beautiful young advertising executive is murdered, and hardboiled NYPD detective Mark McPherson is assigned to the case. While investigating her life and death, McPherson begins to fall for the late Laura, becoming obsessed with the beautiful image reflected in her portrait.


Art on Screen series, “The Photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher,” 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, Block Cinema, Free (Marianne Kapfer, 2010, German, video, 94 minutes). In 1959, Bernd and Hilla Becher began photographing the abandoned and forgotten industrial structures that dotted the German landscape, finding minimalist and modernist beauty in these disappearing remnants of a declining way of life. This fascinating documentary explores their roles as artists, their working and personal relationship, and their influence on new generations of photographers. Special support provided by the Goethe-Institut, Chicago.


Art on Screen series, “Portrait of Wally” 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15 (Andrew Shea, 2012, United States and Austria, video, 90 minutes). In 1912, Austrian artist Egon Schiele painted “Portrait of Wally,” a striking picture of his mistress and frequent model. In 1939, the painting was stolen by the Nazis from its owner. Andrew Shea’s compelling documentary is about what happened next -- and how the increasingly complex story about a single painting sheds light on issues surrounding the legacy of the Nazi plunder of Jewish-owned art.

Passport to Global Cinema series, “Shun Li and the Poet” (“Io Sono Li”) 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, Block Cinema (Andrea Segre, 2011, Italy, 35mm, 100 minutes). Two lost souls connect when Shun Li, a Chinese immigrant, moves to an Italian seaside community and meets a weathered but warm-hearted Slavic fisherman named Bepi. Struggling to assimilate and working tirelessly to pay off her debts to her sponsor, Shun Li takes solace in Bepi’s paternal kindness. But when their unlikely friendship sparks gossip and threatens Shun Li’s future, she finds herself facing an onerous dilemma.

Special Madea film screening, “Madea’s Family Reunion,” 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, Annie May Swift Auditorium, 1920 Campus Drive, Northwestern University, Evanston campus (Tyler Perry, 2006, video, 107 minutes). Perry’s second feature film is loosely based on his 2002 stage play of the same name. It finds Madea (Perry) in the midst of a family reunion, a family wedding and deep-rooted family strife between Vanessa (Lisa Anderson), her mother Victoria (Lynn Whitfield) and her younger sister Lisa (Rochelle Aytes). A typically Perry star-studded cast that includes Cicely Tyson as the family’s Aunt Myrtle and Maya Angelou as Aunt May, “Madea’s Family Reunion” attempts to weave in a burgeoning love story between the apprehensive Vanessa and good-hearted Frankie (Boris Kodjoe) amongst stories of concealed familial abuse, domestic violence and the generational differences that divide African-American families. Miriam Petty, assistant professor, Northwestern University, departments of radio/television/film and African American studies, will moderate a discussion with Racquel Gates, assistant professor, department of media culture, CUNY College of Staten Island, and D. Soyini Madison, professor of performance studies, Northwestern University, School of Communication.

Special Madea film screening, “The Family That Preys,” 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, Annie May Swift Auditorium, 1920 Campus Drive, Northwestern University, Evanston campus (Tyler Perry, 2008, video, 111 minutes). Another of Perry’s many films set in the American south, “The Family That Preys” centers upon two Atlanta families with intersecting lives. The film follows the tangled connections between the middle-class Pratt family, headed by kind and hard-working Alice (Alfre Woodard) and the wealthy Cartwrights, headed by tough-minded businesswoman Charlotte (Kathy Bates). The deep and abiding friendship between the two matriarchs brings their families together, ultimately exposing the rifts that exist inside each clan. The conflict within and between both families ultimately comes to a head as the extramarital affair between Alice’s haughty daughter Andrea (Sanaa Lathan) and Charlotte’s cold-hearted son William (Cole Hauser) comes to light. Nicholas K. Davis, assistant professor of English, Northwestern University, Judd A. and Marjorie Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, will moderate a post-screening discussion with Brittney Cooper, assistant professor of women’s and gender studies and Africana studies, Rutgers University, and C. Riley Snorton, assistant professor, communication studies, Northwestern University, School of Communication.


Special event, “Madea’s Big Scholarly Roundtable: Perspectives on the Media of Tyler Perry,” 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, Free. This timely and engaging panel discussion will examine the work of African-American media mogul Tyler Perry. Without question, the prolific Perry is a leading Hollywood box office performer; each of the 13 films he has released since 2002 have enjoyed opening weekends with top earnings. The writer-producer-director-actor also continues to produce the wildly popular gospel stage plays that constitute his show business origins, while at the same time overseeing two commercial cable sitcoms. Featured panelists will consider Perry’s extensive body of work from a variety of perspectives, exploring such topics as his theatrical roots, his works’ connections to “the” African-American church, the highbrow/lowbrow tensions his works stir up, and the significance of class, region, gender and sexuality in his screen and stage productions, as well as in the discourses surrounding Perry himself. Miriam Petty, assistant professor of radio/television/film and African American studies, Northwestern University, will moderate the discussion. Panelists include Mark Anthony Neal, professor of black popular culture in the department of African & African American studies, Duke University; Racquel Gates, assistant professor, department of media culture, CUNY College of Staten Island; Daniel O. Black, novelist, professor of English, Clark-Atlanta University; Brittney Cooper, assistant professor of women’s and gender studies and Africiana studies, Rutgers University; and E. Patrick Johnson, Carlos Montezuma Professor of Performance Studies and African American Studies, Northwestern University. The program is co-sponsored by Northwestern’s Block Cinema, the Black Arts Initiative and the departments of radio/television/film, African American studies, and performance studies.

Passport to Global Cinema series, “Barbara,” 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, Block Cinema (Christian Petzold, 2012, Germany, 35mm, 105 minutes). Set in East Germany in 1980, “Barbara” is the story of a doctor sent to a small country hospital as punishment for applying for an exit visa. Removed from familiar surroundings and frustrated in her attempt to join her lover to the West, Barbara plays a waiting game, stoically enduring Stasi harassment while plotting her escape. Advance screening courtesy of Adopt Films. (EDITOR’S NOTE: HOLD REVIEW -- NO FULL REVIEWS OR CAPSULE REVIEWS ALLOWED. LISTINGS PAGES ONLY.)

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