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Best in International Film Plays at Block Cinema

Yearlong series supports Global Languages Initiative

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The award-winning European films “Sister,” “Elena” and “Shun Li and the Poet” will be screened at Northwestern University as part of a yearlong series of international films showing this fall at Block Cinema. This fall’s screenings also include “Barbara,” a critically acclaimed film by German director Christian Petzold. 

Featuring some of the best new films from around the world, “Passport to Global Cinema: Contemporary International Films” is co-presented by Northwestern’s Global Languages Initiative and supported by a grant from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Films are open to the public and screened in the James B. Pick and Rosalyn M. Laudati Auditorium at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, 40 Arts Circle Drive, on Northwestern’s Evanston campus.

Northwestern’s Global Languages Initiative emphasizes the need for global understanding in the 21st century, celebrates linguistic diversity and promotes cultural literacy. Its partners include the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, Council on Language Instruction and the University’s One Book/One Northwestern community reading program.


Admission to the “Passport to Global Cinema” series is $6 for the general public; $4 for Northwestern faculty and staff with a WildCard ID, seniors 65 and older and students (from any school); and free for Northwestern students with a purple "passport" from a language professor. 

Passport to Global Cinema Screenings

“Elena,” 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 19, (Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2011, Russia, 35mm, 109 minutes).

One of the most striking films to come out of Russia in recent years, “Elena” follows a middle-aged housewife whose world is rocked when an unexpected illness befalls her wealthy second husband and former employer. With powerful performances and a score by world-renowned composer Philip Glass, “Elena” is a gripping exploration of family loyalties and class divisions. It won a Cannes Film Festival special jury prize for young talent.

“Sister” (“L’enfant d’en haut”), 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, (Ursula Meier, 2012, France and Switzerland, 35mm, 100 minutes). “Sister” tells the story of 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. A tale of youthful indiscretion and recklessness, the film takes a more serious turn when a secret threatens the brother-sister relationship. Advance screening courtesy of Adopt Films. (EDITOR’S NOTE: HOLD REVIEW -- NO FULL REVIEWS OR CAPSULE REVIEWS ALLOWED. LISTINGS PAGES ONLY.)

“Shun Li and the Poet” (“Io Sono Li”) 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, (Andrea Segre, 2011, Italy, 35mm, 100 minutes). Two lost souls connect when Chinese immigrant Shun Li 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, Shun Li finds herself in an onerous dilemma.

“Barbara,” 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30, (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 attempts to move 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.)

For more information, visit or call (847) 491-4000.
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